New rules to affect sheep prices
Proposed new rules that aim to improve live export standards could slug farmers and exporters up to $25 a sheep going to the Middle East, casting further uncertainty over the viability of the industry.
The long-awaited draft options for improving the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock were released last week for stakeholder feedback, and said in its financial and economic analysis, that if exporters wanted to maintain current margins, sheep prices would have to fall $15-$25 a head, depending on the time of year.
That amount is considerable given WA farmers were paid an average sale price of $117 for export wethers at sales during 2018.
However, the report says it is most likely costs would be shared between farmers and exporters, as farmers would not wear the costs alone because they had other options given the current prices for wool and lamb on the domestic market.
It went on to say it was unrealistic to expect customers to absorb the difference, because these countries have other options for sourcing sheep and already did so. Most of the increased cost comes through the requirement for reduced stocking densities.
The draft report and revised draft standards are open for feedback until November 27.