Spring lamb sales open $50 dearer

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS -

LAMB prices have smashed records across the state – and it may just be the sav­ing grace for farm­ers do­ing it tough in New South Wales.

Live­stock agent Alex Collins works with McKean McGre­gor out of Bendigo, ser­vic­ing south­ern Vic­to­ria and into New South Wales.

Al­though he was ex­tremely sym­pa­thetic to those in drought af­fected ar­eas, Mr Collins said an “ap­proach­ing av­er­age” sea­son in Vic­to­ria might mean sus­tained prices for in­ter­state store stock. “Vic­to­ria is hav­ing an ok sea­son, so they’ll be able to keep de­mand for (in­ter­state) store stock rea­son­ably strong – that could work out well for those in New South,” he said. The first of the spring lamb sales was brought for­ward by a month due to sea­sonal con­di­tions, kick­ing off in Hay on Au­gust 10 where pens “sold above ex­pec­ta­tion”, Mr Collins said.

Some 15,000 sheep were penned for the sale, with prices $30 - $50 dearer than pre­dicted.

In­ter­state com­pe­ti­tion drove de­mand, with the top price of $202 paid for 482 Dohne Merino ewes, May/ June 2017 drop and Novem­ber shorn.

Mr Collins said it was a promis­ing start to the sea­son.

“There’s been an in­crease of store stock on the mar­ket through NSW, and we’ve seen early wean­ing - with a lot of lambs on the mar­ket, both on­line and phys­i­cal mar­kets – there’s cer­tainly been an in­crease in num­bers com­ing south where the con­di­tions are bet­ter,” he said. Mr Collins pre­dicts more new sea­son lambs would find them­selves on the mar­ket this month, say­ing “I think we will be well re­warded for them due to the lack of prime lambs”.

“The phys­i­cal mar­ket and over the hooks is very strong – it might just soften a lit­tle bit due to num­bers over the next few weeks, but it’s still go­ing to be at high lev­els,” he said.

Cat­tle sales are held each Tues­day out of Bendigo, with the mid-Au­gust mar­ket see- ing num­bers re­main sim­i­lar to re­cent weeks.

Heavy steers were in short sup­ply and sold to a top of $2.80 per kilo.

Medium to heavy steers were also in shorter sup­ply, sell­ing to $3.10 - firm to slightly dearer on pre­vi­ous mar­kets.

A good sized run of veal­ers sold well to a top price of $3.35.

“While things re­main so dry, and with hay and grain prices at record lev­els, there’s go­ing to be real pres­sure on the cat­tle mar­ket un­til some­thing changes,” Mr Collins said.

“South­ern Vic­to­ria is start­ing to dry out and grow a bit of grass now - but un­til we see a rain in the north, cat­tle prices will prob­a­bly stay de­pressed for the time be­ing.

“Light store stock are good value for any­one that can han­dle them.”

Mr Collins pre­dicts cat­tle will fol­low a sim­i­lar trend to the lamb mar­ket, say­ing heavy prime stock would con­tinue to sell at ac­cept­able lev­els but that “store stock is hard enough to shift”.

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