Brunt of dry weather hits national sheep market
SHEEP prices have crashed from the good returns of recent weeks as the dry weather takes its toll.
The lamb market has also shown further price corrections in the past week, with national saleyard indicators expected to fall below 700c/kg carcass weight in coming days.
Two public holidays – last Friday in Victoria for the grand final – and on Monday this week in NSW and Queensland, have disrupted the market by cancelling kill shifts and regular sales.
But results from sales held early this week indicate the market is still on a downward trend due to building supplies as conditions remain severe in the north and are starting to tighten in the south.
Price falls of $20 to $50 were recorded by heavy sheep sold at Bendigo on Monday this week amid lacklustre demand from processors.
The steep decline meant the NLRS was quoting runs of good mutton between 300c/kg and 380c/kg carcass weight, with the lightest drought affected ewes below 150c/kg at times.
Prices crashed by a similar magnitude at Deniliquin in southern NSW on Tuesday, with the majority of sheep selling below $100 a head.
Results for lamb early this week were mixed.
At Bendigo on Monday prices held up reasonably well with the best sucker lambs still quoted above 700c/kg c/wt by agents and the NLRS.
The heaviest sucker lambs, over 30kg c/wt, reached $236, with the main run of heavy tradeweights from $173 to $196 at an estimated average of 724c/kg reported by the NLRS.
However the Bendigo market may have been protected by the fact there was no sales in NSW on the same day, with Corowa and Dubbo cancelled by the public holiday.
At Deniliquin on Tuesday morning the lamb market was noticeably cheaper, with carcass rates tracking well under 700c/kg cwt.
Most of the young lambs at Deniliquin made from $130 to $170, with agents taking the option to pass a few pens in.
Looking at the big picture, lamb supplies have shown a rapid build-up in the past fortnight as the drought line moves further south.
It was evident at Bendigo this week with another 28,000 lambs yarded, with agents selling stock from areas like Kilmore that in a good season wouldn’t be selling lambs until closer to Christmas.
The last available slaughter figures for a full week (ending September 21) show the Eastern states kill kicked by 13 per cent on the previous seven days to 315,882.
❝ Price falls of $20 to $50 were recorded by heavy sheep