Buoyant market outlook

SELX SHEEP AND LAMBS: Vendors sold 10,251 sheep and lambs on April 19.

COMPETITION BOOST:  David Smith and Garry Apps of Ray White Livestock, Boorowa, pictured with cross bred lambs which made $187.

COMPETITION BOOST: David Smith and Garry Apps of Ray White Livestock, Boorowa, pictured with cross bred lambs which made $187.

According to the National Livestock Reporting Service lamb numbers lifted and the quality was mixed.

Each Agent had a small run of good trade and heavy lambs but quality slipped quickly. Store lambs lacking cover were best supplied and restockers were active on most weights.

Restocking lambs sold from $74 to $138/head. The medium and heavy trade lambs were $3 to $4 dearer on plainer quality selling from $135 to $158.60/head. Heavy lambs were $4 to $5 cheaper and ranged from $150 to $181/head. Carcass prices ranged from 640c to 660c/kg. Merino lambs reached $149/head. The best hogget topped at $167/head. Mutton numbers lifted and quality remains mixed. Prices were firm to slightly dearer on most with medium weights ranging from $104 to $144/head. Heavy crossbred ewes reached $166 and Merino wethers $145/head averaging 500c to 530c for most.

NATIONAL LAMB MARKET OUTLOOK: New data from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) paints a bright picture for the sheep and lamb industry. Factors including an intent to keep breeding ewes combined with a strong wool market and lower grain prices have all been positive influences for the sector. 

MLA STATISTICS: 

  • There are 2.7 million fewer sheep and lambs to be processed in 2017 compared to last year.
  • The 2017 lamb slaughter forecasts revised down by 500,000 head to 21.5 million head.
  • Mutton slaughter is set to be second lowest on record – a 1.2 million head (17 per cent) year-on-year drop to 5.8 million.

MLA’s manager of market information services, Ben Thomas, said the market was being influenced by a combination of factors, including extremely strong producer intent to retain ewes for flock rebuilding, the current strength of the wool market and low grain prices. “Lamb slaughter is expected to contract further this year, revised down a further 500,000 head from original predictions to 21.5 million head for 2017 and down 1.5 million head, or 7%, on the 2016 record,” Mr Thomas said.

“In terms of availability throughout the year, on the ground reports suggest a reasonably strong supply through to the end of April, before numbers will become tight until the new spring flush,” he said. 

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