Not often does this column dish out bouquets to Meat & Livestock Australia but on this occasion if its now “controversial” and latest promotion of lamb is aimed at getting consumers to “consider” lamb for their next meal selection then it seems to be working extremely well.
The city media hype aside, at a saleyard trading level, I can’t quite remember when I last saw so many processor buyers competing so keenly for new season’s young lambs than I did at Bendigo on Monday.
Admittedly prices on the day were easier but when a calculator was run across the vast majority of sales, results of $6 a kilogram plus were still putting smiles on faces of the prime lamb producers who are dedicated to producing this country most favored red meat dish.
The most surprising aspect of Monday’s demand for lamb was the amazing deep of support that was offered across all the various weight classes.
At the market’s top end, four and at times more export processors bid aggressively at prices upwards of $165 to $190 a head: a top price that was achieved on no less than three separate occasions.
Across the medium-weight classes, and paying prices of $130 to $165 a head, the major supermarkets were dominant (without making a ripple) among an extensive field of domestic wholesalers while at the market’s lower end, processors serving the overseas light (MK) trade secured the lion’s share against an intermittent and small band of restocker buyers.
The latter (restocker inquiry) is certain to increase once the weather starts to warm and the main southern refattening areas begins to dry. However for these early season suppliers of prime lambs their next phase in the production cycle is about to begin, with replacement of their important breeding stock.
At Hillston, NSW on Monday the opening sale in the Riverina series of breeder sales got underway.
2016-drop Merino young ewes were sold at prices between $200 and a top of $230 while second-run drafts made $160- $200. And for those more interested in the 5.5 year-old proven breeder lines then prices of $140- $155 were shelled out.
Among the selling pens at the Hillston sale were lines of 17-drop Merino wether lambs that made $75- $104 a head and a handful of 17-drop crossbred sucker lambs, sold at $81-$112.
At the end of this week the first of this year’s annual crossbred young ewes will be held at Temora, NSW with two further sales of crossbred young ewes to occur next Tuesday, one at Narrandera and the another the Gnadbro on-farm sale at Collingullie, near Wagga Wagga.
Next Friday, on September-22, sees the big Hay Merino breeders sale take centre stage where, at this point, the yarding is expected to exceed 50,000 head, with 20,000 young ewes on display.