Supply exacerbated by season but prices firm

Prices continue to hold well under the circumstances


Sheep
Holding firm: Processors took the peddle off lamb prices this week, carving 60 to 80 cents a kilogram carcase weight off recent saleyard rates.

Holding firm: Processors took the peddle off lamb prices this week, carving 60 to 80 cents a kilogram carcase weight off recent saleyard rates.

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Numbers have spiked as they should in spring but prices are holding well under the circumstances

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It’s been encouraging to see that although throughput numbers have spiked at markets over the northern border – as they should in early spring – southern prices have held well under the escalating pressure of rising numbers.

National lamb slaughter in July increased 10 per cent on year-ago levels, to 1.8 million head. This brought the year-to-date total to just over 13.8 million head, according to Meat & Livestock Australia’s market report. 

Lower lamb carcase weights in July somewhat offset the higher slaughter, as production increased 5pc to just over 40,000 tonnes cwt. For the year-to-July, the volume of lamb produced reached just over 317,000 tonnes cwt, an 8pc increase on 2017 levels and the highest for the first seven months of the year on record.

It is a promising response to the market given much of north and northwest Victoria are now feeling the same pressures from the poor season as interstate regions, which resulted in a constant wave of unfinished stock flooding Victorian markets.

Cattle yardings for the recent Northern Victorian Livestock Exchange, Barnawartha, were consigned from much further afield postcodes in central and western NSW.

The condition of the huge yarding reflected the harshness of the seasonal condition, with plenty needing good care and significant supplement feeding.

National cattle slaughter for the month totalled just over 712,000 head, bringing the year-to-date total to 4.5m head, up 21pc year-on-year. Female slaughter has continued to be a driving force in this increase, making up 54pc of the national kill in July, up 5pc on July 2017. 

But prices are holding firm, which was evident at NVLX market where nearly 6000 head were yarded. 

Steers offering weights over the benchmark 280 to 300 kilogram mostly commanded rates of about 300c/kg, which is still in tune with rates of the prime and feeder market.

This resulted in most of the better bred Angus, Hereford and Charolais steers making $850 to $1000-plus a head while the lighter steers, 220-260kg, no matter what their colour, generally made $650- $750.

Producers who sold stock in the past week should have been happy for the returns, as well as knowing that their sheep or cattle went on to better pastures.

This was the case for the large volumes of cows and calves which required desperate relocation and endured, both physically and financially, the long-trip south in the hope of better market returns. Split-value prices from $600 to $1100 sold many of the cows and calf outfits as the tops made to $1510.

It was also good to see the intense interest that was shown for cows and calves which have been long under valued. 

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