Can you believe it, the calendar has rolled over into yet another new selling year; let’s hope it’s a moneymaking one. The last week of lamb markets gave us a taste of what might be to come, with lamb prices finishing the year on solid ground.
The poor seasonal conditions left stock and crops facing a hard-hitting finish. As winter rains were scarce and spring conditions fizzled, summer loomed all too quickly for most producers, who opted to offload unfinished stock.
Producers who were able to finish sucker lambs experienced record prices, with rates hitting 1000c/kg at the peak.
Thankfully confidence and interest continues to remain strong from opportunistic feedlots and restockers, with good numbers of secondary lambs to renter the market down the track.
It was back to business after the three week Christmas holiday break at Wagga in NSW and Hamilton in Victoria last Thursday. Demand was steady for trade lambs while heavy export lambs saw slightly softer price trends.
At Wagga a large portion of the offering was lambs weighing 26kg carcass weight plus. Not all export buyers operated fully which resulted in a softer trend of $5 to average 650c/kg cwt. Trade lambs at Wagga and Hamilton offered up the same carcass weight prices averaging 640-650c/kg cwt.
Lamb prices were mostly dearer in early trade this week as the industry returns to more normal supply and demand patterns.
Numbers at the major selling centre returned to average levels following last week’s slow reopening.
This was obvious at Bendigo on Monday when trade lambs sold up to $10 dearer, while heavy lamb rates remained unchanged. The better trade lambs averaged 712c and heavy lambs topped at $210 to average 709c/kg cwt. The sheep market opened on a positive note with National Livestock Reporting Service data showing firming trends. Light and medium weight mutton fetching from $55-$115. Shorter skinned heavy Merino wethers made up to $150 averaging 426c/kg cwt.
At Ballarat on Tuesday shorn lambs generally sold $15 dearer to pre-Christmas levels, while woolly lamb gained $10 depending on skin quality and weight. Heavy export lambs recorded a top price of $220, with other sales fetching from $170-$208. Trade lambs were urgently sought selling from $136-$182 to average 713c/kg. Restockers and feeders were back in the game after the holiday break paying from $88-$151.
The mutton market gathered pace lifting $10-$15. Heavy crossbred ewes reached a top price of $150, while Merino ewes made out to $135 most sheep averaged 360c-470c/kg cwt.