Lamb demand surges, leaving wholesalers scrambling for supply

Lamb demand surges, leaving wholesalers scrambling for supply

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Lamb demand has surged again on the back of widespread rain.

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FAMILY VENDOR: Mark Duffy, pictured with his children, sold crossbred ewes with Rodwells for $215 a head at the sheep sale at Corowa, NSW.

FAMILY VENDOR: Mark Duffy, pictured with his children, sold crossbred ewes with Rodwells for $215 a head at the sheep sale at Corowa, NSW.

Lamb demand has surged again on the back of widespread rain.

The lift in demand for trade lambs has left wholesalers and butchers scrambling for supplies on a week-to-week basis.

Buyers say they are struggling to source adequate supplies which have caused some stellar price spikes for trade lambs of up to $15 a head last week.

It appears some butchers are paying 20-30 per cent more for trade lambs compared to this time last year, with consumers paying only a few dollars more on certain choice cuts

The price of other proteins like beef has also risen, leaving consumers looking for alternative choices such a pork and chicken.

It seems domestic lamb processors are hanging on a knife-edge while trying to stay competitive at the shop counter.

READ MORE: The wait for new season lambs supports all categories

Another element to the shortage of lambs and higher rates was the dry conditions up until late March which did prompt an early sell off of lighter weight lambs needing more finish, with producers at the time not in a position to hold stock.

These are interesting times at it leaves one pondering just when the price correction in this latest price surge will take place.

Despite the fall in numbers at Bendigo, there were still some good lambs coming through, with the bulk weighing an estimated 20 to 30 kilograms carcase weight.

The reduced yarding spurred the trade lamb market to lift $1-$7, benefited by supermarket competition.

Trade lambs fetched $192-$242 to average 956 cents a kilogram cwt.

The National Livestock Reporting Service noted bidding for lighter weight Merino lambs was up to $10 higher, while Merino lambs, 16-18kg, recorded a top price of $162.

There was a drop in extra heavy lamb numbers creating stronger competition.

The reduced supply bounced $10- $17.

Extra heavy lambs sold at $268-$336.

At Ballarat just over 11,884 lambs were offered and the market topped at $340, paid for a pen estimated around 38kg cwt.

There were fewer pens of extra heavy lambs and these sold $9-$13 dearer, creeping close to 940c/kg cwt.

The market did rise for medium and heavy trade lambs which were up to $8 dearer, selling from $185-$247 and returning 950c/kg cwt, with the best pens selling above 1000c/kg cwt.

Lighter weight lambs to the exporters sold at $110-$198, with prices generally unchanged.

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