Buyers battle reduced lamb supply, prices lift

Buyers battle reduced lamb supply, prices lift


Sales
FAMILY OUTING: Julie, Mark, Gabby and Luke Cullinan, Kelleen Station, Wentworth, were at the Ouyen sheep market last week.

FAMILY OUTING: Julie, Mark, Gabby and Luke Cullinan, Kelleen Station, Wentworth, were at the Ouyen sheep market last week.

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As winter draws to a close, buyers are battling with a reduction in lamb supplies suitable for trade and heavy export categories.

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As winter draws to a close, buyers are battling with a reduction in lamb supplies suitable for trade and heavy export categories at eastern states markets, which in turn is helping drive the market back to higher levels.

Prices at physical markets have risen anywhere from $5-$18 a head in a space of a week, begging the question, just how viable are the prices at the commencement of spring?

Many agents consider the upswing in rates maybe the beginning of an unpredictable few months ahead and price will be vulnerable to supply.

The lack of supply across most regions may well play a major role in keeping rates at these levels.

There were indications of rising price trends for quality lambs at Wagga Wagga, NSW, in an offering of 32,000 lambs, with all trade lambs lifting $6-$10 and more at Thursday's sale.

The National Livestock Reporting service noted heavy sucker lambs, 24-26 kilograms, surged $17 topping at $242, while old, extra heavy lambs recorded a top of $307, and it was one of many sales to make above $290.

There was a noticeable increase in the level of demand for heavy trade lambs, with many of the new season lambs lifting back above 900 cents a kilogram carcase weight.

Select butcher orders and stronger supermarket competition contributed to the higher prices on the heavier pens.

Light and medium suckers made from $184-$238, while heavy old trade lamb rates continued to show resilience selling at $178-$237.

Lamb prices have started the week in positive territory, with some centres posting modest gains.

The shortage of top quality new season trade lambs in NSW saw the Corowa lamb market on Monday lift $5.

The increase in rates was for sucker lambs, 22-26kg, with rates averaging $204-$226.

Shorter-skinned, supplementary-fed, old trade lambs, 22-24kg, also sold to stronger demand at $205-$234, averaging 863c/kg cwt.

The stellar run for heavy lambs appears to have halted by a drop off in demand from export processors, with carcase weight prices dwindling down to 800-838c/kg cwt.

The Ballarat lamb and sheep market of 9576 lambs on Tuesday was down by 770 on the week before.

This decrease in numbers did little to deter the market with prices generally unchanged to slightly dearer.

Competition fluctuated for trade lambs, particularly for niche trade types.

Medium and heavy trade lambs fetched $179-$238, averaging 930c/kg cwt.

The reduced selection of heavy lambs and solid competition contributed to rates tracking $11 dearer, with a single pen reaching a top price of $253, to average 947c/kg cwt.

Mutton numbers were lower at just over 3000 and quality was only fair which resulted in a cheaper trend of $8-$18.

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