Big prices online as sheep yardings remain low

Sheep yardings low as big prices seen online

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There's been reduced yardings at saleyards across the country. Photo by Alastair Dowie.

There's been reduced yardings at saleyards across the country. Photo by Alastair Dowie.

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Big prices are being seen for ewes online, but in physical saleyards, lamb and sheep numbers have remained low.

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Big prices are being seen for ewes online, but in physical saleyards, lamb and sheep numbers have remained low.

AuctionsPlus market analyst Hugh Courts said sheep numbers online returned to their pre-Easter heights last week, as the yarding almost doubled to a total of 91,425 head.

But despite the spike in numbers, Mr Courts said clearance remained a steady 85 per cent overall, down only 5pc on the week before.

"Prices took a very slight drop over the wether categories, however the majority of the ewe categories saw a jump," he said.

"First-cross ewes experienced the steepest climb with a $69 [a head] increase."

And a record price was seen on AuctionsPlus last week with Jumbuck Trading, Cowra, NSW, selling 360 scanned-in-lamb first-cross ewes for $444.

The ewes were 20-22 months-old, weighed 66 kilograms and were SIL to Poll Dorset rams.

READ MORE: Scanned first-cross ewes make record $444 on AuctionsPlus

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) analysts said although shortened trading weeks usually coincided with a decline in supply, lamb yardings had been trending lower in the last month.

MLA attributed this to improved domestic conditions which was driving restocker competition.

"While record high prices attracted bigger yardings during January and February, lamb supply is still expected to contract sharply through winter, similar to 2018 and 2019 trends," MLA said.

In the last two years, those small yardings resulted in high prices, but there was uncertainty surrounding what was to come this winter.

"During winter in 2018 and 2019, declining supply levels were met by strong price increases across all categories," MLA said.

"Light lambs heading back to the paddock this year could well find similar support during the winter, as the availability of lambs is anticipated to be limited."

MLA said heavy lambs destined for key export markets may not find similar levels of support this year given the impact of COVID-19 on foodservice demand in key export markets.

READ MORE: What you should do before restocking after drought, fire

Last week NSW accounted for 53pc of the total lambs yarded with 57,000 head, followed by Victoria at 48,400 head.

At Bendigo on Monday, in a yarding of just over 22,000 sheep and lambs, Merino lambs sold to a top of $244, while Merino wethers made to $264, crossbred ewes made $252, and Merino ewes made $274.

At Ballarat on Tuesday, shorn lambs topped at $287, crossbred sheep topped at $266, Merino ewes topped at $240 and Merino wethers topped at $260.

There was a small yarding of just more than 9000 sheep and lambs a Corowa, NSW, this week.

Merino lambs sold to $228 and shorn lambs sold to $260, while crossbred ewes sold to $255, and Merino ewes made $228.

The story Big prices online as sheep yardings remain low first appeared on Farm Online.

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