High rainfall and feed supplies force lamb prices north

High rainfall and feed supplies force lamb prices north

Sales
SALE-O: Angus and Claudia Kirton, Bilbrooke, Walcha, NSW, sold 100 second-cross Poll Dorset lambs for $228 and $235 at Tamworth, NSW.

SALE-O: Angus and Claudia Kirton, Bilbrooke, Walcha, NSW, sold 100 second-cross Poll Dorset lambs for $228 and $235 at Tamworth, NSW.

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Lamb prices continued to rise across most selling centres this week.

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It appears restocker demand will remain hot for cattle and lambs for the next few months, as east coast producers capitalise on high rainfall and feed.

An example of this was competition from other states ramping up another notch at Ballarat's store cattle sale on Friday.

Ballarat agents offered 5024 steers in a feature sale and vendors were not disappointed with the average of the sale across all weights and grades coming in at $1999 a head.

NSW commission cattle buyer Duncan Brown, Albury, said the sale was "red hot".

"There were some people looking at restocker buyers and saying it's too dear to buy now but I wonder 'when is the right time?' particularly with more good rains forecast for March," Mr Brown said.

"The present extraordinary prices are certainly being driven by weather conditions.

"But it's getting to the point where people are asking if the fundamentals stack up.

"At the end of the day the stock are there and are still changing hands at the saleyards."

The lamb market showed strong signs of dearer trends last week as the market recorded price rises at most selling centres.

Smaller yardings affected prices with exporters and domestic processors clashing for a market share of well-finished lambs.

An example of this was at the Wagga Wagga, NSW, lamb sale where a shortage of trade lambs forced major domestic processors to bid strongly for lambs weighing 24-26 kilograms carcase weight.

Rates were pushed $10 higher with some lambs selling more than 900c/kg cwt.

Export buyers scrambled for extra heavy lambs to record a top price of $319 to average 808-859c/kg cwt.

Store lambs ignited the bidding with processors often the under-bidders.

Prices ranged from $145 to $195.

In the mutton market the dial was turned up with heavy crossbred ewes jumping $17, selling at $180 to $295 to average 690c/kg cwt.

On Monday there was a lift in numbers and a drop in quality which prompted mixed signals in opening sales, with supermarkets and exporters not as active at saleyards.

Prices started the week showing cheaper trends for trade and heavy lambs while restockers continued to up the ante.

At Bendigo numbers jumped to 17,000, 5000 more than the previous sale.

Trade lambs dipped $14 making from $175 to $206, averaging 801c/kg cwt.

Big export lambs over 30kg cwt topped at $275 to average 778c/kg cwt.

Lambs 26-30kg eased back $7 making from $214 to $247, averaging 809c/kg cwt.

Store lamb prices remain upbeat with rates $3 to $5 higher.

Lambs with weight and frame sold from $159-$174.

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