Airfreight worries set to impact WA livestock prices

Rob KellyCountryman
Camera IconCredit: The West Australian/Colin Poad

Sheep and lamb prices started to decline last week, despite strong domestic demand and processor prices well above export values.

All indications are based on the current export values, crossbred lamb should be closer to $7 than $8.

In addition to the uncertainty in demand, airfreight availability is adding further uncertainty to the market.

Like processor prices, feedlot prices are also declining with crossbred lambs bid $3.60 and Merinos at $3.50.

On the east coast, prices have been erratic.

For the past few weeks, we have seen buyers start the week with a decline in bids before increasing it as we approach the weekend.

While volatile, Eastern States buyers have remained around $8.40 for crossbred lambs and $7.50 for Merinos.

JBS Australia’s forward prices for April start at $8 and increase to $9 into mid-August.

Most buyers, though, are happy buying hand-to-mouth due to uncertainty in international demand.

Goat prices were stable last week.

Beaufort River Meats remain at $9.60, Thomas Foods International in South Australia are at $10.20 and there are several other buyers around the $10 region on the east coast.

Cattle markets have continued the trend of moving lower.

The market has been supported by very strong domestic demand, both at a re-stocker level as well as a processor level.

For processors, low value cuts for mince are the major driver.

However, the international uncertainty and reduced volumes is more than offsetting this.

Rob Kelly is the founder and managing director at LIVEstock Pricing, a free service with the latest sheep, cattle and goat price grids in one easy-to-use app.

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