Strong sheep values will keep supporting the State’s farmers in the year ahead, with depleted domestic supply and renewed demand for re-stockers likely to keep historically high prices inflated. Meat and Livestock Australia senior market analyst Adam Cheetham has forecast the nation’s sheep prices to defy the declining global sheep market trend. It comes in the wake of WA farmers selling multiple lines of ewes to Eastern States farmers for more than $300 a head. Last Tuesday, Tammin farmers Rod and Jane Rogers sold 1180 Merino ewe lambs, which are of the Seymour Park bloodline, for $321 a head through online system AuctionsPlus to a NSW farmer. With prices set to remain elevated, Mr Cheetham said sheep producers were poised to capitalise on the strengthening sheepmeat market. “Since the turn of the year, Eastern States lamb prices have crashed through the 800¢ and 900¢/kg cwt mark, breaking records and bringing into focus prospective Australian lamb supply,” he said. “In the coming months, limited domestic supply and encouraged re-stockers are likely to continue to support prices.” WA Meat Marketing Co-operative director elect Hamish Thorn, who oversees his family’s crossbred lamb enterprise in Kojonup, is among Great Southern producers confident prices will stay elevated. The Thorns finished scanning 5500 older ewes of Kojak and Ultra White bloodlines, which recorded 150 per cent in-lamb, last month. Mr Thorn said the premium lamb market was holding up. “I sold 180 head of dry ewe lambs last week to WAMMCO at $180/head,” he said. “I can’t see those values changing.” Sheep values have catapulted to record highs this year after the Eastern States Heavy Lamb Indicator reached 933¢/kg carcase weight — a 43 per cent, or 283¢, surge year-on-year — in March. The surging value came as the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator rose to 917¢/kg cwt. MLA indicators have suspended updating its national sheep and cattle market indicators, with market officers absent from the nation’s weekly saleyard auctions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Cheetham said the winter lamb supply would “be pivotal to future price trends”. “Currently, the Australian lamb market is trending out of step with our main competitor, New Zealand,” he said. “This largely reflects the improvement in domestic conditions and strong re-stocker competition, as producers look to rebuild depleted flocks.” Although Mr Thorn is confident about the sheep market outlook, he said the family’s Kojonup property would benefit from a much-needed shower.