COLUMN: Demand holds WA lamb prices

Rob KellyCountryman

WA lamb prices steadied with good demand at current levels last week.

Three buyers — V&V Walsh, Hillside and Beaufort River Meats — all bid $6.80 for crossbreds.

Mutton and hogget markets experienced a lift, with V&V Walsh increasing its bid to $4.60.

Processor throughput for the week ending May 10 was about 2500 lower for both sheep and lambs compared with the same week in 2018.

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This took the total deficit, compared with the same time last year, to more than 100,000.

Finally, on the export front, Livestock Shipping Services loaded its final vessel before the northern hemisphere summer.

On the east coast, the increase in prices has continued.

In New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, the best lamb price has remained at $8 and there are now multiple buyers at these levels.

In addition, the spread between the best and worst bids has been tightening. Mutton and hogget prices are $6.50 in Victoria (Smiths TMP), Thomas Foods is $6 in NSW and $5.70 in SA up to 24kg, and then POA beyond that.

Meat and Livestock Australia’s over-the-hook indicators have reflected the increased pressure on buyers, with SA jumping to 500¢ and Victoria to 508¢ and NSW easing slightly to 493¢.

Saleyard throughput has started the week off strongly, with higher yardings for sales on Monday and Tuesday compared with last week.

For the east, recent rains and extra competition for remaining stock heading into winter has resulted in an increase in the number of buyers at yards, trying to maintain full capacity for their facilities.

Direct cattle markets in WA appear relatively stable, with Butterfield Beef remaining the top public number at $3.

On the east coast, however, prices appear to have found some sort of a ceiling, with several buyers lowering their prices over last week.

Teys Australia (Queensland) has lowered its grain and grass-fed grids by 5¢ to 10¢.

Queensland export orders appear to be stable, with multiple orders in the market for Brahman and Brahman-crosses starting from $2.60.

Saleyard volumes for the first few days of the week have been down heavily and prices have tended to reflect this.

Other comments:

Goat prices continue their rampage, with Thomas Foods increasing its bid to $10/kg in SA last week.

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

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