COLUMN: Skin and weight in market focus

Rob KellyCountryman

The lamb and mutton headline numbers remained unchanged at $6.80/kg and $4.40/kg over the hook last week.

However, several buyers released updated grids matching these values, resulting in another small increase in the averages.

For mutton, Beaufort River Meats is now sitting in line with WA Meat Marketing Co-operative at a public bid of $4.40 (non-members $4.30), closely followed by V&V Walsh at $4.20.

With the competitiveness in the market, many producers are paying close attention to skin values and weight limits on the headline grid numbers.

WA processor throughput also looks like it made up some lost ground in the first week of April, however, the Easter break was in the first week of April last year, so that would account for the improvement.

There appears to be a later run of lambs to the processors than normal. A later running supply of lambs should help to make up some of the deficit seen this year.

On the east coast, lamb and mutton prices have remained generally unchanged from the week prior.

Crossbred trade lamb is bid at around $7.00 in New South Wales, $7.20 in Victoria and $6.80 in South Australia.

Merino lambs are generally trading a $0.20 to $0.40 discount, but on a lighter frame.

It is normal to see a tightening of the spread between Merino and crossbred lambs towards winter, however, it appears to be happening slightly earlier this year.

Forward lamb prices are relatively unchanged.

In cattle, WA saleyard numbers have not changed much and we’re seeing cow numbers from $1.80 to $2.30 and processor prices around $4.00.

From this time of year onwards, we typically see a tightening of numbers as stock that isn’t being retained has now been moved on and what’s still left on farm is there for breeding.

East coast markets have been stable over the last week. Teys increased its Naracoorte 100-day grain-fed prices, but otherwise there has been little movement.

Other talking points:

Beaufort River Meats has fully transitioned to its new owner. Its grids remain available via its website or the LIVEstock Pricing app.

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