East coast buyer demand strong

Rob KellyCountryman

It has been another very busy week for the WA sheep and lamb market, with east coast buyers still bidding strongly.

Poor seasons have left minimal stock numbers for their processors and the recent rain has led to a big increase in restocker demand.

Elders Coonamble in New South Wales placed a bid in the market at $3.60/kg for crossbred lambs on farm for lambs out of WA.

Beaufort River Meats released forward mutton contracts and GEA Exports increased its mutton bid to $6.

On the east coast, lamb prices are now well above $9, hoggets above $7 and mutton above $6.

Most processors have no forward purchases in their system and are operating on a hand-to-mouth basis.

And it would be safe to assume that at the current prices, and the fact that meat prices have not increased at anywhere near the same rate, that processors are now operating in the red.

This is supported by the fact that some operators have already started reducing the number of shifts they are operating a week.

The goat market also shifted higher over the last week.

Beaufort River Meats increased its price by 80¢.

On the east coast, Thomas Foods International increased its price by 20¢ to $10.20/kg.

Depot liveweight prices have remained firm around $4.40/kg.

The WA cattle market remains around $3.20 to $3.40 for feeder steers, many of which were purchased on forward contacts some time ago.

However, we are also seeing the gap between east and west widen to around 50¢ to 60¢, and at these levels east coast buyers can manage the cost of trucking stock east.

The live export market continues to be well supported with Brahman steers and bulls bid around $3.60 and heifers around $3.20. Hook prices have also pushed higher with Teys Australia increasing its Queensland grids by another 10¢ this week.

They’re now at $6.55 for steers, $6.50 for heifers, $5.70 for cows and $5.60 for bulls.

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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