Increased quantity sees sheep value fall

Gavin BignellCountryman

The WA sheep market experienced significant changes during the Christmas and New Year period.

The major change during the festive break was the drop in mutton and hogget values, with average prices down 20¢ to 50¢ per kg, while the higher end of the market fell more than $1/kg.

Pressure on prices has been driven by a reduction in values for mutton going to the Chinese market.

At the same time, there are increased stock numbers hitting the market as a lack of water for stock becomes a significant issue in many WA agricultural areas.

The crossbred lamb market has remained relatively firm, with values about $6.50 to $7/kg, any reduction in bid prices has been in the order of about 10¢ to 20¢.

East coast mutton prices have also been under significant pressure, with value coming off between 50¢ and $1/kg.

Aside from the impact of lower values into China, the East Coast has of course been dealing with the bushfire crisis.

It is still too early to say for sure how many livestock have been affected and what the ongoing impact will be.

Goat values have been unchanged over the Christmas and New Year period, with east coast values at about $9/kg and WA trading at a $1.50 discount to that.

While not as pronounced as the downward pressure we have seen in the mutton market, there has been a general easing of cattle values over the past couple of weeks.

This has been mainly driven by producers running out of reliable water sources and having to off-load some stock.

One feature of the new year has been the big number of export orders out of Queensland, with Brahman type steers bringing $3 to $3.10/kg liveweight and heifers around $2.60 to $2.70.

There is also an increase in demand for export dairy cattle out of Victoria and New South Wales.

Separately, other points of interest include:

— Audio reports are available in the LIVEstock Pricing mobile app, meaning there is no need to wait by the radio or go online the next day.

— Sign-up now for the LIVEstock Pricing Daily Market Updates via the markets page on our website, livestockpricing.com.au.

— The LIVEstock Pricing app will be offline for a day on Saturday, January 18, as we upload some exciting new features.

Gavin Bignell is the operations manager 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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