Lamb! Record WA sale at $289

Zach RelphThe West Australian
WA’s lamb value continues to climb on the back of strong sales.
Camera IconWA’s lamb value continues to climb on the back of strong sales. Credit: Bob Garnant

WA’s lamb market has climbed to record highs, with farmers fetching an almost 100 per cent increase on prices in the past year.

Lamb values have ballooned in the past month on the back of increased Eastern States buying interest in WA, with a State record price achieved last week at Katanning Regional Saleyards.

Farmer Dale Cronin secured a staggering $289 a head for a line of SAMM ram lambs at the sale on June 5.

Mr Cronin, who farms with wife Suzanne and parents Terry and Lyn at Nippering, east of Wagin, said though lamb values continued to soar, he had not expected such a high price.

“We normally sell some of the cull rams from our Bunkin SAMM stud after we’ve received our wool, fat score and eye muscle tests,” he said.

“But as the season and markets were playing out, we decided to sell them a bit earlier.

“It was a bit of a shock when I found out how much we got. It was a good surprise.”

The Cronins’ new WA record eclipsed the previous best of $260 a head, which was achieved seven days earlier when Justin and Kylie Corker, of Kulikup east of Boyup Brook, sold a pen of 38 White Suffolk-Merino crossbred lambs.

It marked a rise in value of more than $100 a head for the Corkers’ lambs, which were being sold for about $150 each 12 months ago.

At the Muchea Livestock Centre yesterday, lambs weighing between 20kg and 24kg were selling for $171 to $233 a head.

The strong lamb prices come amid increasing demand for the protein, with interstate buyers flocking to WA in search of sheep meat.

Mecardo market analyst Matt Dalgleish said that he expected the State’s sheep farmers to keep riding lamb’s topsy-turvy wave of success over the next five years.

The Cronin’s record lamb price still stood before Katanning’s sale today.

Despite WA’s strong lamb value, the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator eased 21¢ last week to 868¢/kg carcase weight.

It followed a fortnight of buoyant lamb purchasing activity across Eastern States’ saleyards and a new national record lamb sale set at Griffith in New South Wales when the hammer slammed at $345 a head.

A pen was sold for $336 per head on May 29 at the South Australia Livestock Exchange, while $326 a head was reached at the Swan Hill saleyeards in Victoria on May 30.

On June 4, Tasmanian prices soared to $266 a head.

Market analysts flagged the high lamb numbers entering saleyards to continue on the back of elevated saleyard prices relative to over-the-hook indicators.

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