Market stability a key feature for sheep farmers

Rob KellyCountryman

Sheep markets have remained stable over the past week with crossbred lamb markets on the east coast sitting at $8.70 to $9.

In WA, crossbred lambs are still being bid at about $8. Buyers across the country have had reasonable access to stock and are not actively chasing.

East coast processors have stock booked in to the end of May and forward contracts are becoming harder to find.

Goat markets have remained under pressure across the country, with hook prices at $9 in WA and up to $9.50 in the Eastern States.

Liveweight prices on the east coast are $3.60/kg, down from $4.40 only two weeks ago.

However, despite the drop there are still a large number of buyers in the market. The fall reflects the increased level of risk due to the global trade uncertainty.

Cattle prices have also remained under pressure for the past week.

Following a period of strong domestic demand to help cater for reduced international demand, many consumers now have a freezer full of mince and demand is not what it was two weeks ago.

Grass-fed steers are now bid at about $5.50 in South Australia and $5.80 in New South Wales and Queensland.

From a live export perspective, steers are bid at about $3.10 and for feeder cattle we are seeing Black Angus just below $4 again and Angus-cross back down to $3.60.

Internationally, the major story for cattle has been the closure of processing plants across the US to help manage COVID-19.

Finally, while the domestic demand for beef in Australia has been strong, internationally the market has limited supplies out of Australia and New Zealand.

Other major exporters, such as South America, are trading at very wide ranges and spot markets are patchy.

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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