OPINION: Crossbred lamb prices up

Rob KellyCountryman

Crossbred lamb prices took another jump higher last week, with BRM followed by V&V Walsh increasing their bids to $8.10 and $8, respectively.

Store lamb prices have also showed strength, with prices trading above $3.20 for some buyers.

Mutton and hogget prices have remained stable and the normal tightness for this time of year has kept prices afloat.

Processors will soon take the opportunity to shut down for maintenance.

WAMMCO will close next week until late July for its annual maintenance.

East coast prices have also remained strong.

Victorian prices are higher for Merino lambs and mutton, with Frew bidding $8.20 and $5.60 on lambs and mutton, respectively.

Late last week, supermarkets were bidding $8.60 in New South Wales and Victoria.

In South Australia, Thomas Foods has stopped bidding for mutton and hogget below 16kg and eased its 16-24 kg prices by 20¢ to $6.

Lamb prices remain unchanged at $8.50 and $8.20 for crossbreds and Merinos, respectively.

As is generally the case for this time of year, processors across the country are buying hand to mouth and getting booking space is easy.

This type of market — volatile prices, low supplies and processor margins getting squeezed — provides a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with buyers.

Good dialogue with buyers and honouring bookings now is something that will be remembered when stocks are higher and booking space is harder to come by.

Cancelling bookings or not delivering for a better price elsewhere will most likely have the opposite effect.

Direct cattle prices across the country have been relatively unchanged over the past week.

Queensland grain-fed prices are sitting at around $6 to processors and $3.30 to feedlots (Black Angus).

NSW direct-to-processors prices are slightly higher at $6.05, while feeder steer prices in NSW and Victoria are reaching as high as $3.50 and heifers up to $2.80.

Victoria and SA numbers are unchanged at $6.05 for grain fed and HGP free, and just under $3 to feedlots.

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