Price pressure still a WA issue: livestock analyst

Rob KellyCountryman

Hogget, mutton and old-season lamb prices remained under pressure in WA last week, while new-season lamb prices held firm.

From a demand perspective, mutton processor throughput increased while lamb throughput was slightly lower.

Livestock Shipping Services’ first live shipment of WA sheep for the season is being loaded this weekend and its next vessel is expected to be around mid-October, but that timing is yet to be confirmed.

Also in State news, the WA Meat Marketing Co-operative released its January 2020 minimum price contracts at $7.40 for crossbred lambs and $7 for Merinos and Damaras.

On the East Coast prices were generally unchanged last week, but have started this week looking stronger.

Thomas Foods International increased its NSW sheep and lamb bids by 30¢ to 40¢.

New-season crossbred lambs are now publicly bid from $7.80 to $8.40 across the East Coast.

Merino lambs are at about a 30¢ discount, hoggets are $5.80 to $6.60, and mutton $5.50 to $6.

Capacity seems to be relatively obtainable again, with space available on one to two-week timeframes.

This is back from three to four weeks a few weeks ago.

This may be due to feedlots becoming more active and competing for stocks.

Feedlots bids are reportedly sitting in the $3.50 to $4 range, liveweight.

Goat prices were again unchanged across the country. East Coast is sitting anywhere from $7.50 to $10, while WA is bid $8 by Beaufort River Meats.

Cattle prices were under pressure on the East Coast at the start of last week, particularly in southern NSW and Victoria.

East Coast feedlots seem to have reasonable coverage over the next month, but beyond that it looks like supplies will be tighter.

Queensland export demand last week remained consistent with prices unchanged for new orders — Brahman steers bid $3 and heifers $2.45.

Rob Kelly is the founder and managing director of LIVEstock Pricing, a free service with the latest sheep, cattle and goat price grids in one easy-to-use app.

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