Saleyards hit to sheepmeat with yardings drop

Zach RelphCountryman
Katanning Regional Saleyards yarded 4345 sheep and lambs on Wednesday.
Camera IconKatanning Regional Saleyards yarded 4345 sheep and lambs on Wednesday. Credit: Danella Bevis

WA’s buoyant sheepmeat market has suffered a hit at the saleyards, with auction yardings again falling at the Great Southern’s premier livestock centre.

Sheep and lamb yardings at Katanning Regional Saleyards fell to 4345 head at Wednesday’s sale.

It came after the centre recorded a 11,773 head decrease from the week prior.

Most sheep categories clawed back value from last week’s sale, with the heavy trade lambs attracting a sale-top of $143 a head for 646¢/kg carcase weight.

On August 14, the auction’s top-selling heavy lambs secured $155 a head, or 592¢kg carcass weight, while mutton sold to as high as $135 per head.

Light lambs sold up to $111 per head and heavier lambs, under 18kg, made from $79 to $127 to mark a $20 per head drop.

Landmark livestock auctioneer Mark Warren was at last week’s sale and said the Katanning yarding drop was not unusual for an August auction.

However, he said farmers’ eagerness to sell stock on-farm, rather than at the saleyards, to capitalise on sheepmeat demand was a factor.

“There are plenty of sheep getting sold off farm at the moment as well, so they’re not coming to the sales,” Mr Warren said.

Muchea Livestock Centre also notched a decrease of 589 head to yard 15,803 last week.

Light trade lambs, weighing from 18kg to 20kg, sold from $137 to $141 at 665¢/kg cwt, marking a fall of up to $30 a head.

Medium weight lambs, between 20kg and 24kg, sold to a top of $175, while heavier lambs attracted up to $203 a head, or 720¢/kg cwt, to record a drop of up to $30 a head.

Separately, Meat and Livestock Australia’s latest figures show national lamb slaughter for June fell to 1.46 million head — the lowest monthly total since January, 2012.

The lamb slaughter rate fall, which is 33 per cent back on month-on-month levels, comes after May saw the third highest monthly total of 2.16 million head.

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