Sheep head east in droves

Zach RelphCountryman
Sheep at Muchea Livestock Centre.
Camera IconSheep at Muchea Livestock Centre. Credit: Danella Bevis

Strong prices are ensuring last year’s rampant east coast demand for WA-bred sheep and lambs has continued in 2020, with almost 30,000 head trucked into South Australia last month.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s latest data shows 27,050 sheep and lambs transferred through the Ceduna checkpoint at January’s end.

About 60 per cent, or 16,420 head, were lambs.

Countryman understands prices up to $145 a head for store lambs are fuelling the continued east-bound movement.

The Eastern States’ salivation for livestock in 2020 comes on the back of WA livestock trucks regularly travelling over the border last year.

In 2019, 409,112 sheep and lambs transferred east from WA through the Ceduna checkpoint to mark a 218 per cent spike on 2018 levels and 28 per cent increase on 2017.

Lambs accounted for about 63 per cent of transfers last year.

Despite 2019’s high numbers, interstate transfers were still well below the 1.02 million head of WA sheep and lambs that crossed the border in 2010.

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