Stock specs key to better prices

Rob KellyCountryman
LIVEstock Pricing’s latest update.
Camera IconLIVEstock Pricing’s latest update.

Last week, WA processor volumes increased while prices generally remained under pressure.

Lamb volumes jumped 8000 head but as we head towards the normal spring flush period, this has been expected.

Despite the increasing supply, buyers have been able to maintain relatively strong bids for the right animals but animals falling outside their preferred specifications have felt the pressure.

This means delivering stock outside the specs on the grid is becoming more costly and should be carefully managed.

It is also worth noting that stock which does not meet the buyer’s specifications is at a discount for a reason.

Like delivering soft wheat to a hard-wheat contract, delivering air-freight lamb to a trade-lamb market is not helpful to the buyer or seller — size and weight of cuts has a big impact on destination and value of meat.

Outside of new-season lamb markets, mutton has been stable and old-season lambs have moved lower again.

On the east coast, prices have also been under pressure with new-season crossbred lambs at $8, Merino lambs at $7.50, hogget $5.70 and mutton $5.50.

When the spring flush takes place, prices are expected to face further pressure.

Despite there not being a glut of stock in the market yet, there are still signs that buyers are getting enough bookings.

Thomas Foods International took all mutton and hogget prices offline in New South Wales and South Australia last week, as well as all lamb bids in South Australia.

The processor was back in the market this week.

Goat prices have remained firm over the past week with numbers at $9.50 to $10 on the East Coast and at about $8 in WA.

For cattle, we have seen east coast prices continue to decline, generally in the order of 10¢ to 20¢ for some of the smaller buyers.

However, bigger buyers — such as Teys Australia and JBS Australia — seem to be stable.

Steers, with zero to two tooth, are bid close to $5.90 and heifers at $5.85, cows around $5.40 and bulls at $4.80.

Also similar to last week, there is a steady level of demand for the Queensland live export market with 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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