WA sheep and lamb exodus to the east approaches 400,000 head

Zach RelphCountryman
The 386,005 total, with lambs accounting for 64 per cent of transfers, marks a 218 per cent increase year-on-year and a 23 per cent hike on 2017 levels.
Camera IconThe 386,005 total, with lambs accounting for 64 per cent of transfers, marks a 218 per cent increase year-on-year and a 23 per cent hike on 2017 levels. Credit: Bob Garnant

Almost 400,000 sheep and lambs have gone into South Australia this year on the back of strong demand from Eastern States buyers, new figures show.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s latest statistics revealed 386,005 WA-bred sheep and lambs were transferred east through the Ceduna checkpoint at November’s end. It comes after 81,168 head were sent across the South Australian border last month.

The 386,005 total, with lambs accounting for 64 per cent of transfers, marks a 218 per cent increase year-on-year and a 23 per cent hike on 2017 levels.

Despite this year’s high totals, a DPIRD spokeswoman said interstate sheep and lamb transfers remained “well below the 906,394 that crossed the border at this time in 2010”.

Countryman understands favourable prices of up to $145 a head for store lambs are driving the rising eastbound movements.

The prices reportedly offered are as high as $15 a head more than what has been available in WA.

Separately, light lambs were selling at 698¢/kg carcass weight at WA saleyards last week while trade lambs were attracting up to 721¢/kg cwt.

Restocker and feeder lambs were worth about 627¢/kg cwt to mark a 20¢ increase on last year’s December prices.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails