Second record week for sheep at Muchea

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Bob GarnantCountryman

A decile 1 June across much of the Wheatbelt has seen record yarding of 35,735 sheep at the Muchea Livestock Centre for the second consecutive week.

WA Meat Industry Authority chief executive Renata Paliska said livestock trucks lined up at 6am on Tuesday morning and some re-penning was needed to cater to the extra sheep numbers.

Muchea Livestock Centre manager Lyndon Henning said the yarding was made up of sheep east of the Hills and along the coastline as those areas were still without rainfall.

"Further big numbers could be expected if saleyard prices don't hold up, or if much needed rainfall does not occur," he said.

"Prices are just under last week's sale with sheep presented in good condition."

Muchea reported quality remained mixed with a large number of store and light store Merino drafts, plus reasonable numbers of trade lambs on offer.

Light trade lambs made from $65 to $96/head, with better Merino drafts selling to a top of $95/head.

The best heavy drafts sold to a top of $102/head.

Hampton Transport manager Justin Morrissey said 4500 sheep were trucked to the sale from the Geraldton area.

"Producers are desperate to keep their core breeding stock, but lack of rain and cold temperatures is creating poor pasture growth in the Geraldton area," he said.

York sheep trader Peter Boyle said he was still buying sheep even though there was limited pasture to feed them up.

"I estimate there is two more weeks before feed becomes a problem, unless we get good rainfalls very soon," he said.

Livestock Shipping Services buyer Chris Medcalf, who bought most of the yarding last week, said the poor season had made it unfortunate for farmers.

"For the good of the industry, I feel the sale should be held over two days if numbers reach over 25,000 head," he said.

"A fair analysis is in order for better co-ordination between farmers and agents."

Katanning Saleyard manager Rod Bushell said ahead of yesterday's trade sale, they were expecting 18,000 sheep.

Mr Bushell said it wasn't a huge yarding but numbers were 5000 up on what would usually be expected for this time of year.

"We have a few lines that would have normally have gone to Muchea," he said.

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