THE lamb market has come off the boil as more unfinished lighter lambs hit the market.
The Land’s Trade Lamb Indicator has fallen about 14 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) in the past week from a lofty high of 775c/kg.
A smattering of early new season lambs have also been creeping into the NSW saleyards in the past fortnight, adding further pressure to a restocker market that currently only has limited buyers.
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Early this week the NSW restocker lamb indicator had slipped to 532c/kg as bigger supplies of unfinished lambs are sold off by farmers who don’t have the feed to grown them into prime lambs.
The influx of NSW restocker lambs has also been felt in Victoria where agents report a “dramatic” supply from the Riverina hitting southern markets.
This supply is more than six weeks ahead of the spring sucker flush.
Elders agent Ron Rutledge said nearly half the yarding at Bendigo on Monday were, April-May drop, from drought-affected properties forced to destock.
“We have lambs (under 18kg) making less than $35/head, which we haven’t seen for more than six years,” he said.
“When we see finished lambs making up to $300, there is immense opportunity from a fattening perspective – the exchange has never been so good.”
At Tamworth on Monday drought forced sales were evident with lambs as young as a few weeks being sold. Those lambs attracted restricted competition.
Likewise the plainer yardings continued in the Central West at Dubbo where the bulk of the yarding consisting of very light lambs showing the effects of the season.
Prices slipped further as although most of the regular buying crowd were present, some southern restockers were a noted absence.
Forbes Livestock and Agency Company agent Tim Mackay said even though prices for the top, well finished lambs were making fantastic money, there was a obvious tail in the market too.
“The dry is really starting to bite and there’s also plenty of those really light lambs being offered that are harder to sell during a dry season like this,” Mr Mackay said.