THE dry weather, which has plagued the Central West and a large part of NSW is now in its third year and the season to date in this calendar year is the worst I have seen it.
The average rain until August was 380.1 millimetres for Wellington. The town has actually measured just 215.9mm this year and last year the same period was 98.5mm.
However, if you looked at the country in this district at the moment you would consider it worse than last year.
Stock markets for Dubbo are showing how dry it is with the amount of livestock being presented at prime sales.
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The lamb market has been outstanding for finished stock during the past five weeks with record prices being obtained at Wagga and Dubbo for extra heavy lambs and prices reaching in excess of 1000 cents a kilogram for top export lambs.
The past two sales at Dubbo and virtually throughout NSW have seen a reduction of 100c/kg to 200c/kg to top at 800c/kg to 900c/kg for properly finished lambs.
During that five week period numbers have ranged from 11,750 lambs in mid July to in excess of 19,000 lambs on July 1, July 22 and July 29. About 15,200 lambs having been drawn for on Monday as I write this column.
Sheep numbers have also been high varying from 6175 to 19,700 during the same period. These markets have kept graziers above the worrying area and allowed them to purchase feed and grain to finish stock.
Water is the next worry with many dams dry and bores pumping lower amounts of water each week.
Cattle numbers in prime sales for the same period have been consistently high with many of the cattle being sold at prime sales in store condition especially cows and weaner cattle. Due to an increase in prices, finished cattle have been flowing in to the market and returns have improved.
We recently sold on behalf of a client six- to eight-tooth bullocks fattened on an early wheat crop which made 315c/kg (liveweight) and they weighed an average of 776kg.
The numbers being sold at Dubbo saleyards in the prime market have ranged from 4280 per sale to top at 5745 last Thursday.
- Geoff Plasto is a director of Plasto and Company, Wellington, and a member of Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association (ALPA).