How viable are sheep prices ahead of winter?

How viable are sheep prices ahead of winter?

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The reduction in lamb numbers at eastern states markets last week helped drive the market higher.

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MARKET CHAT: Tim Robinson, Paull & Scollard/Nutrien, discussing the dearer market at Corowa, NSW, on Monday with Chris McNamara.

MARKET CHAT: Tim Robinson, Paull & Scollard/Nutrien, discussing the dearer market at Corowa, NSW, on Monday with Chris McNamara.

The reduction in lamb numbers at eastern states markets last week helped drive the market higher, with prices stronger at all sales including the mutton market.

Prices at physical markets have risen anywhere from $5-$10 a head in the space of a week, begging the question just how viable are the prices at the commencement of winter?

Many agents consider the upswing in price may be the beginning of an unpredictable few months ahead.

The damp conditions across some regions may well play a major role at sales helping to support rates.

There was a smaller offering of 22,000 lambs at Wagga Wagga, NSW, which was representative of this, with all trade and heavy lambs lifting $5-$10 and more.

The National Livestock Reporting Service noted extra heavy lambs topped at $298 and it was one of numerous sales to make above $270.

For the first time in weeks there was a wide-ranging weight variation across heavy lamb categories, giving buyers a bigger selection of lambs weighing between 25-30kg carcase weight.

Most weeks the bulk of the offering had weighed in excess of 30kg cwt.

Heavy lambs gained $10, fetching $210-$225, averaging 750 cents a kilogram cwt.

Extra heavy lambs were unchanged, selling at $230-$298.

READ MORE: Is there more to supply drop than the usual winter slump?

There was a noticeable increase in the level of demand for heavy trade lambs, with many of the shorter skinned fresh lambs hitting above the 900c/kg cwt mark.

Select butcher orders and stronger supermarket competition contributed to the higher prices on the neater shaped pens.

Light and medium trade made from $175-$210, while heavy trade ranged from $208-$220.

The damp conditions in some regions restricted the flow of store lambs, with many producers quietly confident of finishing plainer stock.

The odd pen of lambs to turnout made from $148-$175.

Light lambs for slaughter were few, making between $110-$170.

Lamb prices continue to show resilience as similar numbers flowed into markets at opening sales this week.

The shortage of top-quality trade lambs at the Bendigo, Vic, lamb market on Monday helped lift rates $10 higher in places.

At Corowa, NSW, and Dubbo, NSW, trade lambs sold $10-$20 dearer averaging 910c/kg cwt.

Agents said shorter skinned heavy trade lambs sold to stronger demand, with prices ranging from $200-$225, averaging 850-910c/kg cwt.

Heavy lamb rates in general were firm to $5 dearer, selling at $230-$300 to average 730-785c/kg cwt.

Ballarat, Vic, lamb and sheep market of 17,671 on Tuesday was up by 379 on the week before.

The similar numbers did little to deter the market, with prices generally $10-$17 dearer.

Competition was stronger for trade lambs, especially for the supplementary-fed drafts.

Medium and heavy trade lambs fetched $183-$225, averaging 905c/kg cwt.

The top price for heavy lambs was $315, which resulted in a lift of $17, with the bulk averaging 774-835c/kg cwt.

Mutton numbers declined to 4704 in a mixed yarding.

Prices jumped $5-$10 dearer to average 704-764c/kg cwt.

The story How viable are sheep prices ahead of winter? first appeared on Farm Online.

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