Lambs flock to market as prices spike

To market, to market with trade and heavy lambs

Sales
Simon Male, Henty, with some of the lambs he will be sending as suckers to the Wagga Wagga saleyards during the next few weeks. Trade lamb prices averaged 838c/kg this week, having risen 140c/kg in the last month. Photo: Olivia Calver

Simon Male, Henty, with some of the lambs he will be sending as suckers to the Wagga Wagga saleyards during the next few weeks. Trade lamb prices averaged 838c/kg this week, having risen 140c/kg in the last month. Photo: Olivia Calver

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Lamb numbers rose by 9000 head at Wagga Wagga last week.

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The lamb market's recent spike has lead to large numbers flocking to saleyards.

The Wagga Wagga yarding rose by 9000 lambs last Thursday and across NSW prices continued the march higher this week with trade lambs averaging about 838 cents a kilogram (carcase weight).

That's about 140c/kg higher than this time last month and a tad dearer than this time last year.

Heavy lambs surged 15c/kg higher to 808c/kg early this week.

For both trade and heavy lambs the strength in prices have been most obvious in the Central West where prices sit as much as 30c/kg dearer than the south and more than 50c/kg higher than northern NSW markets.

Nutrien Wagga Wagga agent Peter Cabot said while the numbers they were seeing weren't unexpected for this time of year, it was unusual that the yardings were nearly entirely made up of heavy, killable lambs.

"Once again there's no store lambs coming forward at all," Mr Cabot said.

He said supermarket weight lambs were highly sought after, those articles attracting more than 800c/kg.

"There's actually a lot of lambs which are too heavy for the supermarket so they're not getting huge volumes," Mr Cabot said.

The easing of coronavirus restrictions for Victorian abattoirs had fired up their demand in southern NSW, but Mr Cabot said large numbers of Victorian lambs were expected to hit the market in the next two weeks.

"I would say the market will probably steady out in the next couple of weeks on the back of those Victorian numbers coming forward," Mr Cabot said.

Sheep producer, Simon Male, Henty, is sending his 15-week-old suckers to Wagga Wagga during the next few weeks, chasing 22kg to 26kg (carcase weight).

Mr Male, who previously ran the Aberdeen Poll Dorset stud, was keen to strike when the market was hot.

"At the minute it's the way to go for us, the stock are fresh and the prices are good," Mr Male said.

"If you can offload suckers around 15- to 16-weeks-old, it's a pretty quick turn off, otherwise you're shearing them and looking after them over the summer, it's good to get them away.

"Hopefully the prices hold up for the next couple of weeks, I was pretty concerned (by the market) about six weeks ago but it's lifted an extra $30 a head now."

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