Heavy lambs in demand as southern processers look north

Forbes saleyards among several experiencing high demand for heavy lambs

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Nigel and Julie Porter, Wilga Downs, Tullamore, and Randal Grayson, Forbes Livestock and Agency Company, with heavy lambs which sold for $310.20/hd. Photo: Supplied

Nigel and Julie Porter, Wilga Downs, Tullamore, and Randal Grayson, Forbes Livestock and Agency Company, with heavy lambs which sold for $310.20/hd. Photo: Supplied

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In some cases, heavy lambs are making the same c/kg as trade lambs.

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A LIMITED supply of lambs suitable for export specifications is being credited for driving competition for heavy lambs across NSW.

Nowhere is the trend being more keenly felt than in the state's southern selling centres such as Forbes and Wagga Wagga.

In recent weeks, processors looking to overcome the shortage of available heavy lambs have been prepared to go the extra mile, and in some cases, heavy lambs weighing more than 25.1 kilograms carcase weight have been selling for more cents per kilogram than trade-weight lambs.

Vendors to benefit from the surge in competition include Nigel and Julie Porter of Wilga Downs, Tullamore, who recently sold a pen of 50 lambs, estimated to weigh 34kg cwt, at Forbes for $310.20 a head.

"The pen of 50 lambs were bred out of first-cross ewes by Poll Dorset rams," Mr Porter said.

"You just can't beat the first-cross ewes when producing quality heavy lambs."

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Forbes stock agent Sam Mackay, Forbes Livestock and Agency Company, said the demand for heavy lambs was due to recent wet weather in Victoria and the time of year.

"Heavy lambs are currently highly sought after at the moment with processors struggling to find enough of that type to suit the export specifications," Mr Mackay said.

"Coming into Christmas, supply has shortened up in NSW during the last few weeks due to a combination of the wet weather and the time of year, this has also helped push the competition in saleyards.

"We are not seeing Victoria yard a lot of weight in their lambs just yet either, with the feed not having a lot of nutrition and the lambs not having a lot of bulk in them at the moment.

"Hopefully, we can see these solid prices hold firm into the new year as yardings begin to increase."

However, Tamworth stock agent Mitchell Swain, McCulloch Agencies, said while some flow-on affects were being felt in the state's north, it was not on the same scale as it was in southern selling centres.

"We are a lot further north than places like Forbes or Dubbo, which usually get much larger yardings than us too, so we haven't quite seen it up our way, but there is certainly plenty of demand for heavy lambs," Mr Swain said.

"A lot of that is due to the wet weather recently, but I think there will be a strong supply, possibly even an oversupply of heavy lambs come January as a result.

"I don't personally think we are going to see $10 per kilo carcase weight for lambs for a fair while, but we are still in a pretty good spot with the lamb job regardless.

"There is a bit of a flow-on affect being felt here in Tamworth for sure and I think it will be very interesting to see to what degree it will be felt."

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