Hot lamb market takes away the winter chill

Tasmanian Country
04 Jul 2024
Frost farm morning




AT Powranna on Tuesday the temperature was chilly but the action in the lamb and mutton markets was hot with the best prices seen in both sections for many months.

 There were smaller numbers with 827 lambs (523 less) and 369 mutton (130 less) but competition was strong across the whole yard coming from our local exporter plus numerous interstate interests. 

Most lambs improved $10 to $30/head with extra heavy lambs (over 30 kg) making $208 to $248, heavy $160 to $220 and trade $148 to $152. 

Lambs destined for the Middle East trade also sold well with light trade (17-20 kg) making $88 to $130 and light $32 to $100/head. Over in the mutton yard prices also improved $20 to $30/head with heavy sheep making $100 to $128, medium $88 to $118 and light $62 to $92/head. 

I was asked after this sale “if this was a one off or…” and my reply was that although the very tops might be, the market generally will continue to be strong as numbers of well finished lambs up and down the eastern states will be scarce until there are enough new seasons lamb to swing over and that will probably not be until early to mid-September. 

The mutton situation is similar with a general shortage likely to remain until well into the spring and this is accounting for big numbers coming east from Western Australia.

Victorian numbers were lower in most saleyards and prices were dearer across most weights. 

At Bendigo on Monday reports indicated a very wintery quality yarding but at Ballarat on Tuesday although numbers were lower at 17,000 quality was good in the trade and heavy sections and prices improved with heavy lamb averages quoted between 820c and 850c/kg carcass weight. 

Few lambs at Hamilton on Wednesday but at Horsham on the same day numbers were up and most good quality lambs between 800c and 850c/kg. 

Very heavy lambs at these yards have topped over $300/head with most $250 to $280/head.

Interstate mutton prices have also improved quickly with most medium and heavy sheep quoted in the 450c to 490c while extra heavy are between 350c and 420c/kg with extra heavy crossbreds making $100 to $173 while medium weights are selling for $85 to $115/head.

Interesting to read that M.L.A. are predicting that the Australian flock numbers will peak during this year and fall slightly in 2025 but still remain above the 10 year average. 

It would appear that given our exports to overseas markets that the lamb and sheep industry is in good shape going forward.


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