LAMBS are enjoying a good run in NSW at the moment thanks to plenty of demand – particularly from the export market – and helped along by a strong autumn in the State’s south.
And while seasonal conditions in the north have been considerably tougher, prices have still been very strong in comparison to last year.
The Land’s indicator price for lamb was 578 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) on Tuesday night, up from last week’s price of 557c/kg, and still considerably higher than at the same time last year when the price was 444c/kg.
And while the restocker lamb indicator price has recorded a drop since the end of April, sitting at 557c/kg on Tuesday night, similarly it is well up on last year’s price of 413c/kg.
Meat and Livestock Australia market information and analysis manager Tim McRae said lambs were performing well above last year.
“Prices are pretty good in the wider scheme of things,” Mr McRae said.
Generally, he said lamb supply had been very high over recent months, which was “a really good example of a very strong demand market, especially from the export market”.
Some of the strongest demand had been coming from the big three: China, the Middle East and the US, and those markets had been taking a good spread of product.
Frame Rural Agencies director Philip Frame, Inverell, said the lamb market a month ago “was the dearest we had seen in a long time,” with some making 600c/kg.
He said supply had been shrinking considerably during the past few weeks, with the tail-end of the lambs coming through the market, and not many large runs being sold.
Prices had still been holding up.
“You can still get 590c/kg for lambs,” he said.
“The quality of the lambs here last week was quite good, although the planer lambs were cheaper.”
The main concern at the moment, he said, was the dry spell.
“We’ve got all our oats in and up, but if we don’t get about two inches of rain in the next month or so it won’t be good.”
He said up until the rain a few months ago, Inverell was looking about as dry as it had been in the 1960s.
It’s a different story in the south, said Norman C. Bellamy livestock agent Damien Stephenson, Cowra.
“I’ve never seen Cowra looking this good in the time I have been here,” he said.
“People have been able to finish their lambs on clover and lucerne so the quality has been very good, and consistently good.”
He said there had been a drop in supply at both Carcoar and Cowra, as lambs were getting into the end of the season, although there were still good lambs coming out of districts such as Oberon.
Some of the recent, small price declines had been as a result of skin prices, “which have come off a bit and taken the cream off the lambs”.
But overall, he said prices were still very good.
“Word is at the moment lambs are making between 550c/kg and 600c/kg, and if they can maintain those prices it would be good and people will be happy.”
Price confidence at Cowra
DAVID Delaney plans to sell his second-cross lambs through Cowra in about six weeks and with low supply in the market and a good season believes prices should remain strong.
Mr Delaney, who farms in partnership with his brother Geoff on “Lachlan Valley”, Cowra, runs about 900 first-cross ewes and marks about 1200 lambs on his
770-hectare property, of which about 400ha is under irrigation and grows lucerne hay for produce stores.
“We also generally buy in store lambs for fattening when the opportunity presents itself; we bought some store lambs in three weeks ago for about $85, and we will probably sell them in mid or late July,” he said.
As for his second-cross lambs, he will aim to sell them around the same time at about 22 kilograms.
Mr Delaney said he anticipated the lamb market would remain fairly steady, and was confident the market would hold into spring, but may just ease of slightly with more new season lambs coming onto the market in October.
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