Lamb prices finally on the up | My Machinery
CASE Agriculture
Lamb prices finally on the up

A glimmer of hope has sparked prime lamb markets in recent days, with stock agents in the deep south-west of the State reporting kill space has begun to open up at some export and domestic processing plants. They say increased buyer activity was particularly noticeable at Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday last week, when a large and aggressive buying field had arms waving for the first in almost three months as they attempted to fill waiting trucks from a 50,000-head yarding. According to official reports, trade young lamb prices improved $4-$7 a head to 330 cents a kilogram on leg, but the highlight of the day was an $8-$12 lift in export lamb prices that equated to 366c/kg at the saleyards. Hamilton agents said the biggest surprise came later on Wednesday afternoon when they began fielding telephone calls from buyers for urgent direct-to-works deliveries quoting 350c/kg on-farm for export heavy lambs. One agent said he had even taken a call late on Tuesday evening before Wednesday’s market for an urgent direct delivery overnight for a Wednesday kill. “And (the buyer) told us to yard as many heavy lambs as we could because they would buy the lot,” one agent said. Several agents questioned by Stock & Land, who have declined to be named, said processors had had the industry over a barrel for much of this lamb selling season. “They have blamed limited kill space and a surge in direct marketing for their lacklustre participation in the marketplace, and time has just caught up with them,” the agents said. “It’s now their time to pay,” one private agency principal added. One agent boldly tipped lambs could return to 500c/kg before autumn. However, last week’s long-awaited rise in prime market prices came too late for specialist crossbred breeder Andrew Lockhart (pictured), near Wedderburn, who was a reluctant seller of his Wychitella-bred crossbred ewe lambs at Wycheproof recently. “Timing is everything in today’s farming world,” Mr Lockhart said. “We were extremely well paid for our ewe lambs for the past two years, getting $198 a head two years running, but a price of $118 last week was disappointing. “I had a reserve of $120 on them and could have held on for the January market, but they’ve gone and we move on. “It’s something we don’t cry about.” Canola prices were exactly the same this week, he said. “They dropped $17 a tonne overnight without explanation but luckily we locked in the evening before so we’ve dodged a bullet there.”

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