January 18, 2013
South Australia’s lamb producers are punting on the lamb market rising – they have only limited interest in forward contracts for the coming winter. Meat & Livestock Australia’s trade lamb indicator opened in 2013 at $3.29 cents a kilogram – nearly 20c/kg below its close in 2012. The heavy lamb indicator at $3.45/kg was near four-year lows. Agents and producers have shunned the forward lamb prices released last week at a 20pc premium to current saleyard prices, possibly because they are worried about the season and higher feed grain prices. T&R Pastoral issued contracts for its Murray Bridge and Lobethal abattoirs at $4/kg for 18-32kg carcaseweight 2-5 score crossbred lambs for May, $4.20/kg for June and $4.30/kg for July. Within 72 hours the contract was withdrawn because of the negative response from agents and producers, and fewer than 5000 lambs were contracted. T&R Pastoral national small-stock manager Paul Leonard said he was not disappointed with the result but expected that with the forward price at a 20pc premium to the physical market, there might have been more interest. “I am not saying industry has got it right or wrong but we are not there to have contracts sitting there and not being supported,” he said. Mr Leonard said he could understand that finishers were worried about high grain prices but they needed to adjust to the money being paid for store lambs, especially with the dry conditions across most of southern Australia.