THE first sheep and lamb sale for the season was called to order on Wednesday with the usual whistle, then shouts of ‘Sale-o, sale-o’.
Local agents reported the sale was quiet as it was the first of the year with just around 1000 lambs processed.
The top score lambs reached $138 per head, but the majority made between $80 and $100.
Smaller lambs sold to re-stockers for between $60 and $70.
Mostly local abattoirs snapped up the lambs suitable for slaughter – selling to Radfords and Gathercoles.
There is one more market before Christmas – this Wednesday, December 16. Sales will resume again in the New Year.
Agents said comparisons would be hard to come by as the market was the first for the year, however prices look on trend to the rest of the country.
At the Horsham market held on the same day, December 9 (4600 lambs), prices slipped by $8 in some areas – light lambs $70-98, and heavy top score lambs to $145.
Lamb predictions out
The Australian sheep industry projections for 2016 were released by Meat and Livestock Australia last week.
It said the number of lambs slaughtered each year has been increasing, and through improved lifetime management, average carcase weights continue to rise.
“This was particularly evident in 2015, when, despite many of the large sheep producing regions enduring ‘below average’ rainfall for the majority of the year, average carcase weights increased across the country,” the report reads.
“… small gains in average carcase weights are expected to drive lamb production from 2017 onwards – reaching 552,000 tonnes cwt in 2019.
“The demand for Australian lamb in 2016 will continue to be heavily influenced by international customers, with the A$ tipped to hover below the US70¢ mark, which will assist trade and Australian lamb prices considerably.
“That is not to discredit the domestic market, where per capita consumption is forecast to hold steady at 9kg and remain the largest lamb market on both a value and volume basis.
“The US and Middle East are likely to remain the most influential export markets in 2016, where trade is expected to build further on the 2015 levels – albeit only slightly.”