Dry conditions prompt forced sales of livestock

Joe Wilks

Joe Wilks

TWO questions are on the lips of primary producers at the moment. When is it going to rain and what are the numbers in the sheep and cattle sale draws.

In a bid to get through the winter months and cope with the escalating dry conditions there been has what can be described as a bigger than normal livestock sell off.

And Wagga, being one of the major centres in Australia, has had the lions share of a lot of the sheep and cattle.

The sheep and lamb draw for the Thursday sale this week is 43,400 and it follows on from a big cattle sale on Monday with 5777 head. It’s not the only centre drawing in the numbers the story is the same at Griffith, the South Eastern Livestock Exchange at Yass and also Wodonga. 

Elders livestock agent and auctioneer Joe Wilks of Wagga said people couldn’t hold out for rain any longer.

He said this was the fundamental reason for the big numbers going under the hammer.

While some livestock have been finished to perfection and received good prices he said there were others entering the market in light store condition and were simply being sold due to the dry weather. 

But he commended vendors on the way they had been able to present stock in the current season.

“It is not just something we are seeing at a local level … it is very much statewide,” Mr Wilks said.  

Meanwhile, the market analysts have been trying to predict whether the numbers of lambs for slaughter will continue to enter the saleyards given the early sell off. Using Meat and Livestock Australia data Mercado researchers are tipping the slaughter rates to decline from recent record highs.

“With the dry continuing, we ask whether these lambs will finished on time, and whether they’ll be there at all,” said Mercado’s Angus Brown.