AFTER weeks of historically high prices, the trade lamb market took a significant dive in value last week and it’s a trend that’s set to continue this week.
Elders Wagga Wagga livestock manager Joe Wilks said the week after week of big increases in supply at saleyards has hit the market hard, causing prices to slip at Wagga Wagga about $15 to $20 a head.
“We certainly saw a fall in prices at last week’s market, but price falls at some Victorian saleyards were even bigger,” Mr Wilks said.
The quality has also declined as new season lambs start to lose their freshness.
“The new season lambs are drying off and we are seeing a lot more shorn lambs enter the market now,” he said.
“I expect many people will shear their young lambs from now on before sending them to market.
“They’ve (lamb producers) pushed the market as far as they can with unshorn lambs and they now need to market their lambs after shearing.”
And that means the higher prices recorded in October are unlikely to be matched this month, with higher supplies and reduced quality both weighing on the market.
Early this week The Land’s Trade Lamb Indicator had slipped about 90 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) in the past week to 681c/kg.
Even though this seems like a big loss, the prices for trade lamb are still more than 50c/kg better than at the same time last year.
P.T. Lord, Dakin and Associates agent Joe Portelli, Dubbo, said even though prices were affected by the bigger numbers of lambs being offered in the south of the state last week, the market was still higher than this time last year.
“It will be interesting to see just how much the market comes off in the next few weeks,” he said.
“Historically, we do see the prices come back at about this time of year.
“The lambs start to dry out in the coat and ‘cause the grass seeds are starting to come out, people are shearing their lambs so they present better in the saleyards.”
Mr Portelli estimated the Dubbo trade lamb market was about $20 to $30 a head cheaper this week when compared with the week before.