Livestock prices a benefit despite the dry times

NSW Farmers president James Jackson.

NSW Farmers president James Jackson.

SALEYARD returns and over-the -hooks benefits for selling livestock could be described as a saving grace in this particular drought.

It is no secret that primary producers are doing it tough. Drought conditions have made it difficult to maintain stock levels.

However, this drought has played out much differently to the historic dry times.

On Thursday prime lamb specialist Robert Sheridan of Junee sold extra-heavy lambs for a high of $270. The price indicated that buyers were prepared to pay good money for well-finished stock that met the market.

The high of $270 was also achieved again on Friday at the Griffith market in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

NSW Farmers president James Jackson said most droughts have traditionally been accompanied by a drastic fall in farm gate prices for grazing operations.

"The strong livestock prices through this drought have not come about by chance, they have been built through the tireless work of the Australian livestock industry, with government support, to build our export markets for both live animals and processed meat," Mr Jackson said.

"The ability of drought-affected farmers to realize strong prices for their stock over recent dry years is directly attributable to Australia's strong export links, including our live export trade."

"Without export options, such as live export, Australian sheep markets would risk a domestic glut, further adding to the financial woes of farmers struggling in drought" he said.

Mr Jackson said the last eight live export voyages of sheep to the Middle East, between November 2018 and April 2019 have recorded mortality rates of well under 0.5%.

"This drought has reinforced the critical role that strong export markets play in underpinning farm and industry resilience. Let's hope Federal Labor, if elected on 18 May, heed these lessons and re-think their plans to shut down live sheep exports or unreasonably tamper with current or future FTAs."