Sheep, wool prices were historically high in 2017

HISTORICALLY high livestock and wool prices have boosted Wimmera producers and the region’s economy this year.

A Meat and Livestock Australia report shows overall lamb and mutton saleyard prices had been historically high and wool prices have had unprecedented growth over the past 12 months.

At its last sale for the year on Wednesday, Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange recorded a lift in lamb and mutton prices.

Exchange manager Paul Christopher said the top lambs sold for $194 a head.

“It was fantastic – prices are up again for lambs,” he said.

“Prices were about two to five dollars up on the week before and they are selling really well for about 640 to 660 cents a kilogram.

“Mutton prices are also high.”

Mr Christopher said despite the top prices, throughput numbers had been on par with other years.

“We are hoping we have more stock come through in the new year because there seems to be a lot of lambs out there,” he said.

Mr Christopher said overall the past six months had been positive for the market.

“We were down on numbers in the first three months of the financial year but the past three months have been really good,” he said.

“If we had an average start to the financial year, we would be well and truly in front now.

“But overall, the market is looking really positive and we should see more lambs coming through the saleyard next year.”

A Meat and Livestock Australia spokesman said this year, the lamb market had resisted the seasonal decline in prices, which typically coincided with the new season lambs hitting the market in spring.

“The strength of the domestic and international markets has provided strong prices and while supplies increased during spring this year, so too did prices,” he said.

“In the final week of November, the national trade lamb indicator averaged five cents higher than the opening week of September.

“The national mutton indicator has also out-performed 2016 levels this year and hit new highs at the beginning of June.”

Landmark Ararat wool account manager John McGrath said wool prices represented a bright spot for farmers this year.

“Prices for the region are on a historic high at the moment,” he said.

“The wool market indicator, which is the guide we use, is 350 cents higher than where it was last year.

“Generally, farmers in the region would be getting the best wool prices they have had probably since the late 1980s.”

Mr McGrath said the last sale for 2017 had marked a strong finish to the wool season. 

He said the extra money in farmers’ pockets would be good for the region’s economy.


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