RECORDS were broken at the Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange last week, reflecting the high price for lamb across the state.
Exchange onsite manager Paul Christopher said Blair Farms of Kalkee broke the lamb price record by making $260 with 48 lambs estimated at 34kgs.
“Previously it was $250,” he said. “It’s a great reward for the hard work that these producers do with their lambs, even despite the fact that not a lot of feed is going around.”
There were 24 sales above the $200 per head mark. Export lambs were $5 to $6 more expensive, while trade lambs were firm and light lambs $2 to $3 down.
The light weight and trade weight lambs sold from firm to $5 up on the previous week, and the heavy and extra heavy lambs selling to $10 per head better. Heavier trade weights sold from $175 to $202 per head and averaged 760c/kg cwt.
Mr Christopher said it was possible that lambs prices for consumers could increase too. “That’s always the problem when this happens – one end is the winner, while the other is the loser,” he said.
“I heard on the radio the other day that some butchers were charging more than $40 for lamb cutlets. It’s just the fact that this time of year producers are running out of stock and the spring lambs are just starting to come around. Prices should stabilise soon.”
During the last financial year, 411,704 individual stock came through the Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange.
“Numbers were down from the previous financial year, but this could be because a lot of producers were doing well with their lambs and were sending them straight to the abattoirs,” he said.
“Numbers are down across the country. In July last year we had 6700 moved through, while we had about 13,000 through last week for the first sale of the month.
“Like everything, it swings this time of year and hopefully numbers will stay steady soon.”
Last week, 8770 head of lamb were yarded at Horsham, which was an increase of 1500 from the previous week. The sheep penning of 4112 head was nearly double the previous week’s numbers.
Horsham Rural City Council councillor David Grimble said the exchange’s finances were currently in the black.
“From the budget, we were able to balance the books and the facility is about $54,000 in surplus, which is great considering numbers have been down,” he said.
“Some producers might be holding back due to other opportunities, but hopefully we will see some increases as spring draws closer.
“It’s a great facility for the community and they work hard to maintain it at a high standard.”