Great Southern yarding surges as price firms

Zach RelphCountryman
Total sheep and lamb yarding at the Katanning Regional Saleyards surged to 28,887 last Wednesday, after 14,448 head were penned seven days earlier.
Camera IconTotal sheep and lamb yarding at the Katanning Regional Saleyards surged to 28,887 last Wednesday, after 14,448 head were penned seven days earlier. Credit: Countryman

Sheep yardings at the Great Southern’s premier livestock centre have almost doubled this month, with farmers seeking to claim a slice of the fattening lamb price.

Total sheep and lamb yarding at the Katanning Regional Saleyards on Wednesday last week surged to 28,887 after 14,448 head were penned seven days earlier.

The strong yarding comes as the lamb price continued to firm among buoyant competition from local buyers.

WA Meat Marketing Co-operative paid a sale-high of $262 a head for a pen of 38 SAMM lambs sold by Burleigh Park, under the Landmark banner.

It marked the second-highest lamb sale in WA history, after Nippering-based Bunkin Farms snared a mammoth $289-per-head for a line of 54 SAMM ram lambs on June 6.

Katanning saleyards manager Rod Bushell said he expected the lamb market to remain strong and quality stock to continue earning good returns alongside the tightened supply and increased demand.

“We might not break any more records, but the price will stay strong for a while yet before supply increases,” he said.

“Everyone was pretty upbeat at the sale, which showed with the yarding at nearly 29,000 head.

“It is all looking pretty positive at the minute.”

Mutton also strengthened at last week’s Katanning auction, with heavy ewes making up to $177-per-head.

Light lambs weighing less than 12kg carcass weight fetched between $42 to $80, while lambs under 16kg cwt netted up to $149.

Although WA’s lamb market is maintaining its strength, the Eastern States’ sheep and lamb indicators eased last week.

Meat and Livestock Australia forecast lamb supply to remain tight Australia-wide, allowing the sheepmeat to keep netting solid returns.

The lively lamb price follows the national lamb carcase weights rising to a new record, despite reducing pasture levels.

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the average lamb cwt spiked to an all-time high of 23.7kg-per-head in April.

It noted a one per cent increase on the previous record set in March.

In April, lamb slaughter totalled 1.85 million head across the country to record a 6 per cent reduction on the month previous and 5 per cent decrease year-on-year.

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