Record prices for sheep and lamb in Australia, NZ starts exports

Record prices for sheep and lamb in Australia, NZ starts exports

Australian livestock agents are warning sheep and lamb prices could go even higher, despite record sales in some markets.

Surging sheepmeat prices and a shortage of stock are seeing breeding ewes regularly sell for more than A$200 each reports ABC rural. But Elders livestock agent Jim Coffey says the prices are still viable for producers, and it's possible they will keep rising." 

High lamb prices, high mutton prices, wool is going along steady but still not too bad," he says. "It's very hard if you've got no sheep to finance you into them, but I think they still can be bought at these prices."

A new record has been set for the price paid for a pen of lambs in NSW. A mob of lambs sold for $191 each at the Cowra Saleyards on Friday. They weighed more than 26 kilograms.

And a world record has been set at the 172-year-old Campbell Town Show in Tasmania.Beechford second-cross lamb producer, Ben McBride, was the overall winner with a 18-22 kilogram trade lamb. Organiser Andrew Calvert says the auction achieved $25 a kilogram for his hook-winning lamb, which is a world record on a per-kilogram basis.

High prices for local sheepmeat, a critical lamb shortage and a low Kiwi dollar have forced local butchers to look over the Tasman reports The Weekly Times. A Melbourne butcher, who did not wish to be named, said he could buy Kiwi mutton backstraps for $18.50 a kilogram compared to $21/kg for the local product. He also said New Zealand lamb racks at $12/kg were also better value than $14-$15/kg for the local product.

Along with Australia, NZ was suffering from a dwindling flock and tight mutton supplies, but unlike Australia which exports 45 per cent of mutton, NZ exports 80 per cent of its mutton and lamb. But until recently little Kiwi lamb has ended up in Australia.

Meat and Wool New Zealand executive director Rob Davison said the emergence of Australia as a market for NZ product would be due to the recent sharp changes in currency exchanges rates.

"The NZ dollar was now very strong against the Euro but weak against the Australian dollar which makes it very lucrative to redirect product to Australia," Davison said.

In recent years Australia has sold processing mutton to NZ, while sheepmeat imports had been much smaller at about 50 tonnes a year.

Davison said in the six months to the end of March NZ exported 208 tonnes to Australia, although he suspected that trade might have grown in recent months because of the currency movements.

The NZ dollar was now 20 per cent below the Australian dollar, whereas in recent years it was about 10 per cent under. Another advantage for the NZ product was that although its surplus ewe prices were trading at a high of NZ$50-55, this price was still only half the equivalent prices for Australian ewes.


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