SOUTH East livestock producers are experiencing a market price surge fueled by demand for high quality cattle and sheep products.
With farmers yarding the tail-end of last season’s shorn prime lambs at the Glenburnie Saleyards yesterday, Mount Gambier Combined Agent chairman David Creek said sale prices had increased around 25pc compared to recent years.
“Most lambs are making in excess of what we call $7 upwards per kilogram in breast weight,” he said.
“This is certainly up from last year by around $1.50 or $2 per kilo.
“The larger lambs are making around $230 to $240 dollars each which is considered high value.”
With significantly high fertility rates recorded across the Limestone Coast’s ewe population, the sector’s future outlook remains promising.
“Ewes have been pregnancy scanning at 130pc or more from surrounding prime lamb producers,” he said.
“Comparing to areas like Riverina where scanning has been down to 30pc to 40pc, our percentages are high.
“This is encouraging for this season’s lambs which are dropping into the paddocks now.”
Supply and demand has created a positive environment for producers, which should continue into this season’s lambs due to predicted larger numbers, according to Mr Creek.
Mr Creek said South East farmers have been able to buy good value stock from across Australia to finish on Limestone Coast grazing land.
“It is one of the few times where people can buy store stock with the gilt-edged guarantee you are going to make money out of it,” he said.
“The rest of the time I think it has always been a big gamble.
“It is the best time I have seen for farmers through my 50 years of involvement.”
Desperately awaited rain has started to fall in the Lower South East region this week, which Mr Creek said has put farmers in “good stead.”
“You will find most of the producers are very well-healed,” Mr Creek said.
“We run everything right up to its maximum and we were getting into the desperate stakes.
“A lot of hay and fodder reserves have been depleted to hold our breeding stock so this rain is exactly what we needed.”
Mount Gambier prime lamb producer Merv Lock said the wait for rain has put some enterprises three weeks behind schedule.
“It is ideal to have stock feed and it is a bit harder on the ewes at the moment because they are needing that extra bit of feed,” he said.
“There is not an abundance of fodder lying around so it is a bit of a juggling act.
“I think it will be interesting to see what these lambs do due to the setback we have had.”
Mr Creek said the “prime time” to have lamb finished is from September through to December.
“We are lucky to be such reliable production area which meets supply and demand through our successful facilities such as the Mount Gambier and District Saleyards and the Naracoorte Regional Livestock Exchange,” he said.
“We have some of the best in South Australia and the western district of Victoria.
“Our gallery of buyers also insures there is always demand.”