Analyst Intel

17 May 2019

ACROSS THE RAILS: Store lamb market is in a good place

BySuz BremnerSuz Bremner

Store lamb throughput at the yards might be peaking at some impressive levels but that doesn’t mean the market is changing down a gear, with prices week-on-week holding or in some cases showing improvement.

There are several factors driving the demand on the rails and the sale yards are proving to be a real winner for vendors as they continuously shift the goal posts. International demand is keeping schedules at pleasing levels and outlooks look very positive while alternative farming options are being explored by some parties. The flow-on effect of good prices at auction is that more sellers are keen to jump on that bandwagon, with throughput reaching record levels at some yards. Temuka was a great example of this last week as, for the third week running, volume flew past previous years, exceeding even the five-year average by close to 16,000 head over that three-week period. Last week’s market will do little to stem the flow, given it took a lift on the previous week with lambs averaging 28kg LW and $109 a head. Most of the lambs are coming from the wider South Canterbury area and North Otago, with a few venturing up from further south.

Buyers, however, are aware that as fast as the numbers have come up they can fall and Temuka’s PGG Wrightson agent Jonty Hyslop reported they are making the most of the numbers while they are there, securing what they can to winter now. 

Both Canterbury Park and Coalgate posted similar market trends with good mixed sex at Canterbury Park making $110-$132 while a good portion of the store lambs at Coalgate sold for $100-$129.

The only dampener on an otherwise positive time for store lambs is the fact the weather is not really playing ball. Lack of rain and recent strong winds are having a detrimental effect on longer-term or lesser-bred lambs. Luckily, though, they are few and far between now given that the year is marching on.