By in-house analyst extraordinaire, Tom Rookyard
Sometimes, we forget what we were saying, and a supportive colleague laughs :)
April saw a slowing of numbers online with just shy of 300,000 sheep and lambs offered online (down 180,000 on last month). This is as expected as the traditional winter lull begins with steading numbers. 43% of the offering was once again made up of Merino wether lambs and Crossbred store lambs.
South Western Victoria and Southern NSW (the Riverina, Monaro) offered the largest shares of those two categories. From there 20% of the total offering was Merino ewes and ewe lambs, with Midlands WA, South West and Northern VIC, and the Riverland and Mallee regions of SA, offering around 4,000 SIL merino ewes each, seeing a widespread of offering of breeding stock. April saw an overall clearance rate of 83%, (up 13% on March), no doubt rain across several regions boosted grower buying decisions.
The Central West of NSW topped the buying regions purchasing 31% of sheep and lambs sold, with just under half of that being Merino wether lambs and Crossbred store lambs, underpinning confidence in the lamb feeding market. The South West Slopes & Plains and Riverina of NSW followed up as the next two largest purchasing regions.
The market held firm or rose across the month, seeing Crossbred lambs across the entire averaged $184, up $12 on March; Merino ewe lambs averaged $226, up $34; Merino wether lambs averaged $154, up $11. Growers appear to be looking for the future seeing SIL Merino and First Cross ewes rise by $23 and $39 on March’s averages, to average $280 and $376 respectively.
Overall COVID-19 does not appear to dampen or see any lack of grower confidence around the store sheep and lamb market. The past month saw rainfall drive strong interstate purchasing and averages rising across most stock categories.
The record offering of cattle on AuctionsPlus in March was not broken in April, with 66,000 head offered. Queensland still leads the list of offering, with 6,000 yearling and weaner steers and unjoined heifers offered from Southern QLD and 4,000 head offered from both North QLD and the Northern Tablelands of NSW. Weaner and Yearling cattle made up 69% of the offering online.
Producers appear to be get used to the COVID environment as the market has settled and the overall the online clearance rate for the month of April rose from 70% in March to 80%. Across the month producers looking to restock purchased at similar rates to last month. PTIC cows and heifers averaged $1,885 and $1,664, down $24, and $103 on March respectively; while cows with calves at foot averaged $2046, up $60 on last month. Weaner and yearling heifers saw a similar story, averaging 402c and 355c, up 3c and down 3c respectively on March. Weaner and yearling steers, averaged a few cents cheaper on last month, averaging 445c and 376c down 3c and 24c.
Rain has drawn buying out from the Central West and Northern regions of NSW, along with Southern QLD, purchasing 54% of all yearling and weaner steers and unjoined heifers offered. Confidence in the restocking market is evident with an 81% clearance on PTIC cows and heifers, and cows with calves at foot offered nationally.
NSW is dominating this market with producers purchased 55% of the 6,700 PTIC cows and heifers, and cows with calves at foot offered from QLD, VIC, SA, and TAS.