Processors wait for spring flush to hit

25 Sep, 2015 02:00 AM
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SPRING is here, but according to WA meat processor Western Meat Packers (WMP), the traditional livestock flush that comes with it is yet to be seen.

WMP chief executive officer Andrew Fuda said processors in WA were a little concerned with the delay and lower supply than normal.

"I am not sure how we are going to battle through," Mr Fuda said.

"We are all a bit worried.

"I have spoke to a few other smaller processors and they are just hanging in there."

Mr Fuda said for the short-term WA processors will have to ride this time out, until more sheep are put on the market.

Meat and Livestock Australia said the September 15 Muchea yarding was back about 10 per cent with sheep and lamb supplies easing.

Total sheep numbers were down 748 and lambs were also down 500 from the September 8 sale.

Lamb numbers were slightly less but quality was much better with the majority new season prime, heavy and trade lambs.

Mutton quality was also good, ewe weight and quality similar to last week and wethers spread from very good to plain.

All buyers were present but there was a visible reduction in competition across all categories with the exception of rams and lighter weight store lambs and wethers.

Prices for lamb, ewe and export wethers drafts decreased by $5 to $10 a head on average.

While the late rainfall last month was a blessing for Beverley sheep producer and Sheepmeat Council president Jeff Murray, he said the poor rainfall prior to that has made for a slow season.

The feed supply across WA was a concern because of the lack of rain and warm temperatures over the winter months.

This had many sheep producers in the Wheatbelt and other parts of the State nervous about the rest of the season, but this had turned around in August.

"The rain was certainly a relief and gave us a better outlook for the season than we first thought," Mr Murray said.

"Yes, industry is waiting on that typical flush to come through.

"But we don't want to flush out the market either.

"We want a steady flow of sheep all year round."

At Muchea Livestock Centre last week, lightweight, score three young lambs to slaughter were 29c cheaper at 437c/kg, while score two lines eased 11c to 493c/kilogram cwt.

Tradeweight, score two young lambs to slaughter slipped 18c to 495c, while score three lines eased 32c to average 498c/kg cwt.

Lightweight, score two restocker Merino ewes slipped 43c to 238c, while mediumweight score two Merino ewes decreased 9c to settle at 281c/kg cwt.

Heavyweight, score three Merino ewes lost 28c to average 274c/kg cwt.

Lightweight, score two restocker Merino young wethers settled on 368c, down 63c/kg cwt.

The total yarding at the Muchea September 15 sale was 13,178, with 6500 lambs and 6678 sheep, compared to 9500 lambs offered last year, 6000 of which were new season.

There were 12,500 ewes and a moderate number of wethers offered, both considerably higher compared to numbers for the same time last year.

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