PD lambs sell for $104.58

30 Apr, 2003 10:00 PM

LAMB prices at $100-plus will continue - as long as they're heavy enough for the US market.

And WAMMCO general manager Des Griffiths can't see any easing in the price for years to come, commenting after his company recently paid $104.58 for a Poll Dorset-Merino lamb in a line of 104 which averaged $93.83/head.

Cunderdin farmer Ian Reynolds of Greyhome Farming was the lucky recipient of these fantastic prices in his consignment of 104 bought by WAMMCO in early April.

And Des Griffiths says these prices are not unusual for forward contract lambs meeting the right specifications for the US market, which demands a heavier product.

"We have been paying these prices for forward contracts for the last three or four months," he said.

"I'm only guessing, but I'd say we have paid more than $100/lamb for about 5000 lambs so far this season, the first season of the forward contract system which has been operating since August.

"We have paid $100/head for only one pen in the yards which brought a lot of publicity, but under forward contracts, it's a common occurrence."

And the good news is that Mr Griffiths doesn't see any easing in prices for this sort of lamb in the next few years.

"Prices will be maintained at this level for the heavier lambs wanted by the US market," he said.

"In the past producers weren't rewarded for a good product and now they are reaping the benefits of good genetics and good management.

"We have to stop the boom-bust situation in the lamb market and reward the producers who

use Lambplan EBVs and consequently source good genetics to produce the heavier lambs."

Which is exactly what Ian Reynolds has done.

"Lambplan is responsible for the good prices we've achieved," he said.

"We'll never buy a ram that's not on Lambplan and these prices we've achieved are proof of the pudding.

"The Poll Dorset-Lambplan combination produces a great product."

Of the 104 lambs killed in the Reynolds line of lambs - which were not sold under forward contract - the average was $93.83, the average weight being 23.6kg and of the 104 lambs, only two were score 4s, the remainder being score 3.

The value per kilo was $3.64 and the $104.58 top price included the skin, with the average skin price of the consignment being $7.86.

The lambs are off the Reynolds family's feedlot - their first attempt at this method of raising lambs.

They started with 900 lambs in February and have been turning them off a five-acre paddock carrying between 100 to 180 lambs at a time.

They are grown out with lupins fed in a trough and rolled-out hay.

"By locking them up they are not walking off what we have put in," Mr Reynolds said, emphasising that it was not a difficult thing to produce good quality prime lambs.

"And we must support WAMMCO."

He added that Greyhome Grazing's aim was to produce lambs in the 22 to 24kg weight range with better fat scores.

Though with only two of 104 lambs with a fat score of four, there doesn't appear to be much room for improvement.

Over the next five years, WAMMCO plans to have contracts for a half million lambs - a decidedly significant incentive for lamb producers to get heavier lambs to market.



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