WESTERN Australia's live export sheep trade has been a hot topic of discussion in recent months.
And the importance of the trade has been magnified recently, as labour shortages continue to impact the processing capacity of abattoirs.
Elders State livestock and wool manager Dean Hubbard said there was a hole in WA's turn-off due to the lack of both east-west inquiry and live export out of Fremantle.
However, he said there was light at the end of the tunnel given recent market price corrections.
"The price indicators have eased recently in both sheep and lamb," Mr Hubbard said.
"I have found in recent conversation with our WA live exporters - an improved appetite to review with possible demand ramping up the live export sheep demand in early to mid September.
"I am hopeful we as an industry can assist in getting the live exporters back wharf- side once again given current pricing.
"This could only improve any current and anticipated oversupplies being experienced by WA processors within our local market."
Mr Hubbard said having live exporters return in earnest to the WA market would help return selling conditions to relative normality, given the recent number of headwinds felt by the entire industry.
Statistics provided by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), stated 50,603 head (67.2pc sheep and 32.8pc lambs) were transferred over east from January 1 to June 30, 2022, compared to year-ago levels of 460,864 head (44.3pc sheep and 55.7pc lambs).
Meanwhile, DPIRD reported from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 a total of 267,619 head were transferred compared to 1,363,129 head from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
This means the number of sheep trucked over east has reduced by a mammoth one million head on a 12-month rolling average.
Mr Hubbard said processors could not fill the current glaring hole in the market at the moment, as they did not have processing capacity or the logistical ability to cope with current availability.
However, hopefully further down the track this situation should subside.
"My conversations over recent times with our WA processors have shone a light on a number of issues along the complete supply chain - it is certainly not all totally related to FMD.
"When you look at what the processors have done over the past few months, they have really held and maintained pricing for clients and I commend them for this.
"They've really held strong, which is to be acknowledged because I do feel that a number could have eased pricing further than they have.
"Our clients that have bookings, whether they are sheep or cattle, I feel processors have been entirely fair and reasonable with their pricing."
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