Wagga Wagga saleyards was the site of another national sheep record on Thursday, with a pen of 77 White Suffolk heavy lambs selling within a whisker of $400 a head.

Key points:

  • The delighted vendors run a self-replacing White Suffolk flock 
  • The heavy lamb market is strong despite some major buyers not operating
  • The selling agent says the market is strong but might correct in the coming months

Last month the new season national lamb price was also broken at Wagga Wagga, with lambs selling for $340.

Thursday’s record-breaking heavy lambs, which sold for $399.20, were 11 to 12 months old and were bred by Ashley Douglas from Kikoira, near West Wyalong, along with his father Eric and partner Kristie.

They were knocked down to Dubbo processor Fletchers International.

The lambs were estimated to weigh about 45 kilograms each and were the last of the family’s old season lambs. 

A father, son and the son's partner standing together in a field on a stunning sunny day.

Eric and Ashley Douglas and Kristie Dunlop are delighted with the sale.(

Supplied: Ashley Douglas

)

Vendors run self-replacing flock

The Douglases have a self-replacing White Suffolk flock and their lambs had been on a Lucerne and rye grass mix, supplemented with barley grain, since April.

Ashley Douglas said he was shocked to hear the lambs had sold for a new Australian record price.

The Douglas family run their sheep operation a little differently to most, lambing down up to nine months of the year to improve lambing percentages and to spread their risk when it comes to the market.

Mr Douglas shears his sheep himself and said he moved away from Merinos because they found the White Suffolks were better mothers and did not require mulesing.

Wagga Wagga agent James Tierney standing in front of a pen of new season lambs at the Wagga Wagga saleyards.

Livestock agent James Tierney describes current lambskin prices as a “free kick” for sheep producers.(

ABC Riverina: Olivia Calver

)

Strong demand from export market

Selling agent James Tierney said overall the heavy lamb market was very strong despite five major buyers not competing due to COVID-19 disruptions.

“That was the most positive thing … a couple of major players weren’t operating – exporters – and to stay as it did was incredible, really, for the middle of October,” Mr Tierney said. 

“There’s a lot to look forward to, I reckon, with this lamb job — I still think we’ll see some sort of correction as we get into the back end of the spring and the Victorian numbers run a little bit.

There were close to 6,800 old season lambs sold at Wagga Wagga on Thursday for an average of $223 a head.

That is compared to the 21,000 new season lambs on offer, which sold for a slightly higher average of $226.

Posted , updated 

Heavy lambs sell for just shy of $400 a head, setting new Australian record
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