Prime lamb saleyard records

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SOLD: Neil and Fiona Muller, Henty, have already turned off a large wedge of their Poll Dorset sired second-cross lambs this year, taking advantage of the good growth rates and booming market. At about four months old, they sold 650 of their 850 lambs into the Wagga Wagga saleyards in July, averaging $215. Photo: Supplied.

SOLD: Neil and Fiona Muller, Henty, have already turned off a large wedge of their Poll Dorset sired second-cross lambs this year, taking advantage of the good growth rates and booming market. At about four months old, they sold 650 of their 850 lambs into the Wagga Wagga saleyards in July, averaging $215. Photo: Supplied.

PRIME lambs are continuing to produce more consistent profit margins than other livestock commodities.

All sections of the lamb market are performing strongly as the demand for sheep meat surges overseas and poor seasons have led to a depleted flock. And there is no better way to ensure your prime lambs are best of the bunch than to use Poll Dorset sires.

Proven performers and profit drivers, Poll Dorsets provide weight for age, muscle and plenty more meat to your lamb drop.

The National Heavy Lamb Indicator peaked at 998c/kg in July, while the Trade Lamb Indicator reached 950c/kg, and Poll Dorset sired lambs broke records across the saleyards.

Goulburn prime lamb producers the Mooney family sold a pen of heavy lambs through Landmark Wagga Wagga's Peter Cabot in June for the then-national saleyard record lamb price of $354.20.

The second-cross lambs, with their breeding including Poll Dorset rams, weighed 95-100kg, an estimated 48kg dressed. They were purchased by Fletchers International, Dubbo.

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Two producers set a new Victorian saleyard record high lamb price of $354 at the Central Victorian Livestock Exchange, Ballarat, on July 9.

The first was KP Maher and sons of Springbank, Victoria, selling 54 lambs, 44kg dressed with a $6 skin purchased by Australian Lamb Company.

David and Matthew Baird of Larose at Blowhard had a pen of 69 lambs of the same type and weight, purchased for the same price by JBS.

Prior to that, lamb finisher Andy Maher, Dean, took out the record price for the selling centre with his second-cross Poll Dorsets, first at $300 in May, then at $344 in June.

Mr Maher said he focussed on buying quality lambs to finish. While they cost more, they also demanded a premium at the other end.

"Buy the right lambs for the right job. I stick with the Poll Dorset second-cross lambs. I find the other breeds don't yield as well and aren't as heavy," Mr Maher said.

The Hoskinson family from Kikoira also set what was then a national saleyard record for lambs at Griffith, NSW, at the end of May.

Their pen of 10 month old 82 second-cross Poll Dorset lambs sold at $345 for lots averaging 92kg, or 43kg dressed.

Poll Dorset sired lambs accounted for 23 per cent of the AuctionsPlus listing in 2018-19, a 49 per cent jump between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 season, with 20 per cent growth between 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Buyer demand for Poll Dorset sired lambs was indicatively stronger than other breeds, despite the large growth in listings, receiving a national clearance of 83 per cent in 2018-19.

Poll Dorset sired lambs weighing under 25kgs averaged $85/head, while both White Suffolks and Border Leicesters averaged $81/head. In the 30-35kg and 35-40kg weight ranges, Poll Dorsets lambs sold $5 and $2 above the next breed respectively.

Sticking to Poll Dorset rams has paid off for the Shank family at Dubbo, with a pen of their Poll Dorsets winning the Dubbo Prime Lamb Competition hoof section. Ben Shanks said they've only joined to Poll Dorsets for the past 10 to 12 years.

"We have stuck with the Poll Dorsets just because of the end product, it is always just that bit better," Mr Shanks said. "And by just having all Poll Dorsets makes it easier, you get a good line when you are selling your lambs and we've found the Poll Dorsets do a better job."