I have often lamented who has the time, and indeed the inclination, and particularly at this busy time of the year, to maintain a constant visual on who did this or said what on the likes of Facebook or Twitter or other social media forums.
That said I was amazed when I tweeted on my Stock & Land Twitter account while enjoying a cleansing Friday night ale the numbers of responses I managed.
My tweet went like this: “Impressive week for sheep/lamb markets – lambs to $219 at Ballarat, $242 at Hamilton and $254.60 at Wagga, ewe mutton to $199 at Hamilton and young ewes to $326 at Ballarat… where to from here???”
While I don’t claim many followers and I don’t follow many in return I was surprised at how many tweets and likes my comment gained which reveals just how much a timely, accurate and informative up-to-date comments on the market is appreciated by those who love the industry or are not able to attend the market.
However one thing that didn’t emerge was an answer to my question “where to from here???” which was the same question I posed to Fairfax Media’s national wool and sheep writer, Annabelle Cleeland when she rang Monday for a chat on market prices and current trends.
So the question is this; is this latest spike in prices, in fact, demand or supply driven?
The common thought I believe most people have is it is supply driven. That is, I believe there are a whole lot of buyers out there being forced to fish out of one very small pond. And that very small pond presently is the southwest markets of Ballarat, Hamilton and Mt Gambier, with Wagga, NSW, providing respite for the north.
This subject was discussed in full, again over a few, on Wednesday night with the manager of Victorian lamb abattoir, a representative of a livestock haulage firm and a couple of budding young stock agents.
Our discussion lasted for several hours (many shouts) and covered a wide range of topics including who bought what, and how far where they traveled for processing. No-names and no pack-drills but the long and short of our discussion suggested that if you name a lamb/mutton abattoir on the east coast then product was trucked there last week from the Western District.
One interesting statistic that I have discovered since and as result of last week buoyant markets is despite some 50-70,000 units per week being removed from the national kill through abattoir closures the lamb and mutton kill for the past six months is six percent higher across the board than 12 months ago.
What that means for the industry and future prices I am quite unsure.