Lamb sells for record price at Dubbo saleyards

Tim Wiggins of Christie and Hood, Dubbo (right) with Jack Shanks and Ben Shanks of Shanks Farms, Dubbo and the record-breaking pen of lambs which sold for $344 a head at Monday's Dubbo sheep and lamb sale.
Tim Wiggins of Christie and Hood, Dubbo (right) with Jack Shanks and Ben Shanks of Shanks Farms, Dubbo and the record-breaking pen of lambs which sold for $344 a head at Monday's Dubbo sheep and lamb sale.

The eyes of the agricultural industry have turned to Dubbo this week as the national record for lamb prices tumbled at the city’s saleyards.

A pen of extra heavy weight lambs made $344 a head on Monday, breaking a record set just one week earlier.

The pen of 64 second-cross lambs were sold by the team at Christie and Hood, Dubbo on account of the Shanks family of Dubbo.

Bids came in thick and fast during the auction as onlookers watched on with interest.

The lambs were estimated to weigh an average of 82 kilograms live weight, and were purchased by Fletcher International Exports.

It wasn’t so long ago 94-year-old Jack Shanks cracked $250/head for a pen of lambs for the first time.

In June, a draft of 215 of the Shanks family’s lambs sold for $251.60/hd.

Jack, along with son Robert and grandson Ben, operate Shanks Farms and run 4000 cross-bred ewes.

It’s been a tough season for the Shanks family, who have bought grain in for the first time.

“It’s the driest it’s ever been in our lifetimes,” they said.

Colin Hood of Christie and Hood at Dubbo said lamb prices had skyrocketed.

“It wasn’t so long ago we were getting $260 a head and, back then, we didn’t think it could get much better than that,” he said.

Earlier in the sale, Landmark Milling Thomas had broken the selling centre record with a pen of the lambs from the Dixon family of Ashbank Poll Dorset stud - and neighbours of the Shanks family - which sold for $317/head.

In the past 10 weeks, agents at the Dubbo saleyards have set and reset the selling centre record seven times and have set a national benchmark twice.