• Loddon Herald

Record beaters

AN AUSTRALIAN record $332 a head has been paid for Loddon sucker sheep this week.

The new top price average was set at the Bendigo market for Bridgewater farmer Chris Pollock’s pen of 49 first and second cross white Suffolk lambs.

Strong export market bidding drove the price for the five-month-old suckers above the high of $331.20 at Wagga Wagga last month.

“We’re pretty proud of the fact we hold the record but like all records, it’s made to be broken,” Chris said.

“We knew when they were taken to the livestock exchange and prepared for the sale that they were special.

“The family has been farming here for 150 years. I don’t think we’ve ever had the top pen at a sale let alone one that brings in an Australian record.”

And the good prices continued for Chris and Julie Pollock with a second pen of 72 at Bendigo selling for an average of $300, a price shared with Inglewood’s Col and Jeff Martin who penned 10 suckers.

The Pollock’s offering was handled by son Alexander, a livestock agent with McKean McGregor.

“It’s a classic case of supply and demand at the moment. Export buyers have orders to fill,” Alexander said.

“The record could be broken again today (Thursday) but if it’s not, I reckon it will stand until next year.”

James Nevins, of FP Nevins and Co, agents for the Martins, said: “It’s a whole new stratosphere at the moment.”

Chris said Monday’s price also had a bit of luck, “It was a good sale and we were fortunate to get a good price for the heavy suckers.”

The Pollocks farm more than 600 hectares, growing wheat, barley, oats, faba beans and canola. Their flock is fed a combination of grains and graze on the canola crops.

They switched from poll Dorsets to Suffolks eight years ago.

Chris said current agricultural conditions and prices had made it the best time in his more than 40 years in the agricultural industry.

“The sheep industry and farming in general is in a very good place despite the tough COVID times,” he said. “We make sure we look after our sheep from joining to the drop of lambs and until we sell them either at market or off the hook.

“That means feeding them well, cleaning the feed and water troughs.”

Chris said 95 per cent of the farm’s sheep were sold over the hook, the next pen ready for a supermarket contract next week.

The record level of prices is more than $10 above the previous $320 set in 2018.

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