MORE than a million head of lambs and sheep have crossed the border from WA to the Eastern States this year according to statistics from the Ceduna checkpoint.
The total is the highest on record for this time of year - January 1 to June 30 - and is likely to increase as the year goes on with demand from restockers in the east still strong.
It is expected to break the record of 2011 - which was only slightly higher than the current figure.
Of the total number this year, lambs accounted for 52 per cent (526,000) while adult sheep accounted for 48pc (481,000), making up 1.007 million head.
In June alone, truck drivers were kept busy with a total of 102,355 sheep and lambs transferred east.
The current total is more than 600,000 head above the highest previous record in 2011 at this time of year.
While the number of transfers has been a positive thing for producers, who have been making the most of the prices on offer, it has been concerning from the processor perspective.
WAMMCO management has expressed concern that the availability of stock in the next few months will be a challenge for the business but it would have to compete on price to fill its orders.
Livestock agents reported that Fletchers International was active in the market at the saleyards last week in preparation for its plant reopening after its usual maintenance shutdown, while another processor was reported to have been booked up and not in attendance at the sales last week.
Farm Weekly understands that the 20,000 sheep that were not exported as part of Rural Export and Trading WA's consignment on the Al Kuwait livestock vessel to Kuwait at the end of last month have mostly been processed - which would have been a significant production boost to the processor involved.
Figures from the first three weeks of July over the past two years show that there has been a slight decline in the number of sheep and lambs yarded at Muchea and Katanning this year.
A total of 11,848 sheep and lambs have been yarded at Muchea from June 30 to July 14.
That is down on last year's figure of 17,289 for the first three weeks in July.
Katanning recorded a yarding of 15,872 sheep and lambs for the first three weeks of July 2020, which was also down on last year's figure of 18,133 head.
While it is only 7702 head difference from year to year it could be attributed to the increased demand from Eastern States' buyers, as well as a reduction in the State's flock.