Commercial Sheep Sales
The simplest commercial selling method can be to take your meat sheep to the local stock saleyard market.
Phone ahead to make arrangements, and don't forget the PIC tags and paperwork. Normally any stock can be sold, from a pen of prime lambs to one ageing ram. Prices can be
top of the range, or just a couple of dollars for pet food - auctions are hard to predict. Most sales are for meat, and 70% of Australian mutton is exported.
Odds and ends at the local sale yard
Another easy method is to take your sheep to the local abattoir or meatworks. Once again, phone ahead
to make arrangements. You should get a fair price, but you have to take what they offer so it isn't likely to be top of the range.
In-the-paddock sales involve a meatworks' agent visiting your farm, inspecting the stock for sale,
and negotiating a price with you. You may deliver, or the meatworks may send a truck for a larger purchase.
Selling over-the-hooks is done by a forward contract with the meatworks, in which the farmer undertakes
to sell a fixed number of sheep for a fixed price. The contract will specify the type of stock and the target weight, as well as the delivery date. The advantages, besides
certainty, include better targeting for particular market niches and much better feedback from the meatworks. Check the Internet for more information.
Local stock agents (eg Landmark or Elders) usually arrange the local saleyard market. They also negotiate
private sales, for example the sale of weaner lambs to a feedlot farmer who will bring them up to market weight. For breeding stock, they may arrange private sales, hold
occasional special market days, and conduct on-farm auction sales for studs.
On-line Internet selling is a new method of sale by description. Advantages include leaving the stock in
the paddock if they don't reach the reserve price, and delivery flexibility. An Internet search for online stock auctions and sales will take you to the sites, and you can
also access some systems through local stock agents.
A local butcher may also buy stock and arrange its slaughter, usually for sale locally. This can be a good
way to sell small numbers regularly.
Commercial meat sales usually work best if you have a fair number of sheep for sale, all of the same type
and weight. Whether you are selling stock to a meatworks, through a stock agent, a butcher, or on-line, it helps to build up relationships. The same is true when selling
breeding stock. When you know what your buyer needs, you know what to offer.