STUDY FINDINGS: An independent report has found sheepmeat producers have confidence in saleyard market reports but have far less for OTH reports.

Call for more transparent abattoir prices

An independent report has recommended the sheepmeat industry work towards greater transparency in over the hooks prices.

An independent report has recommended the sheepmeat industry work towards greater transparency in over the hooks prices.

The report, released last week, was commissioned by Meat & Livestock Australia at the request of Sheep Producers Australia, to assist in a response to 2017 parliamenatry and statutory enquiry findings.

This includes the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission’s Cattle and Beef Markets study and the Senate Standing committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport.

The report – Sheepmeat market structures and systems investigation  – found saleyards were efficient, especially the major selling centres.

There was also high levels of confidence in saleyard reports due to independent livestock market officers engaged by MLA who were the same each week and reported on a minimum of 70 per cent of the yarding.

However there was far less confidence in OTH market reports which are based on information voluntarily provided by 11 abattoirs in NSW, Vic, SA and WA through grids and phone calls.

The report states is not clear if all trades are included or if it is weighted on lot size and said daily prices could vary widely based on supply.

The report’s authors acknowledge mandatory reporting of OTH prices is not a possibility but say SPA and Australian Meat Industry Council should work with processors to encourage them to make public OTH and forward prices.

This could be a centralised on-line platform similar to CLEAR Grain or Wooltrade.

Much like the ACCC’s findings into the beef industry the report found sheepmeat producers were concerned about the lack of transparency in grading at abattoirs.

The report found in every state saleyard prices led OTH prices but OTH prices fluctuated in a narrower band.

SPA president Allan Piggott says the report provides an in-depth stocktake of market that can be used as a foundation in developing policy that encompasses the whole supply chain.

“In partnership with supply chain representatives, the sheep industry is uniquely positioned to harness the report’s insights and take a methodical, evidence-based, outcome-driven approach to developing practical industry policy that benefits all participants,” Mr Piggott said.

SPA  along with input from state farming organisation members and supply chain partners  will evaluate the report and draft a sheep industry response during February and March to the parliamentary and statutory authority inquiries.

Mr Piggott encouraged anyone that wanted to directly provide input into the process to contact the SPA office.

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