Meet the LMO: Jenny Kelly

18 July 2018

Twenty-six Livestock Market Officers (LMOs) currently work across Australia as part of MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service. Covering more than 3,000 markets a year and thousands of kilometres between them, LMOs attend and report on up to 70 of the nation’s cattle, sheep and goat sales on a weekly basis.

This week, we talk to Echuca-based Jenny Kelly about her sales patch in Victoria and southern NSW and how the markets are tracking.

What regions do you cover and where are you based?

I'm based on the NSW/Victoria border in the Echuca region. My regular markets are Bendigo lambs, Swan Hill lambs and cattle, and Deniliquin lambs. I also fill in at the Horsham, Shepparton and Finley saleyards when needed.

What are some of the challenges or opportunities for livestock producers in your part of Australia right now?

This season is shaping as the biggest challenge after no autumn break and little winter rainfall to date. Aside from restricted feed for stock, surface water is becoming an issue in some areas as dams run dry. Irrigation water is also going to be limited and very expensive for farmers to purchase on a temporary basis. It raises questions about the supply of quality slaughter stock in the months ahead, and what will happen to numbers and the impact it will have on markets when it eventually does rain.

What’s a hot topic around the saleyards you cover at the moment?

Lamb is making all the headlines, with record prices recorded at all the centres I cover this July. I remember calling the lamb market "exceptional'' on the radio a few weeks back when carcase prices averaged over 700c/kg carcase weight. That has now paled behind the rates of 800c/kg plus being achieved.

What’s the best part about your job?

Seeing market dynamics on a daily basis as every sale is always a little bit different. Working outside, interacting with farmers and being able to see some of the best prime livestock in the country sold is also a big drawcard.

When you’re not at the saleyards, where would we find you?

Aside from NLRS work, I am also a livestock journalist for The Weekly Times newspaper based in southern Australia and regularly attend store markets as well as other industry events. I also have my own property, and twin girls Matilda and Eliza who keep me busy with gynmastics, swimming and horse riding. Gardening is also a passion, and we are lucky to have a big established garden to enjoy.

What’s your favourite red meat meal?

At the moment its slow cooked lamb shanks. In the summer it tends to be a simple steak cooked on the barbecue.

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