It was no surprise that saleyard throughput would scale back, given the dissatisfactory price levels for sellers and the rain that fell across the country this week. A welcome pricing bounce has materialized across all categories, propelling most price indicators toward levels reminiscent of the end of May.

In NSW and Victoria, trade lamb prices jumped 51¢, and 65¢ respectively over the week. Victorian trade lambs continue to sit at a premium to NSW, with almost a 40¢ difference between the two states. The trade lamb indicator in WA also jumped 67¢ to 460¢. Nationally heavy lambs gained 23¢ over the week to 625¢/kg cwt, which is 42¢ lower than month-ago levels. 

The National Restocker Lamb Indicator gained 46¢ over the week to 441¢/kg cwt, however, it is yet to make up the decline from the last few two weeks.  Light lambs were the category that saw the biggest week-on-week improvement, with Hamilton and Ballarat seeing strong results. The National light lamb indicator lifted 85¢ on the week to 498¢/kg cwt. A similar lift in Merino lamb prices pushed the National Merino Lamb Indicator 12¢ higher than it was a month ago.

Mutton prices ended this week at the higher end of the recent range it’s been trading. At 387¢/kg cwt, the National Mutton Indicator lifted 22¢ over the week and is 28¢ higher than a month ago.

Combined lamb and sheep slaughter fell slightly in the week ending the 2nd of June, however, it remains above the historic range for this time of the season. Saleyard throughput also dropped 9% for lambs and 5% for sheep week over the week ending the 2nd of June. Early yardings reports for this week are however showing a decline in supply across all categories of lamb and sheep.

Next week

The past week delivered over 20mm of rain to many parts of central and west NSW, eastern SA, as well as much of Victoria and southeast WA which will improve the feed outlook and provide a needed boost to confidence, and hopefully store lamb prices. 

On the downside, the BOM has shifted its ENSO outlook to El Niño ALERT. This means that while the ENSO is currently neutral, there is approximately a 70% chance of El Niño forming in 2023.

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Data sources: MLA,  Bureau of Meteorology, Mecardo

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