Another splash of seasonal confidence

With parts of the east receiving rainfall totals in excess of 100mm this week, if producers weren’t already confident about pasture availability they should be now. Saleyard supply reports at major saleyards were mixed with some noting producers holding back in response to the cheaper market and others reporting bigger yardings were met with stronger demand.

After a few weeks of heavy price falls, the Eastern Trade Lamb Indicator gained 35¢ this week to 857¢/kg cwt. This pushed the ESTLI 85¢ higher than the same time last year. In Western Australia the market was also dearer. Trade lamb prices lifted just 2¢ while heavy lambs and merino lambs surged 68¢ and 86¢ respectively.

Competition for store lambs was strong in South Australia and Victoria. Light lambs picked up an extra 42¢ on the week in Victoria to 872¢/kg cwt, and 66¢ in South Australia to 963¢/kg cwt. The National Heavy Lamb Indicator increased by 32¢ to 853¢/kg cwt, nearly 100¢ higher than this time last year.

Plummeting sheep prices appear to have sent the message to producers to hold back stock. Reduced supply of sheep this week forced buyers to compete and drove the National Mutton Indicator up 46¢ to 596¢/kg cwt.

For the week ending the 5th of November, east coast lamb yardings fell 28% on the week prior. In NSW just 81,780 lambs were yarded which was over 40,000 less than the previous week. Sheep throughput also declined, with 19% fewer sheep yarded than the week prior.

There was a small uptick in lamb slaughter last week with 288,384 lambs processed. This was 2.5% more than the total of the week before but is still 9% lower than this time last year and 15% below seasonal average levels. 

The week ahead….

A rain event like this will slow down supply and slow down weight gain at a time when normally lambs are gaining at their fastest. More stubble feed will mean lambs can be held longer, but there’s no guarantee yet and we will be watching for some hot days once the rain clears to drive feed growth. 

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Data sources: MLA, NLRS, Mecardo

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