The lamb and sheep markets were back in full swing following last week's shorter selling week. Most notable were the buyers, pushing prices up across every indicator. Yardings also increased drastically and are still at heightened levels when looking at the medium-term average. Slaughter levels continue to stay elevated as processors try to keep up with demand as the roast season begins.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) closed the week up 2% (14c/kg) on the week prior, reaching 686 c/kg cwt. Yardings more than doubled on the week before by 113%! Wagga dominated the indicator with the largest contribution of 27% and the 4th highest average price of 699 c/kg. Corowa had the highest average of all the saleyards for the indicator, averaging 8% above the indicator at 744 c/kg.

The National Mutton Indicator continued its rebuild back toward the 300c/kg mark. It finished the selling week up 7% (18 c/kg) to 256 c/kg. Supply from the paddock was up 57% to a total of 51.8k head. Again, Wagga has the largest contribution to the indicator after last week when no sale occurred. The Wagge saleyard report mentioned that not all buyers were present or participating in the mutton market. Despite this, it averaged 8% above the indicator at 276 c/kg.

Restocker lamb prices increased 17% (73 c/kg) which pushed the indicator back over the 500c/kg mark finishing the week at 506c/kg. Yardings were up 76% to a total of 22.4k head. Muchea in the west has the second-highest contribution to the indicator regarding headcount, making up 13.6% of the total. The price however was considerably discounted compared to those on the east coast. Muchea averaged 290 c/kg for the indicator was 43% below the indicator and 56% cheaper than Wagga which had the largest volume contribution.

Slaughter figures for last week were down week on week due to one less day of operation in abattoirs with the ANZAC day public holiday. Slaughter levels are still operating at elevated levels, with east coast lamb slaughter for last week up 22% on the 5-year average for that week. Sheep levels are even higher in a relative sense with the East Coast slaughter volume up 75% on the 5-year average for the same week.   

Next week

A decent amount of rain is forecasted for NSW and all other states and territories expecting light falls in parts. This will be welcome news to growers, especially those with mixed operations sowing a winter crop. Supply which is still at heightened levels compared to the average should start to slow down as the lamb season begins to wind up. This tightening of supply should see finished lamb prices improve.

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Data sources: MLA, BOM, Refinitiv, Mecardo

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