Cheaper market amidst scattered supply

Weather and Covid are playing havoc with lamb supply. We know new season lambs In Victoria are behind schedule and awaiting some warm, dry days to finish in many areas. They didn’t find it this week, but reports of extra supply of trade and store lambs depressed prices.

Meat & Livestock Australia yardings and slaughter figures lag by a week but show that east coast lamb yardings dropped 28% last week to see just 128,095 head yarded. Numbers were lighter in NSW, SA and Victoria. Sheep throughput also plummeted last week, dropping 39% on the week prior. Saleyard reports out of Victoria this week indicate lamb supply more than doubled in Bendigo and Ballarat.

After a spike at the end of September, lamb slaughter dropped 15% last week, returning to levels of a fortnight ago. Slaughter levels in Victoria continue to track well below average and last year’s levels, while NSW is processing more lambs than average for this time of the year. Last week, the total number of sheep and lamb processed in Victoria was 23% below the same time last year.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator declined 48ȼ on the week, to close at 891ȼ/kg cwt. The market was generally stronger in Western Australia. The Western Australian Trade Lamb Indicator gained 14ȼ to 748ȼ/kg cwt.

National Indicators dropped quickly across all types. Heavy lambs lost 40ȼ, Restocker lambs 52ȼ and Merino lambs 58ȼ. Light lambs were the best off, but still dropped 15ȼ.

The National Mutton Indicator (NMI) was swept into the falling market. The NMI dropped 32ȼ to 589ȼ/kg cwt. For the first time since June, the National Mutton Indicator is below levels of the same time last year.

The week ahead….

For the remainder of the year, lamb supply is expected to be just slightly higher than last year. With more rain on the ground, this week restockers should continue to support the market. What we do know for certain is that growers who sell their lambs in October have never had it so good.

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Data sources: MLA, NLRS, Mecardo

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