Easter Bunny brings the chocolates for restockers

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Widespread rain across the East coast has bolstered buyers' confidence in the market, causing a surge in demand and a lift in prices across the indicators. The Easter break has seen disruptions to sales due to public holidays, but during this 4-day selling week, there was an increase in yardings on the previous week’s 4-day selling week of 24%.

The Restocker lamb indicator had the most significant increase for the lamb and sheep indicators, lifting 24% (119 c/kg) to finish the week at 604 c/kg. The improvement week on week was driven by strong results at Ballarat and Hamilton, which accounted for over half the indicator. Ballarat contributed 36% and Hamilton 21% of the stock to the indicator and both averaged 8% above the indicator. Demand for restocker lambs was dominated by the feeder buyers, who bought more than double the amount of restockers buyers.

The National Mutton Indicator continued its upward trend, finishing the week up 18% (43 c/kg) to 284 c/kg. The price increase was despite a significant increase in supply, with total yardings for the indicator rising 41% week on week. Wagga had the largest contribution to the indicator and the highest price average. It contributed 36% at an average of 325 c/kg 14% above the national indicator. Its Saleyard report mentions the “majority of buyers in attendance, all actively engaging” motivated by the anticipation of more rain to come.

Heavy lambs saw a slight 1% (7 c/kg) finishing the week at 663 c/kg, Yardings were up 85% (13.7k head) mainly due to Wagga resuming their sale, after having the prior week off for the Easter break. Ballarat and Wagga saleyard reports both talk of the top of the heavy lamb market fetching $250 a head.

Slaughter figures for the week prior were down by 11% on the week before that, with one less day of operating due to the Good Friday long weekend. For the prior week, the total of lambs slaughtered on the east coast was 391k head, which was down by 13% on the week before, but still 15% above the 5-year average, and 18% above that week the year before.

In the West, prices for trade lambs didn’t follow the trend of the East coast, but it is important to note that one of the two sale yards for the WSTLI did not operate due to the Easter break, The West didn’t receive any rain as well, which drove the price improvements in the East. 

Next week

Back into a full selling week after two weeks of public holidays disrupting some sales will see an uptick in yardings across the nation. Recent and forecasted rain will continue to renew the confidence of the market and ensure the demand remains strong as some producers will look to cash in on recent price rises following the slide that’s occurred through February and March.

Click on graph to expand

Click on graph to expand

Data sources: BOM, MLA, Mecardo

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