Nutrien Ag Solutions farm with sheep in a field grazing.

Lamb and sheep markets experienced a generous lift this week as competition fired up at saleyards and quality generally seemed improved. Prices aren’t quite back where they were four weeks ago, but buyers are certainly seeing opportunity at these levels.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator jumped 56¢ or 8% on the week to 745¢/kg cwt. In the West, trade lambs also improved, up 33¢ to 514¢/kg cwt. The store lamb market in NSW continues to improve.  Restocker lambs in NSW were stronger again this week, lifting 106¢ or 17% to 747¢/kg cwt. Merino lambs gained 112¢ to 676¢ in NSW, while the indicator in Victoria is sitting slightly lower at 661¢/kg cwt.

Mutton prices also improved with the lamb market movement. The National Mutton Indicator bumped up 58¢ to 552¢/kg cwt.

Lamb slaughter lifted 8% in the east last week with over 350k lambs processed. This was 13% above the five year seasonal average level. Weekly sheep slaughter is tracking at close to levels of this time last year but remains down on five-year average levels as the season and outlook encourage producers to hang onto anything of breeding value.

Throughput at saleyards was well down last week though, which initiated the turnaround in price. East coast lamb yardings were 23% lower than the week prior, and down 33% on the seasonal average. Sheep throughput also dropped 18% on the week.

The week ahead….

The next week looks likely to be a wet one for southern parts of the country based on the Bureau of Meterology forecast. Looking further out to Spring and a strong chance of above median rainfall is covering eastern Australia, with lower likelihood for Tasmania and Western Australia.

A wet spring in key southern lamb areas would be likely to keep back some of the supply of store lambs and add to the supply of finished lambs down the track.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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