Heavy lambs hold under a pressured market

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Numbers fell away this week, mainly due to flooded areas in NSW and Victoria unable to be accessed. It wasn’t enough to stop the downward price trend for most categories of lamb and sheep though, with only heavy and light lambs breaking away to improve week on week

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) lost 21¢ over the week to settle at 742¢/kg cwt. In the West, trade lambs gained 32¢ back to 580¢/kg cwt. NLRS reports from some of the major yards noted that quality was a major driver, with plainer types losing most value.

Strong demand for heavy lambs was visible, with the National indicator lifting 33¢ on the week to 785¢/kg cwt, 87¢ or 10% below the same time last year. Restocker lamb results were lacklustre, with prices falling 27¢ to to 742¢/kg cwt, 214¢ or 22% below the same time last year. The National Mutton Indicator ended the week 23¢ lower at 444¢.

The Australian dollar has made considerable gains in the last month, rising from 62USc in mid October to 67USc this week. If we look at the ESTLI in US dollar terms, it’s sitting at 496¢. This isn’t the highest it’s been in the last few months, but is towards the top of the recent trading range. 

We knew last week’s throughput figures were going to be big, but a week on week lift in lamb yardings by over 100,000 head (+58%) is nothing short of impressive. 279,546 lambs were yarded nationally. This was just 20,000 lambs below last years peak in mid December. For sheep it was also the biggest week of throughput since December 2021. 112,533 sheep were yarded in total which was a 88% lift on the week prior.

The challenges with transporting stock didn’t stop them from getting to processors last week at least. East coast lamb slaughter last week was 11% higher than the same week last year, and 1% above the five year seasonal average.

The week ahead….

Transporting stock is likely to remain a supply limiting factor in many regions in the week ahead. The strength In the heavy lamb market should help add some support to store lambs at these levels, but as we reported earlier in the week there’s not a lot of confidence there.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

Photo Credit: Stefanie Roeske “Mothers day Kondoolka Station”

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