Nutrien Ag Solutions farm with sheep in a field grazing.

The excitement for the week occurred at Wagga saleyards with a record set on Thursday for the biggest offering of sheep and lambs in a single sale with a total yarding of 80,650. Wagga wasn’t the only busy saleyard though with national weekly throughput at the highest level this year.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) lost 41¢ over the week as supply returned and overwhelmed the market. The ESTLI settled at 763¢ at the end of week. In the West Trade Lambs found some strength, gaining 39¢ to 548¢ which is 184¢ or 25% below the same time last year.

The solid run of price increases also came to an end for heavy lambs this week with the national indicator losing 68¢ or 8% to 752¢/kg cwt. A large lift in throughput of restocker lambs drove prices lower in NSW and Vic, with the national indicator dropping 56¢ to 770¢/kg cwt.

Mutton also felt the pressure from a jump in throughput and a falling lamb market and the National Mutton Indicator lost 38¢ over the week to 468¢/kg cwt.

322,784 lambs were processed in the east in the week ending the 4th of November. This was a 10% drop on the week prior but the the extra kill space wasn’t taken up by sheep. 98,122 sheep were processed which was 19% lower than the week prior.

 Supply continues to be disrupted by the wet conditions with lambs delayed by 6-7 weeks. In some regions, lambs that were booked in late September are now just coming through. East coast lamb yardings last week lifted 6% on the week prior but was 19% below the five-year average.

This week the flooding in Forbes sent stock to the Wagga yards, which combined with delays from weather, public holidays and labour challenges led to the record throughput. Even the early yardings reports from this week show total sheep and lamb throughput for this week at an impressive 379,067 head. The second highest yarding this year came in at 295,189 in the middle of October so it’s no wonder the market was overwhelmed. 

The week ahead….

Looking at the flow for the spring flush of lambs, agents report that Bendigo is yet to reach its peak in lamb supply and is likely still a few weeks away. Ballarat will follow, two weeks or so behind. Strong numbers are now starting to come through Hamilton but this is unlikely to peak until December.

Rain on the forecast should hold lambs back in the south for a couple of weeks. Hopefully, this will prevent the saleyards from being oversupplied in the next few weeks.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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