Rising lamb prices is one trend we’re very pleased to see, no matter how out of character for the time of year. Last week’s price leap provided a much-needed spur of confidence that continued into the market, aided by lower supply.

There was a clear straggler this week – Restocker Lambs. While all other categories of lamb found reasonably steady ground within a +15¢ to -5¢ change week on week, the National Restocker Lamb Indicator dropped 43¢/kg. After last week’s 140¢ lift, minimal restocking competition in NSW this week and plenty of young lambs on the heavier side saw the Restocker Indicator end at 696¢/kg cwt.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator gained 12¢ to end at 681¢/kg cwt. Trade lambs also made ground in the West, up 9¢ to 627¢/kg cwt. Heavy lambs also received good support with the National indicator making a 16 ¢ move in the right direction.

The National Mutton Indicator (NMI) ended Thursday just 6 ¢ lower than last weeks close. Mutton has been running its own race through the volatility of 2020. The NMI has been tracking slightly under last year’s prices since July and is currently 6% lower than the same time last year. However, in USD terms, Mutton is still just as expensive as it was a year ago. With monthly mutton export volumes well below last year, the limited supply on offer is enough to keep overseas customers bidding intently. 

East coast lamb and sheep throughput for the week ending the 28th of August made a steep drop from the week prior, down 19% and 17% respectively, with all states contributing to the reduced supply.  Slaughter levels kept pace with recent volumes though. Total lamb slaughter is tracking 6% under the five-year average.   

The week ahead….

The BOM is still forecasting wetter than average rainfall for the east coast in September. However, the outlook on the other side of the country, where rain is very much needed, doesn’t look as promising. Values holding at current levels is likely to encourage lambs at trade weight forward, although if the bounce proves short-lived, there is plenty of feed to keep lambs at home.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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