Market grapples with turbulent supply

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The cold and wet conditions continue to show in the quality and numbers of lambs on the market. However, competition for heavy lambs remains strong as supply is limited by the conditions.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator gained 16¢ over the week to settle at 759¢/kg cwt. In the west, trade lambs ended just 3¢ lower than the week prior at 576¢/kg cwt.

Restocker lamb prices were driven down but it didn’t come from an increase in supply with young lamb throughput lower than the week prior.  The National Restocker Lamb Indicator lost 39¢ over the week to 703¢/kg cwt. Restockers are looking very cheap compared to finished lamb values.

Merino lambs moved the other way, gaining 38¢ to 608¢/kg cwt. There were also solid improvements in heavy lamb prices, with the national indicator lifting 30¢ over the week to 816¢/kg cwt. The Heavy lamb indicator is currently 49¢ below the same time last year.

The mutton market was a mixed bag of price movements which narrowed the gap between states. In Victoria mutton lost 15¢ over the week to 479¢ while in NSW prices rebound 42¢ from last weeks low to end at 466¢/kg cwt.

Last week we saw lamb slaughter drop just 1% from the week prior. With over 350K lambs processed this was 5% more than the same week last year and close to seasonal average levels. An increase in sheep slaughter took up some of the kill space with a 6% lift on the week prior. 15% more sheep were processed last week than the corresponding week in 2021. 

After the surge of a fortnight ago, lamb and sheep throughput was significantly lower last week. Combined sheep and lamb yardings were 28% lower than the same week last year. Both NSW and Victoria were behind the light saleyard volumes. Early reports from this week are already showing much stronger lamb throughput with more store lambs pushed onto the market.

The week ahead….

Parts of NSW and Vic got a bit more sun on the sheeps back this week, however the forecast for the week ahead is showing a 50% chance of widespread rain over the eastern halves of NSW and Vic, and all of Tasmania. As reported in this weeks analysis it seems to be all feed, fodder and floods driving marketing decisions from here. 

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

Photo Credit: Megen Wrigglesworth

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