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Prices rose for all bar one of the lamb and Sheep indicators this week, in what was a short selling week due to a public holiday for the honorary birthday of the King. Yardings fell away week on week and back towards the medium-term average. Southern parts of the east and west coast got another decent amount of rain through the week. Elevated levels of slaughter continue.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator rose slightly by 1% (9 c/kg) to 723 c/kg. Yardings for the indicator were down week on week by 13%. Wagga had the largest contribution to the indicator, with 36% of the volume. It averaged 762 c/kg, 5% above the indicator with the saleyard report mentioning domestic buyers and niche butchers being active at the rail which helped support prices.

In the West, the WA Trade Lamb Indicator rose 2% to 544 c/kg reducing the discount to the east to 25%. Yardings skyrocketed this week compared to last, as the previous week had subdued activity with the Western Australia Day long weekend.

National Mutton Indicator had the largest increase week on week of any indicator in terms of value, up 8% (29c/kg) to 382 c/kg. Finally, out of the red year-on-year, the last of the indicators to do so. Strong buyer demand drove the price rise as yardings were also up for the week. Multiple Saleyard reports mention regular buyers re-entering the market and being active at the rail.

The Merino indicator rose 4% (23 c/kg) this week, building on its recent rise since the start of June. Headcount for the indicator was up 2% for the selling week despite some saleyards not operating. Wagga had the largest contribution to the indicator regarding volume as well as having the highest average selling price of any of the saleyards. It contributed 42% of the indicator and averaged 11% above the national average on price.

Restocker lambs crept higher, closing the week up 1% (9 c/kg) to an average of 610 c/kg. Yardings were back week on week by 6% (1.4k head). There was a change in the buying group with feeders buying 11% more volume and overtaking the restockers as the largest buying group for the week.

National slaughter levels for the prior week of lamb and sheep fell slightly to the week before that. For East Coast lamb slaughter compared to the same time last year, it was up 23% and is 31% above the 5-year average. In the West lamb slaughter is following a similar trend, just not to the same extent. Its Year-on-year increase is 7% whilst on the 5-year average it’s up 19%.

Next week

The resumption of a full selling week should see an increase in yardings as all sale yards are operating. Producers will be hoping the renewed competition from buyers continues and the indicators can keep climbing. Processors continue to deal with the large volume of supply operating at elevated levels.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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