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A mixed week of results for lamb and sheep markets with the majority of indicators making slight gains. Yardings fell 24% on the previous week as the supply side continues to lose momentum after weeks at an elevated level. Slaughter figures are still near all-time highs as processors deal with increased supply.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) finished the week slightly behind the previous one, declining 2% (17 c/kg) to average 623 c/kg for the week. This is despite a more significant drop in yardings, down 18% (7.3k head). Wagga and Ballarat had the biggest contribution to the indicator, 22% and 17% respectively. With identical prices averaged for both sales of 629c/kg.

The National Mutton Indicator (NMI) rose this week, helped by a 47% decrease in yardings on the previous week. The NMI closed the week averaging 250 c/kg, up 18% on the previous week. There was quite a spread in results from top contributing saleyards for the week. Dubbo, which contributed 18% to the NMI, averaged 13% below the indicator at 216 c/kg. Whilst Wagga, the second largest contributor of 13%, averaged 37% above the indicator at 341 c/kg.

The Restocker Lamb indicator fell 8% (42c/kg) closing the week at 514 c/kg, despite a significant drop in yardings (47%). Ballarat was the largest contributor, its saleyard report talks to the usual buying group not in full attendance and some processors absent.

The Merino lamb indicator had the strongest performance week on week in a dollar sense, closing the week up 11% or 53 c/kg, pushing the indicator back above the 500 c/kg level to 539 c/kg. The South Australian livestock exchange averaged the top price of 633 c/kg for the indicator and helped lift the indicator with its 19% contribution. Its saleyard report talks of an additional buyer present, helping increase the competition.

Yardings for the week were significantly down on the previous week, continuing the fall from recent elevated levels. Initial data from the MLA indicate a decrease of 24% (99k head) for total lamb and sheep yardings for the week. Slaughter levels for the previous week remain near all-time highs, but were back 2% on the previous week.

Next week

The decrease in yardings seen in the last few weeks should start to bring some price upside provided demand remains consistent. However, this week some saleyard reports talk of decreased activity at the rail and some absences of buyers, which if continued will see further downside in price as demand also shifts with supply.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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