Plenty of variability in price and supply


A “definite transition away from old lambs” was noted in reports from major saleyards this week as new season lamb numbers continue to build. Competition fluctuated and the market was variable amidst a period of disrupted supply due to holidays and extremely wet conditions.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator ended the week slightly higher, up 2¢  to 737¢/kg cwt. It was a softer market in Victoria but improved week on week prices in both NSW and SA, pulled the indicator up. After hitting a low of 463¢ last week, the Western Trade Lamb Indicator jumped 76¢ higher to 539¢/kg cwt. Even with the improvement, WA lambs are trading at an abnormally large discount to SA.

The National Heavy Lamb Indicator moved lower over the week, down 18¢ to 749¢/kg cwt. Light lambs continued their climb, up 17¢ to 671¢/kg cwt. Merino lambs also trended 17¢ higher week on week. Despite a larger yarding of sheep, the National Mutton Indicator gained 22¢ over the week to finish at 501¢/kg cwt, driven by stronger demand in NSW.

The week ending the 23rd of October was a very short week with the National public holiday and footy final holiday which was reflected in the yardings figures. Just 98,070 lambs and 37,886 sheep were yarded over the week in the east. Early reports from the week just gone show national saleyard lamb throughput of 182,846 head.

Lamb slaughter held fairly strong considering the short week with 279,190 lambs processed. This was a 22% drop on the week prior.

As noted in these weeks cattle analysis, the AUD hit a low of 0.64 US¢ earlier this week, and while it has since returned 0.65, this will support export demand as supplies increase.

The week ahead….

As lamb volumes start to flow more intensely in SA there will be downward pressure on price. Last year it wasn’t until November that numbers really started to swell in Victoria and with another favourable season, we could see similar selling patterns emerge.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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