The price rally continued, pushing most categories back to five-year seasonal average levels or slightly higher. Finished lambs have made a noteworthy climb in October and Mutton also found a boost this week.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) picked up an additional 8¢ over the week to end at 780¢/kg cwt. This is 120¢ or 13% lower than the same time last year. In WA Trade lambs improved this week, up 37¢ to 520¢/kg cwt, but remains settled within the low range that began in July. Trade lamb prices were fairly steady in Victoria and in SA, but competitive buying in NSW drove up the market.

The upward trend in Heavy Lamb prices continues, ending the week +8¢ to 792¢/kg cwt. Store lamb results were mixed, with light lambs up 35¢ in Vic, down 5¢ in SA and down 60¢ in NSW. SA light lambs are the most expensive in the country averaging 904¢/kg cwt this week. Merino lambs also gained 36¢ to 664¢/kg cwt. Restocker lambs in Victoria were well sort after, gaining 69¢ to 781¢/kg cwt, while NSW resotcker lambs are still sitting at a premium at 810¢/kg cwt.

The National Mutton Indicator picked up 36¢ to 515¢/kg cwt.

In eastern states, the week ending the 14th of October saw a 68% jump in lamb yardings compared to the week prior. This was driven by a big lift in NSW but all states except for Tasmania saw throughput increase. 77,815 sheep were yarded across the country last week. The last time we saw the number of sheep coming through yards at this level was back in February, but throughput still remains well below average levels.

Early saleyard reports this week suggest that yardings remained relatively strong considering the flooding in Victoria and Southern NSW.

Slaughter rates also lifted last week with 356,923 lambs and 110,968 sheep processed in the east.  Mutton has been cheap relative to recent history, and with the low AUD making it look even more attractive to overseas buyers, we can see the incentive for processors to slaughter what they can.

The week ahead….

The week ahead is still looking like another very wet one across the east according to the BOM outlook. This may keep the market simmering along at near current levels until we see enough stock come through to send prices significantly lower.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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