Sheep in pen closeup

It was a disappointing week on multiple fronts for our friends in Victoria. A cheaper market from the get-go set the tone for the week, with large price falls in the south. Not all the usual buyers have been active in the market and the slaughter numbers are reflecting reduced processor activity.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) drove back to its recent bottom, ending this week at 514¢/kg cwt after dropping 6%. The ESTLI is currently 32% or 238¢ below the same time last year. This week’s fall was driven by a much cheaper market in Victoria, where trade lambs were 81¢ cheaper week on week. In the West, trade lambs bucked the trend pushing 40¢ higher to 536¢/kg cwt.

Heavy lamb prices fell in all states this week, driving the national indicator to a new low for the year down 32¢ on last week to 512¢/kg cwt. Saleyard reports in NSW noted some good numbers and quality of trade and heavyweight lambs.

Light lambs returned to the lows of late June, losing 63¢ this week to end at 389¢/kg cwt. This Is down 40% or 258¢ year on year. The National Merino Lamb Indicator dropped 36¢ over the week to 397¢/kg cwt, which is 214¢ or 35% lower than the same time last year.

Mutton has held reasonably steady over the last two weeks. The National Mutton Indicator fell just 4¢ over the week to 333¢/kg cwt, sitting at the same level as a month ago.

Not all processors have been operating at saleyards with some running winter maintenance. The slaughter figures illustrate this with total sheep and lamb slaughter nationally for the week ending the 14th of July almost 145,000 head lighter than the fortnight prior. However even with the decline, slaughter rates are maintaining above average levels for this point in the season. A drop in mutton slaughter in all states has been the main driver over the past few weeks, but lamb slaughter numbers have also dropped slightly in Victoria.

Saleyard throughput continued to climb for both sheep and lambs this week. NSW saw a large lift in both lamb and sheep yardings which pressured the market. However, lamb and sheep throughput numbers in the east over the last four weeks have been below average levels.

The week ahead….

This point of the year typically marks the low for slaughter, with weekly volumes climbing from here. Last year we saw the tail end of old lamb supply dry up around now, with a few weeks’ relief before early new season supply started trickling in. There should be some price support in August if the same trend occurs.

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!
Print This Post

Click on graph to expand

Click on graph to expand

Click on graph to expand

Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

Make decisions with confidence- ask about our board packs, bespoke forecasting and risk management services

Have any questions or comments?

We love to hear from you!

Mutton mounts a comeback

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

Read More »

The Endless (Supply) Summer

Despite another drop in throughput, the lamb and sheep market this week was showing signs of supply fatigue in what has been a red-hot start

Read More »

More lambs to come?

The market in 2023 provided processors an opportunity to make the most of young light lamb supply at the yards to sell to the Middle

Read More »

Want market insights delivered straight to your inbox?

Sign up to the mailing list to get regular updates to new analysis and market outlooks

Independent analysis and outlook for wool, livestock and grain markets delivered to you as it’s published

Commodity conversations podcast cover image, a illustration of a sheep standing on a cow's back with grain either side
Listen to the podcast

Join the Mecardo team for the Commodity Conversations podcast, where we provide short weekly market recaps and longer conversations with guests to discuss the drivers and trends in livestock, grain and fibre markets.

Photo of a farmer surrounded by Merino sheep in dusty yards
Research: Analysis of the Australian sheep flock

In this report for LiveCorp and MLA, we analysed the historical trends in the demographics of the Australian sheep flock, examining domestic factors that influence farm-level enterprise decision making. 

Image of harvested grain pouring into a chaser bin

We don’t just bring you the most up to date market insights. Find out more about Mecardo’s services including risk management advisory, modelling, benchmarking, research & consultancy.