Carmen-Lee Campbell - NSW - SHEEP

A mountain of mutton weighed the national indicator down this week. However, the Victorian and South Australian markets are seeing an uptick in demand despite increased supply for lighter stock.

After a strong bounce in reaction to rainfall last week, the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) has finished the week at 457¢/kg cwt, a 30¢ decline week on week but an improvement of 19¢ Month on Month. ESTLI specification lamb throughput increased 15% week on week, which contributed to the fall.

The national restocker lamb indicator improved by 24¢ to finish at 345¢/kg cwt this week. Throughput of restockers nationally increased 15% to 33K head and demand was driven by the wetter Victorian and South Australian markets.

Victoria (403¢/kg cwt) and South Australia (396¢/kg cwt) also saw a 9¢ and 45¢ improvement respectively for light lambs but in NSW there was a steep price decline for light lambs(70¢ decline week on week). This saw the national light lamb indicator shed 30¢ to finish at 355¢/kg cwt.

This week on Mecardo, Angus Brown investigated the slaughter situation for lamb and sheep which has been running hot for this time of year. In the last few weeks, the increased slaughter activity has helped to steady the market and if the industry averages 400K lambs through the processors on a weekly basis, (which is not out of the question), then lamb slaughter could reach 23.8 million head which would be 900 000 head higher than the previous record in 2016.

Producers were not afraid this week to show mutton the door, with weekly saleyard throughput reaching 94,816 head, the most since mid-May this year. This was a 49% increase in yardings week on week and was largely driven by NSW. It resulted in a 57¢ decline in the National Mutton Indicator which sits at 117¢/kg cwt. IN NSW where supply pressure was strongest, the indicator lost $1.07/kg cwt week on week.

Next week

305 K head of sheep and lambs combined found its way to the saleyards this week, a week on week increase of 74%. Whilst the reentry of restocking demand in some parts has softened the impact of this supply, the feedbase engine will need more fuel in the form of rainfall to navigate the spring and summer ahead if yardings continue at this pace.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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