sheep and lambs in yard

Another wet week in the east was met with continued strength in lamb and sheep markets. Lamb numbers in the south are driving higher, and light lambs and Merino’s suffered in this weeks market, however, added interest from processors helped to support the finished lamb market.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) improved 11¢ over the week to 868¢/kg cwt. In the West, the Western Australian Trade Lamb Indicator (WATLI) dropped 14¢ to 717¢/kg cwt. Reports that processors were more active with saleyard purchases was reflected in stronger finished lamb prices. The National Heavy Lamb Indicator lifted 20¢ to 874¢/kg cwt. 

Southern lamb supplies are increasing and this resulted in store lambs coming under most pressure this week. In South Australia, light lambs plummeted 252¢ over the week to 711¢/kg cwt and restocker lambs dropped 184¢ to 810¢/kg cwt. Over the border in Victoria light lamb prices softened as well, but just 15¢ to 850¢/kg cwt, however restocker prices gained 18¢. Merino lambs also ended weaker, with the indicator falling 40¢ in NSW and 127¢ in Victoria.

Mutton continued its upward trajectory with the National Mutton Indicator gaining 18¢ to 615¢/kg cwt.

Lamb numbers surged in Victorian yards last week, lifting 63% on the week prior. Throughput at Hamilton spiked to over 20,000 head last week, and has continued to increase this week with over 40,000 head yarded. Overall, east coast lamb yardings lifted 21% last week compared to the week earlier. 186,214 lambs yarded were yarded in the east which was just 2% below the same time last year.

Sheep yardings fell significantly in Victoria which offset a rise in South Australia and Western Australia. Sheep supply at saleyards continues to trail well below the levels of last year, but it has been tighter, with the last time being in 2016.

For the first time in over a month, lamb slaughter lifted considerably (12.6%). 324,666 lambs were processed last week which is the largest weeks total since August. Despite the lift, the number of lambs slaughtered was still 7% below the same time last year and 13% below average. 

The week ahead….

Not many paddocks received the chance to dry out last week and for the east coast, there is still a good chance of another wet week ahead according to the BOM forecast. More pressure will come with growing lamb supply out of south east SA and western Vic, but with the amount of feed about, this market should be well supported at historically strong levels.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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