Producers were motivated to get stock off the paddock and to the yards. Last week 167,271 lambs were yarded in the east, which was a 10% lift on the week prior. All states contributed to the lift which saw 14% more lambs yarded than we typically see at this time of the year. In Western Australia lamb yardings also increased, by around 25%, but remain below average levels. Sheep supply also surged in the east 36% higher than the week earlier, to see 52,077 sheep yarded in the east.
There was another decline in slaughter numbers though. Total lamb slaughter dropped 9% on the week prior to see 307,288 head processed. Lamb slaughter rates continue to track above the five year seasonal average. Sheep slaughter slipped just 3% on the week prior.
The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator dropped 16ȼ on the week to 929ȼ/kg cwt. In the West, trade lambs slipped 1ȼ to 743ȼ/kg cwt. Merino lambs were the only National Indicator to improve on the week prior, gaining just 1ȼ. In both NSW and Vic Merino lambs are currently trading at around 830ȼ/kg cwt, while in SA they are at 878ȼ/kg cwt.
The National Heavy Lamb Indicator dropped 23ȼ over the week to 945ȼ/kg cwt but remains 300ȼ higher than the same time last year. There is just a 45ȼ difference on a carcase weight basis between the National Heavy Lamb Indicator and Restocker Lamb Indicator, which is currently sitting at 995ȼ/kg cwt and 290ȼ higher than 12 months ago.
Tasmania is holding the title of most expensive mutton in Australia, with the Tassie indicator at 715ȼ/kg cwt, while the National Mutton Indicator is holding relatively steady at 673ȼ/kg cwt.
The week ahead….
We typically see a rapid fall from the price peak which then becomes more gradual as we move through spring. This hasn’t been the case so far this season, and with radars pointing to a wet week ahead across much of the east, and south west WA, we might not see the plunge that we’re used to.