Sheep packed into loading pen on a farm with dark clouds above

Week-on-week yardings for the indicators surged with all saleyards in operation following last week’s long weekend. Prices fell across the board, off the back of stronger supply.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) fell slightly by 1% (9 c/kg) to finish the week at 734 c/kg. Yardings were up 21% to 33.1k head which put downward pressure on prices, despite this pressure, demand remained relatively strong. Driving the demand was an increase in quality, with multiple saleyard reports mentioning improved quality across the pens this week.

The National Mutton indicator won both movement records week on week out of all the indicators. Its price fell the most, down 11% to 340 c/kg and it had the largest increase in throughput, up 43% to a total of 66.2k head. Wagga, Ballarat and Dubbo had the 3 largest contributions, all with over 10k head. Ballarat has the highest price across all the saleyards, averaging 13% above the indicator at 382 c/kg.

Heavy Lamb indicator, was one of two indicators to rise week on week, finishing the week at 720 c/kg, 1% higher than last week. Saleyard reports from centres with large contributions all speak to increased demand for higher quality, heavier lambs. The increase in demand from the buying field countered the large downward pressure from the surge in supply.

The other indicator to gain week on week was the WA Trade Lamb indicator, it closed the week at 551 c/kg. Yardings for the indicator bucked the trend of all the others and fell by 35% week on week.

Slaughter volumes for the week prior fell week on week as expected with the public holidays seeing one less day of operation for processors. As a result, East Coast slaughter for lamb and sheep was down 22%. Despite the drop week on week, when looking at the 5-year average and last year for the same week this year remains elevated.

Yardings surged this week, up 44% in total to over 300k. Lambs had the larger increase week on week of 66%, whilst sheep had a more modest 13%. This week’s yardings for sheep and lambs nationally is 36% above the 5-year average and 19% higher than for the same week last year. This is abnormal for the winter months as traditionally, yardings fall away due to less stock ready for sale as well as producers opting for over the hook sales for some more price security. 

The week ahead….

Week on week expect to see yardings fall following this week’s significant increase, which provided the quality remains constant should apply positive pressure on price. Slaughter volumes will lift with a full week of operation compared to last week. There is some rain forecasted for southern WA and Victoria, but it’s more around the 5-10mm which will be welcomed, but not major in shifting market conditions.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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