Sheep in field

Yards felt busy last week according to those on the ground and combined with the stronger market was very encouraging. Now we have the numbers to back up that yards in NSW were indeed jam-packed with lambs, and with prices again edging higher it looks like buyer appetite has returned.

On the east coast, lamb yardings lifted 28% last week to see 206,267 head pass through the yards. The last time we saw lamb throughput this high was back in March. And the lift, well it was from New South Wales where over 150K lambs were yarded. This was 48% higher than the five-year average for this time in the year.

On the processing front, extra sheep replaced fewer lambs to keep total east coast slaughter for the week ending the 18th of September just slightly under the week prior. Despite the lift in sheep slaughter, numbers were still 34% under the five-year average for the week. The number of lambs slaughtered on the east coast however, was just 3% off the average levels for this time in the season.  Processing in Victoria increased to the highest levels we’ve seen under the Covid-19 capacity restrictions. Despite these increases the number of sheep and lambs processed was still 16% below the levels of this time last year.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator pushed up a further 21¢ to 732¢/kg cwt. The broadly stronger market was also felt in WA where Trade Lambs were 13¢ dearer on the week at 592¢/kg cwt. Export buyers were jumping at the rail according to Meat & Livestock Australia LMO’s this week. A 3% drop in the Aussie dollar no doubt playing its part. The invigorated buying appetite saw Heavy Lambs gain 15¢ to 693¢/kg cwt.

All National indicators were in the range of 10 to 20¢ improved on the week prior. Mutton was no exception, rising 19¢ to 531¢/kg cwt, which is just 1¢ under year-ago levels.

The week ahead….

All eyes and ears will be on Daniel Andrews this Sunday to find out the fate of restrictions on processing in Victoria and whether they will be lifted, eased or continued through Victoria’s Spring Flush. The drop in the AUD is promising for our export markets and combined with the recent dump of rain in the east, holds promise for price.

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Data sources: MLA, Mecardo

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