Lamb buyers take all options

The eastern states trade lamb indicator reached 950¢/kg cwt on Tuesday, as supply reached the lowest levels since September 2018.

Eastern states lamb indicators have continued to strengthen, with little indication a slowdown is imminent. Lamb yardings last week fell to their lowest point since the first week of September 2018, which, unsurprisingly, was the week the eastern states trade lamb indicator (ESTLI) reached its 2018 peak.

With prices running so high, buyers have been looking at all options, driving all categories higher. The Merino lamb indicator reached 869¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) on Tuesday, with a new price record for NLRS-reported saleyards at Dubbo on Monday at $307/head for heavy Merino lambs, the first time Merino prices have reached the $300/head mark. Dorper lambs have also hit new highs, reaching $300/head at TRLX Tamworth, also on Monday.

Light lambs are also seeing sharp increases, with national restocker lambs on Tuesday (0-18kg cwt) increasing 98¢ on the previous week. Interestingly, despite NSW not seeing any rain of note over the last week, they have been the main state driving the increase, reaching 925¢/kg cwt, while SA (850¢/kg cwt), Victoria (831¢/kg cwt) and WA (678¢/kg cwt) tracked lower.

National lamb yardings have been on the slide for the last month with weekly yardings down 32% from a month ago. SA, Tasmania and WA, in particular, are having difficulties filling saleyards, with weekly throughput down over 60% across the aforementioned states compared to last month.

Mutton prices remain very strong. The national mutton indicator continues to be reported over 600¢/kg cwt, currently at 605¢/kg on Tuesday. NSW is averaging the highest mutton prices at 616¢/kg cwt, while SA (541¢/kg cwt) and WA (550¢/kg cwt) are averaging slightly lower.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2019

More information

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