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New season processor lamb prices ease

15 October 2020

Key points:

  • Prices ease after sustained increases for young processor lambs
  • SA yardings increase but south-west Victoria’s remain subdued
  • Central west NSW yardings up 75% year-on-year following strong influx of new season lambs

On Wednesday 7 October, the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator averaged 827¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), 24¢/kg higher year-on-year. The heavy lamb indicator was reported at 812¢/kg cwt, up 12¢/kg on year-ago levels and the highest prices paid so far for 2020’s spring lamb crop. The steady rise in prices can be attributed to the excellent quality of new season lambs on offer and increasing volumes processed in Victoria, with lamb exports in September up 7% year-on-year at 22,000 tonnes shipped weight.

Eastern states saleyard prices for young processor lambs, however, have eased this week, opposing the upward trend since mid-August. For the week ending 9 October, processor lambs averaged $199/head, however, they have since declined $14 to average $185/head at 15 October. A larger volume of new season lambs have entered the market coming out of eastern parts of SA, after south-west Victoria yardings declined last week on the back of rainfall.

Central west NSW has been the standout region compared to previous years for young lamb throughput. From the beginning of August to date, processor young lamb throughput has increased by 75% on year-ago levels. Numbers have been largely sourced from Forbes and Cowra, with Carcoar and Dubbo reporting increased yardings. Wagga Wagga has sold the largest volume of new season processor lambs for 2020 to date, totalling 200,451 head, up 47% year-on-year for the same period.

With the majority of western Victoria new season lambs still anticipated to enter the market, current and historical throughput trends suggest an influx of lambs in eastern states saleyards in the coming weeks, placing further downward pressure on prices.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2020