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Price rise lifts heavy lamb supply

03 September 2020

Key points:

  • Influx of heavy lambs hit the market
  • New South Wales the major driver of higher yardings of heavy lambs
  • Victoria lamb over-the-hook prices jump 25¢/kg cwt this week

Heavy lamb prices lifted last week on the back of stronger domestic competition, with reports of high-quality new season lambs entering the market. On Tuesday 1 September, the eastern states heavy lamb indicator (22-30kg) was reported at 646¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), up 42¢ on the week prior.

East-states-heavy-lamb-ind-030920.png

Last week, the National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) reported increased yardings of heavy processor lambs at Wagga Wagga, up 45% on the week prior to 9,667 head, while Griffith increased 37% to 5,921 head. Further north, Forbes reported a 41% increase in yardings to 7,889 head.

Over-the-hook quotes in Victoria this week underpinned improved saleyard prices, with 24–26kg lambs averaging 665¢/kg, up 25¢ from the previous week, while lambs over 26kg averaged 680¢/kg cwt, consistent week-on-week.

Processors have steadily increased throughput in August to accommodate for larger volumes of lambs entering the market despite COVID-19 pressures. For the week ending 28 August, eastern states lamb slaughter was reported at 295,847 head, up 1% from the previous week and 3% higher year-on-year. Processors in Victoria are relying on New South Wales supply, with the anticipated Victorian spring flush a few weeks away. For the week ending 1 September, 85% of lambs contributing to the heavy lamb indicator were yarded in New South Wales, with 14% coming out of Victoria. Processors will be looking to increase capacity in the coming weeks as available lamb supply starts to increase.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2020