Back to Prices & Markets

Related topics

Subscribe to Prices & Markets e-newsletter

For in-depth red meat market news, information and analysis.


Processors compete heavily for lambs

27 May 2021

Key points:

  • Processors heavily supported lamb sales across multiple saleyards this week.
  • There was strong demand for light feeder lambs at Hamilton, with buyers increasing the utilisation of grain finishing lambs in their production systems, including backgrounding operations.
  • Favourable seasons should aid an uptick in heavy lamb supply over the spring flush period by elevating lambing percentages and rearing ability.

Saleyard insights for this week are:


  • Processors bought 68% of the 11,422 lambs yarded, a 26.6% increase in purchases week-on-week.
  • These lambs averaged 26.5kg and fell 26¢ to finish at 802¢/kg cwt on the back of the increased yarding.

CVLX Ballarat

  • Lower supply drove prices higher across all reported categories this week.
  • Processor lamb supply fell 8%, which saw the price lift 40¢ to average 832¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), increasing 5% week-on-week.
  • In the mutton market, Merino ewes lifted by 30¢ to average 700¢/kg cwt, as supply also lifted 944 head week-on-week, or a 33% increase.


  • A decline of 1,334 head of feeder weight lambs averaging 18.9kg saw prices increase by 55¢, or 6% week-on-week, to finish at 848¢/kg cwt.
  • Buyer utilisation of backgrounding and finishing lambs on grain continues, with grain readily available following the 2020 harvest.

Looking to spring 2021

This year, there are key factors that will support a significant increase in the number of new season lambs hitting the market in the traditional spring flush period at heavier average weights. These include:

  • a high number of ewes and ewe lambs joined
  • forecast milder-than-average conditions for the lambing period, lowering mortality rates
  • quality bodies of feed support ewe milk production for strong lamb growth and weight gains
  • a market outlook driving industry confidence following economic improvements across key domestic and export markets.

Over-conditioned females lambing down will challenge producers across regions with significant bodies of feed. Management of this will be critical to ensure lambing percentages are maximised during the forecast milder winter temperatures.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2021