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What happened in the markets this week?

17 June 2021

Key points:

  • Australian Whites achieve a new online sheep record, selling for $988/head on Tuesday
  • Continued rain in WA has driven restocker lamb prices up 18%, or 113¢/kg, since the end of May
  • Eastern states’ weekly cattle slaughter is at its lowest June level in three years.

Public holidays

The Queen’s birthday public holiday fell on 14 June for all states except WA and Queensland. This meant a number of saleyards were shut on Monday.

Sales at Forbes, Tamworth, Wagga, Ballarat and Pakenham didn’t occur.

Victorian floods

Victorian sheep yardings fell quite substantially week-on-week, down 45% . However, it is difficult to draw any conclusions from Victorian yardings, as there have been a number of factors at play recently, including COVID lockdowns, floods and public holidays.

WA restocker lambs

WA restocker lamb prices are up 18%, or 113¢/kg, since 31 May. This is being driven by improved seasonal conditions in the state.

Prices at record levels

Sheep and cattle prices have both set records in recent weeks. This week, scanned and in-lamb Aussie White ewes presented in AuctionsPlus’s national sale on Tuesday fetched $988/head – nearing the $1,000 barrier.

Last Thursday, the EYCI reached a new record of 913¢/kg cwt on the back of rain in NSW. This week it has fallen back 9¢ to sit at 904¢/kg. Similarly, the WYCI also fell 1% from the new record of 1,042¢/kg reached last week. It now sits at 1,027¢/kg.


Eastern states’ cattle slaughter has hit its lowest June weekly slaughter volume in three years, following the continuing trend of significantly reduced slaughter in 2021 as the herd rebuilds.

Since the second week of April 2021, lamb slaughter has exceeded 2020 levels, a trend MLA expects to continue until the end of the year given the expectation of a greater lambing in 2021 and no COVID-19 related processor disruptions this year.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2021