Lamb prices lower than start of 2015

03 March 2016

So far this year, average national lamb indicators have been tracking lower than 2015 levels. Due to last years unprecedented export demand helping relieve the pressure of high supplies, 2016 has started out at a more restrained pace; with the national trade lamb indicator back 2% year-on-year, at 531¢, although it remains 8% above the five year average (491¢/kg cwt).

Trade lamb prices in NSW were steady year-on-year, averaging 538¢/kg cwt, as some timely rain has been received. However, the same cannot be said for Victoria – with very much below average rainfall for the last 12 months, it is not surprising that prices have suffered, with the Victorian trade lamb indicator down 5%, to 530¢/kg cwt. This is notable, as Victorian prices usual track above NSW price levels at this time of year.

Of note also is slaughter, with NSW lamb slaughter up 2%, at 722,515 head so far this year. Victorian lamb slaughter is hovering around 1.4 million so far this year, up 2% from the same period in 2015.  Saleyard supply has been tightening in Victoria over the last few weeks, back around 20% on this time last year, with more sheep and lambs sold direct-to-works.

In the west, with dry and hot conditions restricting lamb quality over the last month, trade lamb prices in WA are 4% lower year-on-year, at 479¢, but are 5% above the five year average (458¢/kg cwt). Whilst WA slaughter is hard to compare to previous years (due to a lack of slaughter data collection), MLA’s recently collated WA sheep and lamb slaughter report shows that average weekly WA lamb slaughter so far this year is 55,873 head, with slaughter increasing over the last two weeks.

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