Lamb saleyard offerings rise as processor grids ease

21 January 2016

Over-the-hook lamb indicators across NSW, Victoria and SA eased this week as processors lowered grids with adequate supplies.

Consequently, more producers opted for the saleyards and offerings increased week-on-week in NSW, to 103,434 head, while throughput was firm in SA at around 12,000 head. Consignments in Victoria reduced to 55,880 head, although SA buyers were keen to fill orders at Victorian selling centres.

There were increased slaughter purchases at saleyards, with processors keen to maintain full kill schedules, resulting in firm to slightly dearer prices week-on-week.

Eastern states lamb slaughter for the first two weeks of 2016 has been higher than any other year since MLA began reporting (2000). Last week, lamb slaughter was the highest on record at 424,989 head, supported by strong forward contracts offered in November for January delivery, record SA slaughter (91,337 head) as well as sustained higher turnoff in the remaining states.

Lack of water in the south-west has forced extra lambs onto the market earlier than usual, particularly at Wagga. Finished trade weight lambs are reportedly scarce, with most consigned unfinished. The gap between the trade and heavy weight lamb indicators remains, as the heavy lamb indicator moved higher than the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) in mid-November 2015. This was due to tighter supplies as forward contracts for January delivery provided incentive for producers to grow lambs to heavier weights, provided the season held. 

At the conclusion of Thursday’s markets:

  • The eastern states restocker lamb indicator was 17¢ lower week-on-week at 515¢/kg cwt
  • Merino lambs eased 1¢ to 457¢, while light lambs slipped 3¢ to 479¢/kg cwt
  • The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) lost 1¢ to 525¢, although remains 8¢/kg cwt higher year-on-year.
  • The heavy lamb indicator gained 6¢ this week to settle on 540¢/kg cwt

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