ESTLI falls below year-ago levels

22 August 2019

This week, Prices and Markets looks at a breakdown of the eastern states major selling centres for sheep and lamb, with the eastern states trade lamb indicator (ESTLI) now trading below year-ago levels.

Yardings remained stable at Dubbo this week, with 21,000 head sold. The quality of the yarding was predominantly plain, with strong numbers of light weight Merino lambs offered along with new season lambs to restockers. Trade and heavy weight lambs were in limited supply, as more new season lambs enter the market. Mutton yardings improved 27% from last week to 9,860 head, with good quality lines resulting in dearer market trends.

  • Tradeweight 3 score new season lambs eased from 17¢ to 58¢, averaging from 791¢ to 804¢/kg carcase weight (cwt)
  • Light weight 3 score old Merino lambs eased 6¢, averaging 750¢/kg cwt
  • Heavy weight 3 score lambs to processors gained 7¢, averaging 827¢/kg cwt
  • Trade weight 3 score Merino ewes gained 9¢, averaging 579¢/kg cwt.

Lamb and sheep numbers at Ballarat on Tuesday were back 30% to 10,286 head. There was a mixed quality yarding, with some well-finished grain assisted lambs on offer that sold well, however the overall lamb market sold to cheaper trends this week. Mutton consignments represented 30% of the yarding, with average to good quality lines on offer. Well-covered mutton was in high demand, selling to strong competition for an overall dearer market. Sheep supplies remain tight across the east coast.

  • Trade weight 3 score new season lambs entered the market at 746¢/kg cwt
  • Trade weight 2 score old Merino lambs gained 63¢, averaging 779¢/kg cwt
  • Heavy weight 4 score old lambs to processors eased 75¢, averaging 872¢/kg cwt
  • Trade weight 4 score Merino ewes eased 7¢, averaging 591¢/kg cwt.

Forbes also saw a reduced yarding this week, easing 7% to 26,800 head on Tuesday, with 4,800 head of new season lambs penned. Quality throughout the yarding was mixed, with both cheaper and dearer price trends seen, dependent on quality. Mutton throughput increased by 2,000 head and quality was fair. Merinos dominated the yarding, with trade and heavy weight sheep also well supplied.

  • Trade weight 4 score new season lambs eased 60¢, averaging 878¢/kg cwt
  • Light weight 2 score old Merino lambs gained 41¢, averaging 730¢/kg cwt
  • Trade weight 4 score old lambs to processors eased 22¢, averaging 855¢/kg cwt
  • Trade weight 3 score Merino ewes gained 18¢, averaging 603/kg cwt

Trade and heavy weight lamb indicators have now fallen below year-ago levels, as prices have responded to the recent lift in lamb slaughter. For the week ending 16 August, lamb slaughter increased 3% to 274,600 head. This comes off the back of an increased yarding of new season lambs, with over 30,000 head yarded last week, twice as many as the week prior.  Eastern states sheep slaughter has continued to advance, up 15% last week to 108,800 head, however it remains well back on year-ago levels.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2019

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