Back to Prices & Markets

Subscribe to Prices & Markets e-newsletter

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


Sheepmeat market under pressure

02 July 2020

Key points:

  • Eastern states sheep slaughter has more than halved from year-ago levels
  • NSW leading decline in sheep yardings
  • Despite tight supply, prices have taken a nosedive this week


For the week ending 26 June, eastern states lamb slaughter eased 9% from year-ago levels to 275,000 head, while sheep slaughter more than halved from the same week in 2019 to 43,550 head. While higher than week-ago levels, all states expect Queensland reported significant year-on-year declines in sheep slaughter. Tasmania and SA saw the largest declines, back 98% and 78% respectively from year-ago levels, while NSW eased 59% and Victoria was back 31% from the same week in 2019.



Winter supply was anticipated to be subdued this year, and currently national sheep and lamb yardings continue to track significantly below year-ago levels. Last week, lamb yardings totalled 151,500 head, back 21% from the same week last year, with sheep throughput easing nearly 50% year-on-year to 44,400 head.

NSW was the largest contributor to total yardings at 107,400 head, 39% below year-ago levels. Total throughput in Victoria eased 7% year-on-year to 62,640 head, with SA recording a 62% decline to 6,755 head.

The following lists key saleyard figures from the week ending 26 June compared to the same period in 2019:

  • CTLX Carcoar, NSW: At 4,600 head, back 4,410 head
  • Dubbo, NSW: At 9,750 head, back 21,300 head
  • SELX Yass, NSW: At 5,932 head, back 5,171 head
  • Wagga Wagga, NSW: At 38,500 head, back 11,500 head
  • SA Livestock Exchange, SA: At 3,300 head, back 9,700 head


This week has seen the eastern states market indicators plummet across all sheep and lamb categories. The decline in prices has been underpinned by reduced processor demand in the store market, while ongoing uncertainty in global markets continues to impact export demand for quality lamb and mutton. Returns for well-conditioned export lambs have eroded in recent weeks.

On Wednesday 1 July, compared to last week, the eastern states indicators were reported at the following levels:

  • Restocker lamb: 875¢/kg carcase weight (cwt), back 43¢
  • Merino lamb: 747¢/kg cwt, back 57¢
  • Light lamb: 799¢/kg cwt, back 90¢
  • Trade lamb: 806¢/kg cwt, back 71¢
  • Heavy lamb: 774¢/kg cwt, back 63¢
  • Mutton: 639¢, back 17¢

To view the Eastern States Daily Indicators Report, click here.

© Meat & Livestock Australia Limited, 2020

Back to News