Lamb prices continue to rise as supply tightens

20 September 2016

National lamb saleyard throughput has tightened on the back of widespread and in some places very heavy rain during the start of spring. For September-to-date, there have been nearly 140,000 less lambs offered at saleyards year-on-year, totalling 371,957 head, with all states registering lower yardings.

With the tighter availability, lamb prices have sustained higher levels year-on-year. Restocker lamb purchases are down 69% year-on-year, unsurprising given the number of producers retaining lambs, combined with the higher prices for re-purchase – the price paid by restockers nationally in September averaging 591¢, up 7¢/kg cwt year-on-year. Processor purchases of lambs are down 20% in September, with the national average price processors have paid this month at 551¢, up 49¢/kg cwt.

Other national lamb indicators also performed well for September-to-date, compared to the corresponding period last year:

  • The Merino lamb indicator is up 36¢, to 539¢/kg cwt
  • Light lambs gained 37¢ to average 563¢/kg cwt
  • The heavy lamb indicator lifted 38¢ to 594¢/kg cwt
  • The National Trade Lamb Indicator (NTLI) increased 24¢ to average 585¢/kg cwt

Lamb supplies are anticipated to increase over the coming months due to the young lamb flush, which typically corresponds with a seasonal ease in prices – albeit off a currently high base. Good rainfall over winter and during the start of spring, along with a moderate three-month outlook, will continue to assist the market.

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