Market watch: Eastern states lamb

28 March 2018

The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) gained ground last week, although saleyard prices may come under pressure with the upcoming Easter break and very little rain on the way.

Regaining ground after reduced supplies

After dropping below 600¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) a fortnight ago, the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator has regained some ground over the last week, closing Friday’s markets at 618¢/kg cwt.

Following a week of reduced supplies with public holidays across several states, last week’s (week ending 23 March) eastern states lamb slaughter lifted 12% from the previous week, and 8% year-on-year, to just over 385,000 head.

Eastern states lamb saleyard throughput also picked up, albeit off a relatively low base. NSW offerings lifted 39% to almost 120,000 head, while the number of lambs penned in Victoria and SA increased 86% and 43%, respectively.

The NSW trade lamb indicator opened this week at an average of 612¢/kg cwt (back 6¢ week-on-week), while Victoria indicator averaged 630¢/kg cwt (up 23¢ week-on-week).

NSW

It was a large sale at Dubbo on Monday, with more than 40,000 sheep and lambs penned. Plain quality stock made up the majority of the yarding, with a large proportion of very light lambs showing the effects of the dry season. The selection of trade and heavy weight lambs were limited, most of which had been supplementary fed.

Sheep numbers at Tamworth lifted this week, while the number of lambs yarded declined from last week’s levels. There were good numbers of well-finished heavy weight lambs on offer and a reasonable selection of trade weights, although restocker lambs were below the standard of previous weeks. The market trended mostly cheaper for lambs and sheep, although well-finished heavy weight sheep remained firm.

Victoria

Numbers were lower week-on-week at the Bendigo sale, with just under 18,000 lambs and 6,000 sheep on offer. There were some very good quality heavy weight lambs penned, and a fair number of trade weights, while light weight lines were in shorter supply. Light and medium weight sheep sold to a mostly steady trend week-on-week, while heavy weight crossbreds were cheaper on average.

The week ahead

With the Easter break upon us, the markets will be influenced largely by processor demand for stock for the two short weeks ahead. There is very little rain forecast for the rest of the week and over the long weekend, which may see producers having to turn off more stock as feed conditions continue to deteriorate across large parts of western NSW and Victoria, particularly.

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