Market Watch: Sheepmeat

16 May 2018

Following recent rainfall in Victoria and southern NSW, the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) has increased, opening the week at 612¢/kg cwt before reaching 618¢/kg cwt yesterday (15 May).


May has seen eastern states lamb slaughter continue its upward trajectory, totalling close to 799,000 head for the first two weeks of May, up 11% year-on-year. This has been underpinned by last week’s highest weekly lamb slaughter since December 2016.

Up until last week, continued dry seasonal conditions in the south had been a major contributing factor in the offloading of stock, with the largest increases seen in key sheep producing regions.

NSW saw an increase of 13% year-on-year, totalling just over 226,000 head, while Victoria processed over 437,000 head, up 24% on year-ago levels. Meanwhile, SA reported a 25% decrease in the number of lambs processed for the past fortnight, to just under 116,000 head.

Eastern states sheep slaughter totalled almost 255,000 for May so far, up 34% year-on-year. Victoria saw the largest increase, up 46% on year ago levels, to just over 104,000 head for the first half of May.

Saleyard throughput

National lamb saleyard throughput for the first two weeks of May decreased 17% year-on-year, totalling 388,159 head.

Numbers through saleyards has contracted over the past couple of weeks due to recent rain. Victoria saw the largest decrease, back 28% or 33,093 head on year-ago levels. Numbers at Horsham almost halved, totalling 8,232 head for the fortnight, and CVLX Ballarat saw a decrease of 35%, to total 34,363 head.

NSW also saw a decrease, with May throughput back 6% year-on-year, to 242,214 head, with numbers down at most of the NLRS reported saleyards.

National sheep saleyard throughput, on the other hand, for the first half of May has increased considerably (16%) from 2017 levels, to 192,481 head. NSW saw the largest increases here, at 118,256 head, up by 28% year-on-year.

Forbes and SELX Yass saw sizeable increases, up 29% and 57%, respectively. Victoria also saw an increase in sheep coming through the saleyards, up by 32% on 2017, totalling 37,849 head for the last two weeks.


Recent rainfall in Victoria and parts of southern NSW has seen the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) increase slightly after a small dip in early May – reaching 618¢/kg cwt yesterday (15 May).. The Indicator eased to 589¢/kg cwt on 7 May, before rallying to 618¢ earlier this week.

The Victorian trade lamb indicator has rallied significantly – reaching 638¢ on Tuesday 15 May.

The Eastern States Mutton indicator has tracked below 2017 levels since late March – opening May at 443¢/kg cwt. It has also experienced a rain induced kick, gaining 20¢ since the beginning of May, opening at 463¢ this week.

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