Mutton prices hit new peak

16 May 2017

Last week the eastern states mutton indicator reached 517¢/kg cwt, surpassing all other record prices since MLA began reporting. The mutton indicator opened this week on 503¢/kg cwt, however prices continue to remain strong across saleyards and direct-to-works.

Over-the-hook mutton indicators lifted this week, with prices in Victoria averaging 470¢/kg cwt for medium weight (18-34kg cwt) mutton. In NSW over-the-hook medium weight mutton averaged 480¢/kg cwt.

Lambs reached $200/head last week at Guyra saleyards, or 648¢/kg cwt for heavy 3 score Merino wethers. While at Corowa saleyards this week, heavy 4 score ewes to slaughter also topped at $200/head, or 436¢/kg cwt. Meanwhile at Bendigo, extra heavy weight 5 score cull Border Leicester ewes to slaughter sold also to $200/head, or 438¢/kg cwt – reportedly a record for the saleyard.

Last week national mutton yardings were up around 20,000 head year-on-year, to around 70,000 head, while eastern states mutton slaughter totalled 94,360 head last week, up 27% year-on-year.

While there is no doubt producers are enticed by strong saleyard and direct-to-works prices, there is still great intent to retain ewes and wethers for flock rebuilding and wool production, with wool prices remaining strong throughout the start 2017.

For further insights, please see MLA’s Sheep Projections April 2017 update.

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