Strong spring conditions help raise the bar

22 November 2016

Last week (ending November 18th), eastern states lamb slaughter settled just shy of 387,000 head, up 1% on the corresponding period the year prior – underpinned by higher levels in NSW (MLA’s NLRS).

Compared to the same time last year, lamb slaughter last week in:

  • Victoria was back 3%, at 180,122 head
  • NSW was up 31%, at 120,191 head
  • SA was back 14%, at 74,374 head
  • Tasmania was back14%, at 12,198 head

So far this year, however, total eastern states lamb slaughter has declined 2% on what was recorded in 2015, at just over 16.18 million head (MLA’s NLRS) – a figure heavily influenced by improved spring conditions across the majority of lamb producing regions holding back the flush of new season supplies.

It is reported that improved feed availability this year has also contributed to lower slaughter levels, with some producers utilising the opportunity to add both weight and condition off ample and better quality pastures – quite the contrast to the same time last year. The season has resulted in a greater number of heavier weights, and less store and lighter types, on offer in a number of physical markets – reflected in the restocker lamb indicator tracking 72¢/kg above the trade lamb indicator over the past week, well in excess of the 44¢/kg premium recorded this time last year.

Slaughter levels are likely to remain high in the lead up to Christmas, as the new season flush continues and a greater number of lambs reach finished weights.

Looking forward, expectations around the year ahead will be highlighted in the upcoming 2017 MLA Sheep Industry Projections, to be released on Tuesday 6th December. 

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