Trade lambs gain momentum
21 February 2019
The sheep and lamb market gained momentum this week, with all indicators recording gains following a period of decline. Get up to date on the latest slaughter and price information here.
For the year to 15 February, eastern states lamb slaughter totalled 2.42 million head, down just 1% on 2018. With the tough season in 2018 leading to a delay in new season (young) lambs entering the market, a stronger supply was expected at the start of 2019 as more time may have allowed producers to get lambs to trade weight (18–22kg cwt). However, this didn’t eventuate as supply is currently in line with 2018 numbers.
It remains to be seen when the effects of the challenging season will start to be felt in terms of lamb supply. A lack of paddock feed combined with well below-average lambing rates will likely have an impact in the coming months.
Unlike lambs, eastern states sheep slaughter continues to remain elevated in 2019 as producers continue to destock while waiting for a break in the season. Year-to-date kills are up 21% on 2018 at 980,000 head.
Prices for both sheep and lambs increased across eastern states saleyards through the week. The eastern states trade lamb indicator averaged 666¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) on 19 February, representing a rise of 45¢ (7%) on the previous week. Of the lamb indicators, restocker lambs (0–18kg cwt) recorded the strongest gains, rising 74¢ (12%) to average 667¢/kg cwt.
Mutton staged a recovery this week, averaging 417¢/kg cwt on Tuesday, up 53¢ (15%) on the previous week.
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