WA saleyard numbers and prices increase during March

13 April 2017

Western Australian (WA) saleyard lamb indicators trended higher in March – with all categories tracking more than 100c/kg cwt dearer year-on-year. Rainfall was average to above-average across large swathes of WA during the month, with above-average conditions recorded across inland regions of the state (Bureau of Meteorology).

The positive price trend in the physical markets saw saleyard numbers swell during March, with average weekly lamb supply 69% higher year-on-year, at 20,224 head.

  • The restocker lamb indicator for March averaged 580¢, 132¢/kg cwt higher year-on-year. This week it averaged 620¢/kg cwt, the highest point since early 2011.
  • Merino lambs settled on 604¢, while light lambs in March averaged 632¢/kg cwt – both indicators up by close to 150¢/kg cwt.
  • The WA trade lamb indicator averaged 627¢ for the month, an increase of 145¢/kg cwt year-on-year. This week the indicator hit 631¢/kg cwt.
  • The heavy lamb indicator lifted 142¢ year-on-year, to average 612¢/kg cwt during March.

Lamb slaughter levels eased in March, reflecting the strong competition at the saleyard level to capture supplies. Average weekly lamb slaughter for March was 20% lower year-on-year, at 45,398 head. The decrease in slaughter levels was also felt for mutton, with supplies down 51% from year-ago levels, at 12,300 head per week in March.

With producers enticed by higher saleyard prices, average weekly mutton supply into the saleyards increased 55% year-on-year during March, to 17,012 head.

The WA mutton indicator averaged 442¢ during March, more than 200¢/kg cwt higher year-on-year. Furthermore, during March the indicator hit a record (since MLA began reporting) of 478¢, with the second highest (471¢/kg cwt) recorded in 2011. This week, the indicator settled on 403¢/kg cwt. 

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