The lamb market has entered summer on a high, with prices driven by a shortage of well-finished lambs.
Lamb and mutton categories continued their impressive run, with significant price rises over most categories. Lamb prices in the north hit 700¢/kg carcass weight last week, rewarding producers who had been able hold and finish lambs. The eastern states heavy lamb indicator closed on Monday at 655¢/kg cwt, while the national trade lamb indicator was a long way off at 637¢/kg.
These are some of the highest in months and sales late in the week saw lifts of up to $22 for heavy lambs.
At Wagga, supply continues to fall short of demand. Heavy lambs from 26-36kg carcass weight selling around the 670-700¢/kg mark. A single pen of 369 lambs at 36kg cwt recorded a record price of $254.60; the second run sold for $249. The trade lamb price jumped $10, with odd sales $15 higher for the neat shorn types. Many pen lots hit 700¢/kg cwt and above, topping at $176.
The Christmas break is putting pressure on abattoirs to secure numbers before disruption to markets. Some domestic and export companies were paying from $128-$166 for lambs to be back grounded over the break.
Boosting prices for lighter weight lambs was buoyant demand from restockers after heavy rain across NSW and Victoria. Light lambs to the paddock jumped $20, making from $98-$123.
The mutton market trended a few dollars dearer for heavy sheep, averaging 483¢/kg cwt.
In opening sales in Victoria summer rates tracked higher, with all lamb markets posting back to back price gains. These are extraordinary times, with prices showing exceptional strength in the face of bigger numbers at southern markets.
At Hamilton, the bright spot was trade lambs. Demand from processors was stronger, spurred on by a shortage of well-finished lambs. Buyers pushed carcass weight rates above 700¢ for light and medium trade lambs, paying from $132-$172. Heavy trade made from $156-$185 to average 662¢/kg cwt. Heavy lambs were firm to a few dollars dearer, however there wasn’t the weight in the lambs to the previous week.
Numbers at Bendigo jumped to 13,100 lambs and 10,000 sheep. Producers were hoping last week’s lift in rates had signalled stronger demand and vendors weren’t disappointed. Trade lambs sold $4-$10 higher with shorn lambs paid premium rates. Rates for lead drafts of shorn trade lambs lifted up to 700¢/kg cwt.
There were hikes of up to $15 at Ballarat as the upward summer trend continued to strengthen. Buyers upped the ante for medium and heavy trade lambs, paying from $143 to $180.50.