The lamb market has started to retreat ahead of bigger numbers and two short trading weeks. Price falls of up to $12 begun at saleyards on Thursday last week just ahead of minimal rain forecast for the next two weeks in some regions. The continuing dry conditions this week show just how delicately poised the market is between supply and demand.
While sales of heavy lambs $200-plus has become a regular occurrence the real strength in the market has been for lambs weighing above 30kg carcass weight. Bidding from the likes of Fletcher International Dubbo, who usually rely more on saleyard supplies for making up the numbers rather than forward contracts have been pivotal in driving prices for the heaviest portion of the lambs at markets they attend in the north. Once under 30kg cwt rates have started to fade generally by $10-$12 with most sales stopping short of the $200 mark.
Meanwhile major trade lamb processors have taken a back seat at several markets causing rates to slip across all trade weight categories. The market hit a brick wall at Wagga on Thursday as pressure of the ongoing dry weather and a bounce in supply wiped significant dollars off all categories of lambs. Sharp price falls of up to $12 were recorded for trade lambs with the market fluctuating wildly at times causing considerable price dips along the way. Trade lambs sold from $110-$160 with a single sale to $164. Trade lambs in general averaged 588c/kg cwt.
Trade weight lambs to feed-on sold $8-$12 cheaper profiting from the weaker demand from processors. Light lambs suitable to slaughter were $5-$7 cheaper. A poor weather outlook and two short weeks of lamb sales has pushed the lamb market down in early markets this week. Losses at some sales saw the best trade lambs suitable for the supermarket slip $10-$13 according to the National Livestock Reporting service (NLRS).
The Eastern trade lamb indicator closed at 600c/kg cwt on Monday while heavy lamb indicator finished at 588c slipping 22c/kg cwt. Bendigo’s market on Monday was down 2,223 to about 17,500 lambs and despite the reduced offering rates were up to $10 cheaper for trade lambs than the market held two week previous, owing to the Easter holiday break. The weakest bidding was for lambs 26-30kg cwt destined for the overseas market which made from $159-$189 a cheaper trend of $11-$14 rates averaged 553c/kg.
Less buying competition and increased supplies impacted the Ballarat lamb market on Tuesday. Prices falls varied across all categories but were mostly $9-$15 cheaper. Trade lambs made from $120-$156 averaging 593c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold at $145-$208.