Vic lamb prices rally as restocker indicator loses traction in NSW

Vic lamb prices rally as restocker indicator loses traction in NSW

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INTERSTATE SALE: Raelene and Kevin Heidrich, Galga, SA, travelled across the border to attend Ouyen's fortnightly sheep market.

INTERSTATE SALE: Raelene and Kevin Heidrich, Galga, SA, travelled across the border to attend Ouyen's fortnightly sheep market.

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It's a different story between the two states.

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Dearer lamb prices were reported across most categories in Victorian saleyards last week, supported by key feeder and processor buyers.

But the lift was experienced by all states as NSW restocker lamb continues to lose traction.

On Monday the NSW restocker lamb indicator was 910c/kg, a drop of 19c from the week prior and a substantial fall of 119c/kg from the same time last year.

"There hasn't been the movement in prices in NSW that there has been in Victoria," MLA's market information manager Stephen Bignell said.

"Prices in NSW are slightly down across most categories. Heavy lambs, light lambs - they have all plateaued.

"But restocker lamb prices have come off the boil significantly in NSW since late April when it was at its peak."

Mr Bignell said historically from May, prices track downwards.

"People aren't joining right now, but equally, people that are looking to opportunistically trade probably built up their lamb numbers last year," he said.

"There isn't as much restocking going on in NSW - it's the only real indicator that has drastically fallen in NSW and it's because the rebuild is more mature.

"The rebuild kicked off last year in NSW so it has hit its maturity."

But Victoria had its own period of softening prices.

Prices for lamb in Victoria had been bubbling along quite nicely until producers turned their attention to cropping.

Mr Bignell said there was a 'dump' of lambs in Victoria a few weeks ago which saw a correction in prices.

Nationally, saleyard throughput has been tracking at close to average levels for the last four weeks.

The eastern states trade lamb indicator (ESTLI) on Monday gained 6c to finish 798c/kg cwt, albeit down 75c year-on -year.

In the west, the buying appetite for trade lambs improved with the Western Australian trade lamb indicator gaining 8c to 723/kg cwt.

According to Mr Bignell, WA producers also dumped lamb in a big way after receiving some good rainfalls.

"It looks like WA is going to have a ripper of a cropping season so it's a form of substitution," he said.

"People are looking to put in more acres of crop so they have to sell off more sheep."

And the rain has also affected buyer behaviour with lighter Merino lambs fitting processor specs better than the heavy trade crossbred offering.

"Buyers were valuing lighter Merino carcase weights," Mr Bignell said.

"Merino lambs are averaging 23kg cwt, which is ensuring competition is remaining strong for processors and restockers, with both keen on purchasing lighter animals.

"The price of Merino lambs lifted 30c week-on-week to average 775c/kg carcase weight (cwt), or $188/head."

Mr Bignell said cooler temperatures will be the catalyst to easing prices and subdued competition, as producers considered how these would affect lamb growth.

"The quality of lambs hitting the market will be an important consideration for restockers and processors to watch," he said.

"Cooler temperatures may impact the quality of lambs coming onto the market in coming weeks, driving lighter carcase weights which will impact price."

The story Vic lamb prices rally as restocker indicator loses traction in NSW first appeared on Farm Online.

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