Lamb prices soften as winter arrives

Lamb prices soften as winter arrives

SELLER: Dean Hampel, Koonunga, SA, was selling Merino wether lambs at a recent sheep market at Mount Pleasant, SA.

SELLER: Dean Hampel, Koonunga, SA, was selling Merino wether lambs at a recent sheep market at Mount Pleasant, SA.


Merinos tumbled the most as prices across eastern Australia eased.


All the eastern states lamb indicators fell at the end of last week and in this week's early trading.

Merino lambs tumbled the most, losing 39 cents a kilogram on week-ago levels and the same time last year back 118c/kg to sit at 716c/kg carcase weight.

Trade lambs dipped 21c/kg back to 808c/kg cwt.

Heavy lambs slipped 11c/kg to rest at 784c/kg.

Restocking lambs also bore the brunt of a price correction falling 32c/kg to settle at 822c/kg.

The only indicator to punch above its weight in recent weeks has been mutton, however, prices slipped 8c/kg to finish on 649c/kg cwt.

Meat & Livestock Australia's National Livestock Reporting Service reported quality as a factor and some bigger export and domestic players were not operating fully.

Opening markets on Monday showed some positive price patterns, however, Victoria may still suffer some bouts of volatility depending on processor participation.

There was a step up in price for trade-weight lambs in Victoria as the looming winter shortage starts to pressure supermarket and domestic processors.

Lamb markets remain firm to modest

Price trends in NSW firmed while at Bendigo earlier this week there were some modest price gains of at least $4 to $7 a head over good quality trade lambs weighing between 20-24kg cwt.

Rates, however, for trade Merino lambs were up to $10 cheaper despite Merino lamb skins still having some reasonable value due to the wool price.

The better finished lambs weighing 20-24kg sold at $143 to $190 to average 705c/kg to 727c/kg cwt.

Demand for heavy lambs 26-30kg improved $5 making $206 to $236.

Buyers found it a challenging to purchase the big heavy lambs 30kg plus with only limited supplies on offer.

The bulk sold from $226 to $278 to average 753c/kg cwt.

Not all buyers participated in the mutton market at Bendigo and all grades showed cheaper price trends.

Trade sheep dipped $3 to $6 to average 635c/kg cwt.

Heavy sheep suffered a big price correction with rates $15 to $25 cheaper.

Heavy crossbred ewes sold at $170 to $230, while heavy Merino wethers recorded a top price of $238 to average 639c/kg cwt.

Ballarat on Tuesday followed the same price patterns as Wagga Wagga, NSW, last Thursday.

Nicely weighted domestic slaughter lambs 22-24kg were firm to $2 cheaper to average 836c/kg cwt.

Heavy lambs were well supplied with a considerable portion weighing more than 30kg.

Prices at the market for the super heavy lambs ranged from $238 to $278 averaging 733c/kg cwt.

Sheep numbers increased and rates lifted $6 to $14 with a run of heavy mutton averaging from 626c/kg to 649c/kg cwt.

  • Leann Dax is an NLRS market reporter.

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