Lamb prices sky­rocket

The Western Star - - Rural Weekly - Ni­cola Bell [email protected]­ral­

LAMB has launched it­self into the strato­sphere, break­ing price records al­most daily as the pre­dic­tions of tight sup­ply come to fruition.

The Eastern States Trade Lamb In­di­ca­tor sky­rock­eted to a record 950c/kg carcass weight on Mon­day – up 100c/kg on last month and 29 per cent, or 216c/kg higher than the same time last year.

The new record is more than 7 per cent higher than last Au­gust’s peak of


The rise has forced re­tail prices to ex­plode, with lamb hit­ting $50/kg in su­per­mar­kets.

The Eastern States Heavy Lamb In­di­ca­tor is just 14c/kg away from hit­ting the mag­i­cal $10/kg mark, clos­ing at 986c/kg on Mon­day – up 90c/kg on last month and 229c/kg or 30 per cent higher than the same time last year.

All other in­di­ca­tors are above 800c/kg, with the Merino Lamb In­di­ca­tor at 859c/kg, up 185c/kg on last year’s rate.

Coles this month re­leased a record for­ward con­tract of $10/kg carcass weight for 18–26kg sucker lambs de­liv­ered in Au­gust – the first time a guar­an­teed $10 has been offered by a pro­ces­sor for lambs.

Re­tail­ers are now pass­ing on the cost to cus­tomers, with prices of $50/kg seen for frenched lamb cut­lets in Coles Nar­ro­gin, Western Aus­tralia, while on­line the same prod­uct re­tails for $48.89/kg.

At Coles and Wool­worths this week lamb cut­lets were be­ing offered for $39/kg.

Meat and Livestock Aus­tralia se­nior mar­ket an­a­lyst Adam Cheetham said lamb prices had sur­passed last year’s lev­els and were “test­ing new ground”.

“Heavy lambs get­ting to 1000c/kg is as­tound­ing,” Mr Cheetham said.

He said it was a “clas­sic case of sup­ply and de­mand”.

“With low scan­ning rates and lamb­ing per­cent­ages, we ex­pect slaugh­ter to be tight for at least the rest of win­ter.”

The US and China are driv­ing the in­crease in de­mand for lamb, with vol­umes to the US up 10 per cent for the year to the end of last month and China up 20 per cent.

Rabobank se­nior an­i­mal pro­tein an­a­lyst An­gus Gi­d­leyBaird said the price rise had been “phe­nom­e­nal”.

“Even though grain prices have been high, the prices for heavy lambs is off­set­ting the grain price,” he said.

Mr Gi­d­ley-Baird said to date there had been strong prices in the US, which af­forded pro­ces­sors to keep pay­ing more how­ever the price av­er­age for lamb in to the US had started to drop slightly.

“We might have reached the top of where prices will get,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be sur­prised if the lamb slaugh­ter dips a bit more...when new-sea­son lambs come on (ready for sale) is the next ques­tion.”


NEW HIGHS: Lamb has been break­ing price records al­most daily as the pre­dic­tions of tight sup­ply come to fruition.

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