Heavy lambs hit $10/kg

The Western Star - - Rural Weekly - Ni­cola Bell [email protected]­ral­weekly.com

HEAVY lamb prices cracked the $10/kg mark last week, but have eased slightly at early sales this week.

As the short­age of fin­ished heavy lambs is now well and truly com­ing to fruition, it’s cur­rently un­known where prices will go next be­fore new sea­son lambs come on to the mar­ket.

Late last week the eastern states heavy lamb in­di­ca­tor reached 1000c/kg car­cass weight – up 26c/kg on the week prior and 205c/kg higher than the same time last year.

On Mon­day, the in­di­ca­tor de­clined slightly to 993c/kg, up 181c/kg on last year.

And while the eastern states trade lamb in­di­ca­tor hit an all-time high of 950c/kg mid last week, it fell slightly on Mon­day to close at 938c/kg car­cass weight – still 166c/kg higher than a year ago.

Me­cardo an­a­lyst Matt Dal­gleish said the high heavy lamb price was driven by NSW, which has been hard­est hit by drought, leav­ing fewer fin­ished lambs avail­able.

“The NSW heavy lamb in­di­ca­tor was the first to break through the $10 mark, gain­ing 28c/kg last week to hit 1005c/kg and is still at 1000c/kg (on Mon­day),” he said.

Mr Dal­gleish said when new sea­son lambs started to en­ter the mar­ket, there would be a price cor­rec­tion.

“I can’t see the ESTLI go­ing too much through 960-970c/kg,” he said.

But Mr Dal­gleish said in US dol­lar terms prices were not quite at the pre­vi­ous peaks.

“When the ESTLI was at 950c/kg lamb was US666c/kg, pretty close to the pre­vi­ous 2011 peak of US673c/kg.”

And in Chi­nese yuan terms, Mr Dal­gleish said prices had risen three per cent higher than last year’s peak, while mut­ton was still 11 per cent

❝The

US and China take about 40 per cent of our lamb and mut­ton ex­ports. Prices are get­ting close to the top of what they have paid in the past...

— Matt Dal­gleish

cheaper than the 2011 peak.

“The US and China take about 40 per cent of our lamb and mut­ton ex­ports. Prices are get­ting close to the top of what they have paid in the past, so they might start to baulk at prices now.”

At early lamb sales in Bendigo and Corowa, NSW, this week prices eased slightly, but the best lambs were still av­er­ag­ing more than 1000c/kg.

Paull & Scol­lard Land­mark live­stock con­sul­tant Richard Wynne from Corowa said they yarded dou­ble the num­bers as the pre­vi­ous week.

“Peo­ple were tak­ing ad­van­tage of the good prices,” Mr Wynne said.

He said he ex­pected prices to “drop back”.

“Our sea­son has turned around and we are ex­pect­ing suck­ers to come in to the mar­ket in about a fort­night.”

PHOTO: FILE

READY FOR AUC­TION: Sheep and lambs yarded at Queens­land’s only weekly sheep sale in War­wick.

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