Restocker lamb prices a bright spot in a tight market

Flush season in the south drives strong restocker lamb prices

TAKING STOCK: Demand for restocker lambs is high despitr large yardings at saleyards like Forbes where local auctioneer, Luke Whitty, looks for bids.

TAKING STOCK: Demand for restocker lambs is high despitr large yardings at saleyards like Forbes where local auctioneer, Luke Whitty, looks for bids.


Downward pressure on lamb prices is continuing with more lightweight new-season suckers hitting the market in drought-hit NSW.


Strong restocker lambs prices have been a feature of the market this week as most other categories went into reverse.

The eastern states restocker lamb indicator climbed 16 cents on Tuesday to reach 825c a kg.

In comparison, the eastern states trade lamb indicator was sitting at 762c, a drop of 19c in a week and 41c in the past month.

The heavy lamb (765c) and Merino lamb (694c) indicators have suffered similar losses in the past four weeks.

The restocker lamb indicator in South Australia was sitting at 900c on Tuesday, way above the state's trade lamb indicator at 727c and heavy lamb indicator at 712c.

The gap wasn't as wide in Victoria and NSW but still significant with both above 800c. NSW's restocker lamb indicator (814c) is 41c higher than the state's trade lamb indicator while the difference was 51c in Victoria (811c compared with 760c).

However the variation in the restocker lamb indicators across regional NSW is stark with 844c in the state's south compared with 585c in the drought-hit north.

The market for restocker lambs is being boosted by flush seasonal conditions in parts of Victoria and SA.

Lamb slaughter in the eastern states dipped by 2 per cent last week to 343,518.

Victoria accounted for more than half the lamb kill at 197,121, a drop of 2pc compared with the previous week and up 2pc on year-ago levels.

The lamb slaughter in drought-hit NSW dived by 9pc to 87,8555.

Going against the trend was South Australia where lamb slaughterings hiked by 11pc 51,036.

Sheep slaughterings in the eastern states jumped by another 10pc last week to 156,606 head on the back of a 21pc hike in parched NSW to 78,439.

Victoria's sheep slaughter jumped 9pc to 58,353 while SA's dived by 8pc to 15,961.

A feature of this week's lamb market was a big, high-quality yarding of 27,179 at Ballara on Tuesday with prices down $2 to $5 a head on last week.

Feeders and restockers were active again this week, paying between $61 to $185.

Heavy lambs sold to $236, up on last week, while old lambs sold to $200.

Increased numbers of lightweight lambs were flowing into major NSW saleyards early this week from drought areas as producers continued to offload stock.

At Dubbo on Monday 27,000 were yarded including 11,100 lambs with the bulk lightweight new-season suckers which were $8 to $12 cheaper with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $80 to $140.

Trade lambs were $10 to $13 cheaper with 18-24kg new-season lambs selling from $135 to $180 a head, to average from 730c to 765c a kg dressed. Trade weight old lambs sold from $154 to $195.

Heavy weight lambs were firm with the over 24kg old lambs selling from $190 to $230, while a pen of heavy weight new-season lambs sold for $190.

Merino lambs were $6 to $9 cheaper with the trade weight Merinos selling from $133 to $174.

The picture was similar at Forbes on Tuesday with 12,500 lambs in the yarding of 23,500.

Numbers of light store lambs increased with few better finished types. Light store new-season lambs to restockers sold from $95 to $169 while trade weights held steady at $151 to $184.

Heavy and extra heavy weights were firm with heavy lambs to 26kg fetching from $184 to $210 and extra heavies from $216 to $240 a head.


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