Flooding rains along Australia's east coast have contributed to a tightening of supply of sheep and lambs sold nationally.
Nationally, 232,868 sheep and lambs were sold in the past week.
Victorian and NSW lamb slaughter figures are easing year-on-year, signalling the rebuild of the national flock continues in Australia's two key sheep states.
Sales in Victoria totalled 93,757, NSW totals were 92,417 and South Australia was 12,906 with a big sale at Naracoorte during the week.
In a reflection of what is happening nationally, numbers at Naracoorte eased this week though as agents yarded 4042 lambs and 914 sheep to total 4956 head.
Quality was mixed from store lambs lacking condition up to large heavy weight lambs coming off irrigation and feed with the pricing starting brightly before fading to end up with slightly cheaper rates of $3 to $5/head than the week before.
The good break to the season for many means supply will continue to remain tight as producers retain their lighter lambs.
Prices earlier in the week across all categories rose slightly other than restocker lambs which fell 37c/kg.
Trade lamb prices were strong again in NSW although prices were better against last week for lighter lambs in South Australia.
MLA projections suggest the national flock will grow by 5pc in 2021 to 67.3 million head.
Sheep slaughter is projected to increase by 26pc from 2020 through to 2023.
Lamb production is trending upwards in the next few years with the flock rate expected to hit 70 million in 2022.
Andrew Woods from Thomas Elder markets said the rains provided an "autumn break hoped for but rarely received".
"Most importantly it will allow the eastern Australian flock to continue re-building. Hopefully the winter/spring rainfall in Western Australia picks up. On the demand front prospects for the US economy continue to improve which is a positive for next season."
A higher than anticipated Australian dollar, combined with a more rapidly recovering global economy and supply adjustments to Meat and Livestock Australia's sheep industry projections, released in February 2021, have prompted an update to the fair value modelling for the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI).
Sheepmeat sales are to be given some added impetus with the launch of Meat & Livestock Australia's autumn lamb campaign which aims to demonste the ease and versatility of cooking with Australian Lamb.
The new campaign is a continuation of the Lamb Legends series, celebrating everyday heroes who have made a big contribution and sharing inspiring feel-good stories over easy and delicious lamb dishes.
MasterChef alumni Amina Elshafei and Melbourne Chef and Restaurateur, Jerry Mai have provided the ultimate inspiration for Easter indulgence, with flavour full lamb recipes to thank their Lamb Legend.
MLA domestic market manager, Graeme Yardy said the campaign aims to tackle consumer perception that lamb is hard to cook while highlighting that Australian Lamb is the perfect meal solution to share over the autumn season.
"Easter, Anzac Day and Mother's Day are key occasions when people get together and provide a fantastic opportunity for the Australian Lamb brand to encourage Australians to celebrate with a delicious lamb meal," Mr Yardy said.
"This is a continuation of the successful Lamb Legends series, launched last year, and will showcase different cuts, cooking methods and flavour partners to demonstrate the ease and versatility of lamb through unique 'how-to-cook' video content.
"In particular, the campaign will showcase lamb's versatility through a range of seasonal cuts including the lamb leg, shoulder, shank, forequarter chop and loin chop.
"Each video in the series provides easy to cook recipes and useful tips to build consumer cooking confidence with lamb whilst sharing inspiring and authentic Aussie stories.
The six-week autumn campaign will utilise relevant online channels including digital video, on demand TV video broadcast, YouTube and social channels. A social competition will also drive audience engagement with a chance to win a lamb meat tray and share a selection of lamb cuts with their local legends.
For Amina, lamb has always been a dish for celebrating people, "Being a Muslim, lamb is incredibly significant to us as we share lamb after the birth of a baby, and during religious festivals. I wanted to cook this lamb, date and apricot tagine to celebrate Kerrie's inspiring contribution to the community."
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