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Australian 2013-14 Lamb and Sheep Summary

01 July 2014
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Average monthly eastern states lamb slaughter, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS), for the 2013-14 fiscal year lifted fiveper cent year-on-year, to 1.5 million head, Meat and Livestock Australia report.

November 2013 and May 2014 were again the largest slaughter months, with kill levels over 1.8 million head. Underpinning the higher slaughter were widespread dry conditions until a late break at the beginning of autumn.

The warmer conditions after this break, coupled with some timely rain helped sowing activities and germination of crops in most parts. After the break in the season, slaughter levels began to ease, which saw processors become more active in the saleyards.

Victoria and NSW both recorded similar rises (five per cent) in slaughter levels year-on-year, while SA levels remained similar. Queensland lamb slaughter lifted significantly, as producers continue to face very tough seasonal conditions for the second consecutive year.

MLA said that total national lamb throughput in 2013-14 lifted five per cent when compared to 2012-13, with around 9.8 million lambs offered through saleyards. The more favourable saleyard prices influenced the push towards saleyard selling in autumn 2014, with significant rises in offerings recorded. Saleyard numbers in Victoria remained similar, as seasonal conditions progressively improved, while levels in NSW increased 8 per cent, with drought conditions, particularly in the west of the state, driving the higher supply.

The national restocker lamb indicator lifted 19 per cent on the previous fiscal year, averaging 432¢/kg cwt, after reaching a high of 568¢/kg cwt in April, when the welcomed autumn break across much of southeast Australia boosted restocker enquiry.

Merino lambs averaged 408¢/kg cwt, up 25 per cent year-on-year, while the light lamb indicator was 19 per cent higher, averaging 425¢/kg cwt. The national trade lamb indicator increased 24 per cent compared to the last fiscal year, at 483¢/kg cwt, after topping at 591¢/kg cwt in April and again in June.

Heavy lambs surpassed the 600¢ mark in April, reaching a peak of 610¢/kg cwt, and overall saw a 26 per cent year-on-year rise, with the indicator averaging 502¢/kg cwt for the fiscal year.

Of note during 2013-14 was the significant rise in national sheep supply, up 32 per cent year-on-year, with around 4.6 million offered at NLRS reported saleyards. The first half of 2014 saw larger mutton turnoff, with producers unable to hold onto stock as the dry conditions persisted.

Average monthly eastern states mutton slaughter was up 26 per cent year-on-year, at 652,650 head. The higher supply did not deter demand, with saleyard and over-the-hook prices both registering strong increases.

The national mutton indicator made considerable gains year-on-year (up 41 per cent) and rallied particularly strongly over the past 6 months, topping at 387¢ in April, and averaging 266¢/kg cwt for 2013-14.

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