Volatility of supply is not unusual at this time of year as the winter-drop lamb crop enters the market; however, the increase in 2018 has been more pronounced than normal.
Last week saw total lamb yardings across Victoria increase in:
- Ballarat – up 21,000 head week-on-week
- Bendigo – up 7,750 head week-on-week
- Hamilton – up 9,500 head week-on-week
- Horsham – up 2,750 head week-on-week.
The surge of new season lambs entering Victorian saleyards over the last two weeks has seen prices inversely affected, falling for all categories.
Prior to this, widespread rain across the eastern seaboard in October instilled some confidence in the market, and prices responded accordingly, up around 150¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) in most categories.
The high price level earlier last month gave the market a larger potential downside, with the rise in supply impacting prices.
The heavy lamb indicator in particular has seen a sharp decline, prices on Monday were down 161¢/kg cwt week-on-week.
The trade lamb indicator for Victoria was down 106¢ and restocker lambs were down 51¢/kg cwt, week-on-week.
October 31 was also the first time since the end of June that trade weight lambs have been selling at a premium to heavy weight lambs. Since the beginning of July, heavy lambs have been trading at an average of 34¢ above trade weight lambs – with competition fierce on the limited supply.