Sheep market - October update - Elders Rural Services

Sheep market – October update

At a glance

  • Yarding numbers in Victoria are lagging the rest of the country due to a late spring.
  • Trade lamb prices have persisted at a high level but could come under pressure as supply increases.
  • Hear from Elders local livestock managers in the new from the field section of the update.

Market fundamentals

The Elders Weather outlook for October forecasts multiple cold fronts across Australia from 14 October onwards. The cold fronts are expected to push rain from the tropics towards southern Australia.

Average yarding numbers have moved higher in the past 30 days however prices are holding firm for now. In Victoria, average daily yarding numbers increased 42 per cent (pc) compared to the previous 30-day period. However, yarding numbers remain below the two-year average as wet and cold conditions persist.

National trade lamb prices recorded a 1 pc increase compared to a month ago and a 17 pc increase compared to this time last year. In New South Wales and Victoria, trade lamb prices increased by 4 pc and 2 pc respectively. While in South Australia a spike in supply during September resulted in a 24 pc decline in trade lamb prices.

Stud sales across the country are heating up with records tumbling almost daily.  You can read about some of the significant sales from September in our latest edition of bidders, winners and records.

Graph showing the national trade lamb prices are holding firm due to a late spring in Victoria.
Graph showing the national trade lamb prices are holding firm due to a late spring in Victoria.


  • Seasonal conditions remain conducive for re-stocking.
    Late spring in the south hasn’t led to the usual influx of lambs, keeping prices higher for longer.


  • Supply is expected to increase this month.

From the field

Northern South Australia

“Sucker lamb sales are starting to end in north and west South Australia. A late season break, and cold, wet conditions meant lambs were lighter compared to previous years. Farmers are now making the call to either run lambs through or offload before summer. Rain will be needed in the northern pastoral area within the next one to three months in order to hold onto increases in flock numbers, driven by improved seasonal conditions in late 2020.” – Damien Webb, Elders Livestock Manager.

Victoria and Riverina

“Spring is currently four to six weeks behind usual conditions, especially in the south, which has delayed pasture growth and in turn weight gain in lambs. However, warmer weather will allow pastures to make the most of high soil moisture levels, giving farmers in the south of the state a chance to finish lambs prior to sending them to market.

“In the north of the state the focus has begun to shift towards preparation for shearing after what was a successful season in terms of growing conditions and prices. Two sales to watch in the coming weeks will be the Deniliquin store sheep sale on 15 October and the Jerilderie store sheep sale on 5 November.” – Matt Tinkler, Elders Livestock Manager.

Table showing national trade lamb prices are holding firm due to a late spring in Victoria.
Table showing national trade lamb prices are holding firm due to a late spring in Victoria.

*Last available price.

Note: States without sufficient data for the current month or without data for a specific stock category will not appear in the table.

**The forecast shown on the graph is derived from an auto regression model (ARIMA) which was used to generate the high and low 68 pc confidence interval. The ARIMA model draws on data from 2016 to now. The model is purely mathematical and should only be used as a guide for where prices could land in the next two months.

Sources: Price data reproduced courtesy of Meat & Livestock Australia Limited.

The information contained in this article is given for the purpose of providing general information only, and while Elders has exercised reasonable care, skill and diligence in its preparation, many factors (including environmental and seasonal) can impact its accuracy and currency. Accordingly, the information should not be relied upon under any circumstances and Elders assumes no liability for any loss consequently suffered. If you would like to speak to someone for tailored advice relating to any of the matters referred to in this article, please contact Elders.

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