Sheep market - September update - Elders Rural Services

Sheep market – September update

At a glance

  • Yarding numbers on the rise as spring supply increases putting pressure on high prices.
  • The prospect of a wet spring on top of high feed inventories offers confidence for restockers.
  • COVID-19 lockdowns continue to disrupt foodservice demand both locally and in key export markets.

Market fundamentals

Restocker confidence is being driven primarily by the forecast of a wet spring, a benefit that is compounded by an already high feed inventory in most grazing regions. The Elders Weather rainfall outlook for September suggests multiple cold fronts across the country from the 11th onwards. These are expected to bring widespread rainfall in what is shaping to be a wet spring.

Average yarding numbers have moved higher in the past 30 days as the usual spring flush begins. In Victoria, average yarding numbers increased 22 per cent(pc) compared to the previous 30-day period, currently sitting 95 pc above year ago levels. While in South Australia and New South Wales the average yarding for August 2021 was 90 pc and 83 pc higher respectively compared to August 2020. Yarding numbers are expected to ramp up in the coming weeks with lamb numbers expected to be higher than last spring.

National trade lamb prices recorded a 6 pc increase compared to a month ago and a 36 pc increase compared to this time last year, reaching a two-year high. Prices are expected to ease over the coming weeks under the weight of spring supply, as the model suggests. However, there is an increased likelihood of achieving a higher average price over the next 60 days compared to last year, primarily due to a higher starting point.

Graph showing National trade lamb prices start spring in good shape ahead the usual dip.


  • Seasonal conditions remain conducive for re-stocking.
  • High starting point ahead of spring.


  • Supply is expected to be higher than last spring.
  • COVID-19 lockdowns reduce foodservice demand locally and in export markets.

Market indicators

Table showing current sheep market indicators.

*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 68pc 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: USDA and 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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