Sheep update - April 2022 - Elders Rural Services

Sheep update – April 2022

At a glance

  • Lamb and mutton prices ease further as processors clear supply against a backdrop of staff disruptions.
  • Cold fronts to begin from 18 April across most of the country with widespread rain expected.

Market fundamentals

National trade lamb prices declined four per cent (pc) compared to a month ago. Increased supply stemming from earlier processor disruptions continued in March. The national trade lamb indicator currently sits 55 c/kg cwt below this time last year.

Mutton prices declined five per cent in March continuing to track lower. The current average price $5.77/kg cwt, sits $0.42 below year ago levels.

The Elders Weather outlook forecasts multiple cold fronts across southern and eastern Australia from 18 to 22 April and 4 to 8 May. The cold fronts are expected to bring widespread rain. In Western Australia (WA), the strongest cold fronts will start from 15 to 19 April and again from 4 to 8 May.

National trade lamb prices moved lower in March.
National trade lamb prices moved lower in March.

From the field

South Australia

“With the exception of some significant rains across parts of the west coast over the past month, the mid north of South Australia remains quite dry as is expected this time of the year, while the north west (in particular) and north east pastoral areas (to a lesser extent) are generally coping nicely on the back of the significant summer rains.

“The lamb market generally sits in the $7.50 to $7.80/kg cwt, dependent on weights (store, trade and heavy) and breed plus demand that is impacted with increased numbers, particularly through the eastern states, as lambs get close to cutting teeth. In general, mutton prices remain around the mid-high $5/kg cwt range.

“Ongoing COVID-19 issues are still being seen in most processing plants, impacting kill numbers and subsequent demand. While croppers and graziers eagerly await the official “break of the season” sometime in April (hopefully), there appears to be some opportunities for graziers to secure scanned in lamb ewes at what I see as very affordable rates.” – Damien Webb, Elders Livestock Manager, northern South Australia.

“Rainfall has been hit and miss as you tour the south of the state with some areas through the upper to mid away and others not, with the lower portion of the state looking to have had a genuine break.

“Lamb numbers are still relatively strong for the autumn period as we head south, with trade and heavy lambs still moving from the lower part of the state and whispers of positive pricing from processors as we move into winter.

“While sheep numbers are diminishing, pricing remains firm with some processors struggling to move due to staffing issues and movement of product.” – Laryn Gogel, Elders Livestock Manager, southern South Australia.

Market indicators

Table containing lamb and mutton price comparisons.
Table containing lamb and mutton price comparisons.

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

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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