Sheep update - March 2022 - Elders Rural Services

Sheep update – March 2022

At a glance

  • ABARES forecasts a 5pc increase in average lamb prices in 2022/23, increasing to 934 c/kg cwt.
  • Lamb prices ease across the country as supply outweighs demand for this time of year.

Market fundamentals

National trade lamb prices recorded a 5 per cent (pc) decrease compared to a month ago with every state reporting a decline of between 2 to 7pc.

Increased supply stemming from earlier processor disruptions weighed on price.

While the national trade lamb indicator recently dipped 2pc below year-ago levels, longer term forecasts released this week by ABARES suggest lamb prices will rise by 5pc in 2022/23 averaging 934 c/kg cwt, driven by rising export demand and global inflation pressures.

The Elders Weather outlook forecasts multiple cold fronts across southern and eastern Australia from 11 to 15 March  and 26 to 30 March. The cold fronts are expected to bring widespread rain. In Western Australia (WA), the strongest cold fronts will start from 11 to 15 March and again from 27 to 31.

Graph showing national trade lamb prices remain flat.


  • Seasonal conditions remain conducive for re-stocking.


  • Supply is higher for this time of year due to processor constraints earlier in the year.

From the field

South Australia

“We have seen an easing in both sheep and lamb prices, caused by continued COVID (staff) issues with processors, and a strengthening of supply from the eastern states, coupled with the continued sell-off of stock from the south-east of SA, which has seen continued dry conditions since November.

“In relation to the north-west and north-east summer/autumn shearing, there will be “next to no” ewes for sale from these districts this year, as pastoralists retain numbers and capitalise on the excellent season.

“There certainly are two distinct sets of conditions in SA at the moment – wet and an abundance of feed in the north, while the south-east remains dry and generally short on feed. Heading into autumn confidence is at a good level in the far-north of the state, yet understandably a bit wary in the south where the season remains dry. An early break to the season could see this turn around quite quickly down south.

“Looking ahead, Jamestown will hold two sheep sales on 3 and 17 March, the first sales for 2022 in the region. There will also be significant numbers of autumn 2021 drop wether lambs moving off-shears in the coming weeks.” – Damien Webb, Elders Livestock Manager, northern South Australia.

Market indicators

Table showing 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.

*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: 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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