Lamb supply discord
- Since the start of 2021 average weekly Victorian lamb yarding levels have been running 22% above the usual seasonal volumes.
- In contrast, average weekly Victorian lamb slaughter has been trekking at levels 29% under the seasonal average trend.
- Meanwhile, in NSW the average weekly lamb yarding and average weekly lamb slaughter levels are both running about 6% under their respective five-year seasonal pattern.
Last week Victorian lamb yarding staged a strong surge after the low volumes that were presented through the Australia day shortened selling week. Weekly lamb yarding levels returned to volumes nearer to 100,000 head, which are usually throughput levels that are reserved for the Victorian spring flush period late in the season.
Indeed, since the start of 2021 average weekly Victorian lamb yarding levels have been running at nearly 74,000 head. Compared to the five-year average trend of 60,000 head per week over this time frame it represents levels of lamb supply that are 22% above the usual seasonal volumes.
Curiously, Victorian lamb slaughter is demonstrating a distinctly different picture of supply with slaughter volumes running very much below normal and beyond the lower boundary of the normal seasonal range that could be expected for this time in the year. In fact weekly slaughter levels in Victoria are akin to the volumes that would be expected during the tight winter season.
Average weekly Victorian lamb slaughter has been sitting at nearly 128,000 head since the start of 2021 whereas the five-year seasonal pattern puts average weekly volumes at just over 180,000 head. This places Victorian lamb slaughter at levels 29% under the seasonal average trend.
However, it is a very different picture for lamb supply in NSW with average weekly lamb yarding and average weekly lamb slaughter both running about 6% under their respective five-year seasonal pattern since the start of 2021. While slaughter and yarding levels and directional trends don’t always have to match up the discord between these two key measures of supply for lambs in Victoria is a curious circumstance, particularly when the same anomaly isn’t present in NSW.
Without access to direct/paddock sales volumes and transfer numbers of lambs between Victoria and NSW it is hard to get an exact gauge as to what is playing out. It could be that the additional yardings of lambs in Victoria are being purchased by NSW producers and shipped north to assist in their restocking or that there is a higher proportion of farmer to farmer lighter/younger lamb transfer going on in Victoria, so the additional lambs being offered are not making their way to the meat works just yet. Nevertheless, it will be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses to see how lamb supply during the 2021 year continues to shape up.