Sheep yarding rollercoaster

Livestock | 24th March 2023 | By Matt Dalgleish

Market Morsel

There has been a fair degree of volatility in weekly sheep numbers at the saleyard along the east coast this season with volumes ranging between 70,000 head to 120,000 head from week to week. However, a look at the average weekly volumes across the entire year shows that on balance sheep throughput is running much stronger than previous seasons.

The average weekly yarding so far in 2023 sits at around 87,000 head sheep, compared to the average of 56,000 head over the first quarter of 2022, it highlights that sheep throughput on the east coast is running around 55% higher than this time last year. Indeed, it is the strongest sheep yarding since 2020 and compared to the five-year average trend in throughput volumes the current sheep numbers are about 26% higher.

This probably goes a fair way to explaining why mutton pricing has eased and remains in the doldrums. Mutton exports are running above the average trend so far in 2023, so demand for the product is robust, but the heavy supply is acting as a bit of a headwind presently.


  • Sheep
  • Throughput