Heavy lambs have been noted as being in short supply in the first few opening sales for 2023, particularly in the bigger saleyards of Wagga, Ballarat & Bendigo. The week ending 20th January saw the price spread for East coast heavy lambs to the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) lift toward a premium of nearly 10%, normally at this time in the season it would sit between a discount of 1% to a premium of 3%, so the price action since the start of 2023 confirms the reports of a short supply of heavy lambs.
Compared to a selection of other categories of lamb & mutton in the east and west the heavy lamb spread is the only one sitting at a premium to the ESTLI presently. East coast restocker lambs are running at a 5% discount to the ESTLI, meanwhile East coast Merino lambs are significantly discounted, at nearly 30% under the ESTLI. Normally for this week in the year east coast Restocker lambs sit a small premium and Merino lambs are nearer a 10% discount.
The seasonality chart of the East coast heavy lamb spread highlights that the premium began to widen significantly in mid-November 2022 rising from a 0.7% premium spread to an 8.4% premium spread during the final fortnight of November and for much of the second half of last year spent spent most of the time in premium spread territory.