Lamb prices have hit volatile territory as the market enters the recovery stage from its Covid-induced disruption earlier in the year.
Prices fell across the eastern seaboard last week and this week the recent deluge of rain received in northern NSW will likely see lighter yardings while paddocks dry up and any transport concerns are considered.
Overall, saleyard prices have dropped with the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) now sitting below the same time last year.
According to the latest Mecardo lamb market report, softer bidding was intensity noted, despite a good show of quality at many yards.
"The recent downpour of rain received in northern NSW and the cheaper market last week is likely to see some producers pull back supply and support price," Mecardo analyst Olivia Agar said.
The ESTLI lost 19 cents to settle at 810c per kilogram carcase weight (cwt).
The worst hit category of lambs in the east were Merino and restockers, with both National indicators dropping 8pc over the week.
The Merino indicator is sitting 68c below this time last year at 726c/kg while restocker lamb is 70c below at 887c/kg.
Anecdotal reports noted good quality yardings of finished lambs at many saleyards, but supply is clearly outdoing the appetite, with the National Heavy Lamb Indicator (NHLI) dropping 4pc to 797c/kg cwt.
The last time the NHLI was below 800c was in June last year, and it's now fallen by 190c (19pc) since the record levels of August 2021.
Mutton hasn't been spared from the weaker market, except in Victoria and Western Australia, with the National Mutton Indicator losing 8c overall to 551c/kg cwt.
In the west, however, the market bounced back slightly from recent falls with trade lamb prices gaining 22c to 836c/kg cwt, and all other types except light lambs improving. The Western Mutton Indicator (WMI) improved 16c to 559/kg cwt.
According to the latest ANZ commodity report yardings have fallen on the back of producers holding back stock from the saleyards until prices stabilise.
ANZ director of Agribusiness Madeleine Swan said the strong season may mean there is likely to see a significant backlog of heavier lambs hit the market in coming months, putting extra downward pressure on prices.
"The NTLI has been in a steady decline from the heights of 950c in August last year, in line with seasonal expectations," Ms Swan said.
"Since mid 2021, prices across categories have been mixed, with mutton prices now lower than winter 2021 as a result of the decline in demand from export markets."
However, she said despite a number disruptive factors currently impacting the supply chain, saleyard prices are set to remain relatively strong driven by a strong outlook for export demand.
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