W33: Mutton & Lamb Update

Published Aug 25, 2023
W33: Mutton & Lamb Update

In W33 in the lamb and mutton landscape, lamb yardings decreased to 159.30 thousand heads, while sheep yardings increased to 59.62 thousand heads in the Australian market. Condition variation persisted, but several markets noted improved well-finished lines and increased new-season lamb offerings. Most indicators eased, with the heavy lamb indicator declining by USD 0.038 to USD 2.98 per kilogram (kg) carcass weight (cwt). In contrast, the mutton indicator bucked the trend with a USD 0.032 increase to USD 1.57/kg cwt, attributed to well-presented Merino ewes in Wagga.

Australian lamb and sheep slaughter rose by 5.96 thousand heads week-on-week (WoW) to 583.28 thousand heads in W33. This increase was driven by a WoW rise in sheep numbers by 28.90 thousand heads to 161.75 thousand heads. Nonetheless, lamb slaughter fell by 22.94 thousand heads to 421.54 thousand heads due to decreases in Victoria by 10.82 thousand heads, New South Wales by 23.06 thousand heads, and South Australia by 30.11 thousand heads. The decrease was partially offset by a 34.96 thousand head increase in Western Australia.

Concerns were raised within the Irish sheep industry in W33 regarding the impact of expanded sheep meat imports from countries like New Zealand (NZ) and Australia into Europe. This was amidst persistently low prices in the sheep trade in W33. The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) emphasized the pressure on Irish sheep prices due to NZ lamb at USD 4.30/kg and Australian lamb at USD 3.15/kg entering the United Kingdom (UK) market and subsequently affecting the European market.

The ongoing challenge of subpar lamb conditions at Irish processors continued in W33. Irish Country Meats (ICM) highlighted the challenge posed by lighter, leaner lambs for both farmers and processors. ICM maintained its price of USD 6.75/kg for a spring lamb, while other outlets offered USD 6.69/kg. For hoggets, ICM maintained its price of USD 5.44/kg, while Kildare Chilling didn't quote hoggets in W33 due to low demand. ICM held its cull ewe price at USD 3.16/kg, while other outlets offered USD 2.94/kg for cull ewes.

France’s commercial sheep and lamb market remained relatively calm in W33. This is attributable to ample supply aligning with reduced consumption due to rising temperatures. Buyers were seeking well-finished domestic lambs at stable prices. Sheep transactions were fluid, witnessing price renewals. Experts expected a more consistent demand for store restocking.

Lastly, according to the Uruguayan Wool Secretariat (SUL), wool and mutton export value amounted to USD 144 million from Jan-23 to Jul-23, a 16% year-on-year (YoY) decrease. Wool and its by-product export value reached USD 82 million, a reduction of 22% YoY. Wool export volume totaled 17 thousand metric tons (mt), a 10% YoY decrease, comprising 17% scoured wool, 29% soiled wool, and 54% combed wool. Lamb export value reached USD 61 million, a decrease of 4% YoY. Frozen mutton with bones export volume witnessed a 31% YoY increase to 14 thousand mt. Uruguayan mutton shipments were primarily destined for China with a USD 36 million export value, a 26% YoY increase, and accounting for 59% of the total export value. Brazil followed with a 20% share and an export value of USD 12 million.

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