W36: Mutton & Lamb Update

Published Sep 15, 2023
W36: Mutton & Lamb Update

In W36 in the lamb and mutton landscape, lamb numbers in Australia decreased by 54.18 thousand heads to 153.35 thousand heads, while sheep yardings eased by 3.36 thousand heads to 65.41 thousand heads compared to W35. Overall, the Australian market experienced a general softening, except for the trade lamb indicator, which registered a USD 0.05 week-on-week (WoW) increase to USD 2.81 per kilogram (kg) carcass weight (cwt). Slightly lower indicator throughput came alongside a slight shift in the indicator composition, making the average weight of lambs heavier in the indicator. This situation contributed to the indicator's strength, as heavier lamb prices remained stable while plainer and lighter lambs faced softer prices throughout W36. The mutton indicator decreased by USD 0.33 WoW to USD 0.88/kg cwt. Large sheep yardings in Dubbo and Forbes experienced significant price drops, while tight numbers in Wagga Wagga led to mutton prices falling less than the average.

Australian lamb slaughter declined by 4.55 thousand heads WoW to 443.64 thousand heads in W36. On the contrary, Australian sheep slaughter increased by 5.16 thousand heads WoW to 152.2 thousand heads in W36. In total, sheep and lamb slaughter reached 595.86 thousand heads, a slight increase of 523 heads compared to W35, the highest combined slaughter volume since May-23. Additionally, Australian mutton exports increased by 29% year-on-year (YoY) to 15.86 thousand mt in Aug-23. Similarly, Australian lamb shipments surged by 21% YoY to 31.78 thousand mt in Aug-23. These Australian mutton and lamb shipments are the highest export volumes on record.

Bluetongue reemerged in the Netherlands in W36, affecting four sheep farms in North Holland and Utrecht, the first appearance since 2009. Unlike avian flu, bluetongue doesn't necessitate culling but can cause severe illness in animals. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) temporarily imposed restrictions on the affected farms, halting animal movement and prompting source investigations. The virus primarily affects sheep, although it can also impact cattle and other ruminants through bites from infected midges. Symptoms vary from fever and nasal discharge to swollen lips, excessive salivation, and lameness. Export conditions are expected to be adjusted, impacting the livestock sector's trade, while the Dutch authorities closely monitor the situation.

Lastly, Ukraine’s State Customs Service reports that Ukrainian lamb and goat meat exports totaled 65.3 mt, valued at USD 292.8 million in the first seven months of 2023. This represents a significant 33.1% YoY decrease in volume and a notable 44% YoY decline in value. Ukraine’s shipments were primarily destined for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at 97.3%, Turkey at 0.7%, and the Marshall Islands at 0.3%. 

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