W38: Mutton & Lamb Update

Published Sep 27, 2023
W38: Mutton & Lamb Update

In W38 in the lamb and mutton landscape, Australian lamb yardings increased by 2.29 thousand to 174.32 thousand heads, while sheep numbers decreased by 12.02 thousand to 55.53 thousand heads compared to W37. The Australian market registered a mixed performance in indicator prices in W38, with some indicators increasing while others stagnating. The restocker lamb indicator rose by USD 0.16 over W38 to reach USD 1.80 per kilogram (kg) carcass weight (cwt). Notably, restocker purchases of new season lambs at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange (CTLX) Carcoar drove the indicator at that sale yard up by USD 0.60 to USD 1.89/kg cwt. A quality run at Wagga Wagga also led to a USD 0.23/kg increase, reaching USD 2.53/kg cwt. New-season lambs currently constitute a substantial portion of lamb yardings. Wagga Wagga recorded 17.6 thousand new season lambs in W38, accounting for 30% of the total yarding.

Australian sheep and lamb slaughter totaled 607.19 thousand heads in W38, a decline of 11.13 thousand heads compared to W37. This downward trend is attributable to the significant drop in lamb kills (-16.79 thousand heads), outpacing the marginal increase in sheep slaughter (+5.68 thousand heads). Despite the decrease in W38, slaughter rates consistently surpass the 2019 weekly average and are closely approaching the 2017/18 average.

The sheep commercial landscape in France presents challenges in the downstream sector, with a notable decrease in demand during the second half of Sep-23. However, a corresponding decline in supply helps sustain prices, particularly for well-finished lambs. The market continues to discern, especially for second-choice lambs that lack adequate finishing. Conversely, the sheep trade remains steady, with prices falling within the range for healthy sheep. Although demand is expected to remain subdued towards the end of Sep-23, the reduced supply should facilitate relatively stable trading conditions for quality lambs and heavier ewes.

Lastly, an outbreak of small ruminant pox was reported in the village of Gorno Yablkovo, Sredets municipality, Burgas, Bulgaria, at the end of W37, affecting approximately 220 sheep. The sheep breeder promptly notified veterinary authorities upon suspecting the disease. Immediate measures were implemented as of September 17 to contain the outbreak, including establishing a three-kilometer (km) safety zone encompassing Gorno Yabalkovo and Dolno Yabalkovo villages, Sredets commune, Burgas region. A 10-km monitoring zone was also implemented around the outbreak region, covering herds in various villages within the Sredets municipality and the general area of Bolyarovo, Yambol region, including the village of Strandzha.

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