In W35 in the lamb and mutton landscape, sheep numbers in Australia experienced increases in all states except South Australia, where yardings decreased to 1.59 thousand heads. W35 sheep prices generally experienced a softening trend, consistent with recent months. New season lambs began to appear in high volumes at some sales, leading to increased throughput and affecting the composition of the indicators. This situation subsequently influenced market performance. The heavy lamb indicator eased by USD 0.12 week-on-week (WoW) to USD 2.95 per kilogram (kg) carcass weight (cwt). This was primarily due to a notably large sale at Wagga Wagga, where older and heavier lambs received limited bidding. The indicator remained relatively stable elsewhere, easing by just USD 0.013 to end W35 at USD 2.96/kg cwt.
Overall, sheep and lamb slaughter in Australia rose by 23.76 thousand heads to 595.22 thousand heads in W35. Lamb slaughter declined marginally in all states except South Australia, where slaughter grew 95% WoW to 24.86 thousand heads. This indicates that national lamb slaughter was up by 11.46 thousand heads at 448.19 thousand heads. Sheep slaughter also increased across all states, reaching 147.04 thousand heads, an increase of 12.41 thousand heads WoW.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) indicates that Irish spring lamb kills reached 48.19 thousand heads in the first 34 weeks of 2023. This is a 9% (67 thousand heads) decrease in the factory lamb supply compared to the same period in 2022. However, this reduction in lamb supply for 2023 was balanced by the substantial 2022 lamb crop carryover.
DAFM further reveals that Irish hogget kills reached 979.23 thousand heads as of W34, an increase of 9% (84.6 thousand heads) compared to the same period in 2022. This growth in hogget numbers is primarily attributed to lambs carried over from the 2022 season, predominantly processed in the first half of 2023.
Lastly, DAFM also indicates that Irish lamb prices recently stabilized after experiencing a significant decline from their peak. Adverse weather conditions throughout the 2023 season impacted flock performance and output nationwide, delaying the availability of many lambs ready for processing. The sheep supply and price trajectories in the upcoming months remain uncertain. However, trends from 2021 and 2022 indicate that the sheep trade typically reaches its low point between September and November before a gradual increase leading up to the year-end.