More bite to spring lamb trade, but factories slow to offer higher quotes

More bite appears to be entering the spring lamb trade and deals are beginning to be done at higher prices. As it stands, some farmers are securing prices of 470-475c/kg for spring lambs.

Despite this, factory buyers are remaining steadfast with the quotes they are offering. Generally speaking, negotiations are starting with farmers at 450-460c/kg (excluding bonuses).

However, farmers involved in producer groups or individual producers – supplying large numbers – are starting to secure higher returns.

Some processors have also moved to higher carcass cut off weights – 22kg in some instances – over recent weeks and this is helping greatly to contribute to the returns being generated.

However, with the weather that’s being forecast, farmers need to keep a careful eye on the Clean Livestock Policy for sheep. A number of factory buyers have told AgriLand that unsatisfactory lambs will be turned away.

Moving on to the ewe trade, factory buyers are starting negotiations with farmers at 240c/kg, payable up to 40kg carcasses.


Meanwhile, figures from the Department of Agriculture show that some 67,663 sheep were slaughtered in approved export plants last week – a climb of 2,283 head or 3.5% on the week before.

A 3,113 head increase in spring lamb supplies was responsible for the majority of this increase, but hogget and cast (ewes and rams) both decreased.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 73 head (-46 head or -38.7%);
  • Spring lambs: 54,911 head (+3,113 head or +6%);
  • Ewes and rams: 12,678 head (-779 head or -5.8%);
  • Total: 67,663 head (+2,283 head or +3.5%).

Official figures also show that just over 2.26 million sheep have been slaughtered up to and including the week ending October 7 this year.

Throughput increases were witnessed in the hogget and cast categories, but spring lamb numbers continue to run approximately 2% behind the same period in 2017.

Year-on-year sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 828,875 head (+22,152 head or +3%);
  • Spring lambs: 1,046,620 head (-19,186 head or -2%);
  • Ewes and rams: 386,705 head (+54,668 head or +16%);
  • Total: 2,262,339 head (+56,871 head or +3%).