In 2011-12, average weekly national lamb yardings as reported by MLA’s NLRS declined 5% year-on-year, coming off the back of another decline of 6% year-on-year during 2010-11.
With lower prices, producers opted to retain stock in regions that were able to sustain it, which is likely to result in reasonable supplies of older lambs in late winter to early spring.
While prices have followed closer to normal seasonal patterns this year compared to 2011, lower demand, coupled with fluctuating supplies coming into winter, have governed saleyard prices.
Also, coming into the winter months lambs being sold direct to processors on forward contracts have been well filled, as they often offered prices above what physical markets could match.
There were mixed results recorded across the eastern states throughout the financial year.
While Victoria yarded firm numbers and NSW increased 1%, SA was the only eastern state to record a loss, down 10% year-on-year.
Over in the west, WA supply almost halved year-on-year as producers limited turnoff to rebuild flocks early in the year, while late in 2011-12, prices began to decline, not attracting producers to the yards.
A stronger focus has also been placed on cropping activities due to vastly improved seasonal conditions, although follow-up rain remains necessary through winter to maintain growth.
Light lambs made up 31% of the yarding in 2011-12, which was a higher proportion than in 2010-11. Trade lambs reduced slightly year-on-year to make up 37% of national saleyard throughput .
Heavy lamb numbers were firm on the previous year as extra old season lambs carrying more weight came through late autumn and into winter, with most of the heavy lambs being yarded from NSW and Victoria.
Restocker orders made up 15% of yardings, up from 2010-11, as, while there was high demand for restocker lambs early in 2011, there was high retention, so yardings were relatively low.
Victoria dominated restocking activities this financial year, closely followed by NSW.
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