LIVESTOCK prices have fallen due to short kill weeks, the high Australian dollar and a
pre-winter peak in turnoff.
Lamb prices fell $30 and beef prices dropped 10c/kg carcass weight in the past week.
Meat and Livestock Australia's chief economist, Tim McRae, said the fundamentals underpinning demand for Australian meat remained.
"Yes, the lamb market is back, but it is back from an all-time high of 630-640c/kg, and it couldn't stay that way indefinitely," Mr McRae said.
MLA reported prices for trade lambs fell 34c/kg to close on Monday at 547c/kg, and heavy lambs dropped 34c/kg to close on Monday at 530c/kg. However, early lamb markets on Victoria this week showed a rebound.
Bendigo yarded 7600 lambs on Monday, half the previous week's offering, and prices lifted $4-$8 a head. Bendigo Landmark agent Barry Oddy said the drop in numbers was mainly due to tight supplies.
"I don't think clients held back because of recent price falls, and I really haven't heard anyone too worried about what has happened in the past fortnight," he said. "We've had a couple of down weeks, but the market kicked back again this week and things are back on track."
However, a number of reasons could be blamed for the recent price falls, principally the strength of the Australian dollar.
"The dollar had been around parity earlier this year and while that was still high, a lot of the exporters were adapting to the higher levels," Mr McRae said.
The short kill weeks around Easter were also a factor, with processors holding plentiful stocks.
"May and June are traditionally high slaughter periods and a lot of processors had stock booked up," Mr McRae said.
He said it was important to put the current prices into perspective.
In the same week in 2008, light lambs averaged 299c/kg; Merinos averaged 285c/kg and heavy lambs averaged 349c/kg.
Cattle markets fared slightly better in the past week, but the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator dropped 9c/kg to close at 388.50c/kg on Monday, down from the record high of 424.25c/kg at the end of March.
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