LAMB prices fell heavily this week as the market reacted to the high Australian dollar.
Lamb values have weakened as supplies have grown, but even a five per cent fall in offerings last week failed to halt the dip.
While July export figures from Meat & Livestock Australia show good volumes of lamb heading overseas – up 15pc year-on-year – returns continue to be stifled.
The markets were not helped by an exceptionally high volume of plainer one- and two-score lambs as producers made a commercial decision to turn off inferior lambs before cutting two teeth.
This was evident at Wagga Wagga on Thursday, with a considerable portion of the yarding plainer lambs gone in the wool and lacking freshness.
The plainer light lambs fell by up to 15 cents a kilogram.
A major export buyer of the lighter weights said Ramadan orders were drawing to a close, coupled with a volatile $A, which had forced his company to adjust prices accordingly.
It simply came down to competition on the day, he said.
New season lambs were unable to sustain last week's prices with values easing back $5 for heavy trade, while light and medium trade pens fell $8-$12.
Heavy old lambs were firm to $4 cheaper, reaching a top price of $131.
The NLRS Eastern States trade lamb indicator was 423c/kg cwt at the end of last week, slipping 16c/kg.
Heavy lambs contracted 12c/kg to 405c/kg, while light lambs slid a massive 50c/kg to settle at 381c/kg.
Prices faltered at Bendigo on Monday as the $A rose above 105c/kg, eroding opportunities for lamb exporters.
Lamb numbers were similar (including 3200 new season lambs).
Old trade lambs sold to a trend of $10-$13 cheaper.
Although the regular field of buyers attended, most trade lambs sold to weakened competition from supermarkets.
Processors are rewarding better quality new season lambs and penalising plainer quality pens.
New season lambs sold firm to $2 cheaper, reaching a top of $119, while heavy and extra heavy old lambs were $11-$17 cheaper, ranging from 349-373c/kg cwt.
Merino lambs were not immune from the price correction, with trade weights ranging from $58 to $92, or about 330c/kg.
Light one- and two-score lambs attracted restocker competition, making $34-$58.
Mutton prices went south with price falls of up to $21 per head.
Heavy grades topped at $86, av 272c/kg, while medium categories av 282c/kg.
There was a sizable reduction in lamb numbers and a decrease in sheep at Ballarat on Tuesday.
Light one- and two-score lambs sold between $50 and $70, while restocking lambs slipped $14, av $56.
Light trade made from $76-$100 holding firm, medium trade lambs av $99, topping at $106/hd.
Due to the reduced yarding and steady demand, extra-heavy lambs held firm.
Unlike the lamb market, restockers were very active and keen to secure ewes, paying from $81-$103.
Heavy grades of mutton fell $9-$17, av $68 or 227c/kg cwt.
Heavy wethers returning to the paddock reached $105, while heavy wethers to kill only managed a top of $72.
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