Restocker lambs expensive up north, cheap down south

Restocker lambs expensive up north, cheap down south

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The Stock Take: Mecardo's Olivia Agar compares the NSW and Victorian lamb markets.

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Just as restocker lamb prices began falling to relatively cheap levels, in NSW they bounced back.

In Victoria, they remain comparatively cheap, and there is a good reason for the spread.

The spreads between the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator (ESTLI) and the NSW and Victorian restocker lamb indicators have widened significantly since June.

Both the NSW and Victorian indicators were at more than a 150 cent discount to the ESTLI last week.

When the NSW restocker rebounded, the difference between NSW and Victoria was 270c which equates to a $40 spread on 35 kilogram lwt lambs.

The spread in prices is due to the age of lambs on offer in saleyards.

In NSW, new autumn lambs are just starting to hit the market, whereas in Victoria, most of the lambs in saleyards are leftover from last spring.

FIGURE 3: NSW and Victorian restocker indicator and ESTLI. Restocker lambs in NSW moved past the previous high to set a new record of 995 cents last Monday. The Victorian restocker indicator tanked early last week, falling to a two and half month low of 725c/kg cwt.

FIGURE 3: NSW and Victorian restocker indicator and ESTLI. Restocker lambs in NSW moved past the previous high to set a new record of 995 cents last Monday. The Victorian restocker indicator tanked early last week, falling to a two and half month low of 725c/kg cwt.

The rise in NSW restocker lambs was counter-seasonal, although there is plenty of volatility, depending on what sort of lambs make up the restocker indicator for that week.

The Victorian restocker indicator is also not out of the realms of recent results, but is at the bottom end.

Restocker lambs in Victoria don't usually bottom out relative to the ESTLI until August, but it's not unusual to see them at a 20pc discount at this time of year.

What does it mean?

At the moment, restocker lambs in NSW are good selling. Timing the sales of these expensive store lambs will be important, as margins might feel a squeeze if they are held into late September.

In Victoria, restocker lambs are not making good money. Given the outlook for finished lambs is to remain strong for another month or so, it is likely worthwhile putting another 10kg on lambs to get into trade grids.

The story Restocker lambs expensive up north, cheap down south first appeared on Farm Online.

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