Sheep update - February 2024


The latest insights and information on the Australian sheep market as of February 2024.

Market fundamentals

National trade lamb prices softened by around 14 per cent (pc) in January. At a state level, prices followed this trend, recording declines of between 2 and 22 pc. The national trade lamb indicator is still 15 pc down from the same time last year. 

National trade lamb prices softened in January.

National mutton prices also eased in January, by 12 pc. At state level, more significant downturns were recorded. In Queensland, the indicator is down 89 pc from the month prior, and 42 pc down in Tasmania. 

National mutton prices eased in January.

Read on for local conditions and commentary from Elders Livestock Managers. For more livestock market analysis, visit our new Livestock Now page.

From the field

“On the sheep front, we are starting to move significant numbers of mutton out of the northwest pastoral district during their shearing season.

“We have a bit of a backlog in mutton across processors at the moment, which has seen prices ease over recent weeks; most mutton prices are either side of $2.50 per kilogram.

“Lambs have been following the same trend, with a backlog of lambs in February, given quite a few January contract lambs being pushed back into February, which is contributing to a short-term oversupply of lambs.” - Damien Webb, State Livestock Manager, northern South Australia.

We have seen a rally in livestock prices, followed by a flattening, within the last month.

“A lot of livestock have come on the market. Processors were struggling for supply, and now they have plenty of supply, and mainly due to warm weather conditions without much rain over the last month. We haven’t really had any significant rainfall practically state wide.

“That is probably the biggest downer on livestock prices at the minute, but it is summer, and we do expect that to happen – it is not necessarily unusual.

“We are just waiting for the autumn break to come through and get things moving again.” - Gavin Coombe, State Livestock Manager, Tasmania.

“It’s remained dry across the whole state, and has been extremely hot. Feed and water are at a premium, and we are running quite low in some areas.

“We’ve been selling a lot of sheep to the eastern states, that is currently slowing down.

“In wool news, the new Rockingham wool centre is up and running, and we had our official opening about three weeks ago.” - Dean Hubbard, State Livestock Manager, Western Australia. 

Market Indicators

Table contains lamb and mutton price comparisons.

Note: States without sufficient data for the current month or without data for a specific stock category will not appear in the table.

Sources: Price data reproduced courtesy of Meat & Livestock Australia Limited.

The information contained in this article is given for the purpose of providing general information only, and while Elders has exercised reasonable care, skill and diligence in its preparation, many factors (including environmental and seasonal) can impact its accuracy and currency. Accordingly, the information should not be relied upon under any circumstances and Elders assumes no liability for any loss consequently suffered. If you would like to speak to someone for tailored advice relating to any of the matters referred to in this article, please contact Elders.

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