Oz shortages keep lamb prices high

GLOBAL LAMB RI Farm
n Short supplies Down Under to keep lamb prices high. PICTURE: MLA

LAMB supply in New Zealand is dropping in the lead-up to their winter seasonal low and with drought in Australia, pressure on prices will likely remain on both sides of the Tasman until later this year.

Meat and Livestock Australia says New Zealand’s lamb supply is falling in the lead up to their winter seasonal low.

New Zealand lamb production is much more seasonally pronounced than Australia, with an historical supply trough in August a mere quarter the size of peak production in March.

Given that the two southern neighbours account for more than 70% of global lamb exports, Australia is typically left to fill a large proportion of global demand through the southern hemisphere winter months.

“However, dry conditions this year across much of Australia has made finishing what few lambs remain over winter a challenge and are expected to lead to a more subdued and delayed spring flush of new season lambs,” MLA says.

It says pressure on prices will likely persists until adequate supplies in either country hit the market later this year.

New Zealand’s 2018-19 lamb slaughter is estimated to be down six per cent on the previous yea, at 23.2 million. This is driven by lower lambing percentages, down 2.6 per cent on the previous year at 129% per cent and a ewe flock down 3.6 per cent on last year.

This as strong mutton prices saw an increase in ewe turn-off late last year.

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