It has been a whirlwind ride for lamb prices this winter. Farmgate prices have lifted by $1.50/kg over the last 10 weeks compared with the usual increase of just 60c/kg. Avid readers of AgriHQ reports will be well versed on some of the key drivers propelling the lamb market into uncharted waters for winter. The reopening of the foodservice sector in key markets combined with tight pipeline supplies of lamb have led to a solid pricing recovery for NZ lamb.
New Zealand was once the global leader in lamb exports. But that accolade is slipping from our grasp as our only true competitor marches to the front of the line. Favourable weather conditions, an eye for the future and limited alternatives are driving Australia’s intention to rebuild its sheep flock. And much like their desire to wrangle the Bledisloe Cup from NZ, they are setting some ambitious goals.
Store lambs have been the victors of the strong upside in slaughter prices recently.
Winter supply contracts have quickly established pricing expectations through to early spring, which has buyers facing a much more promising outlook than a few weeks ago. Prices in both the paddock and sale yards have surged, allowing vendors to cash-in on the higher returns as buyers scurry to secure winter trading numbers.
AgriHQ's latest Livestock Outlook report paints a very positive picture for lamb and beef prices over the next six months, which could extend into the new season. Forecast prices within the report indicate swift upside, potentially returning to 2019’s levels.
Store lamb prices have consistently lifted in recent weeks. After bottoming out under $3/kg earlier on, North Island paddock prices have staged a slight recovery, averaging close to $3.30/kg for 35kg-plus male lambs through April.