Sheep market correction follows strong start to 2023 - Spence Dix and Co

Sheep market correction follows strong start to 2023

Aimed at giving you the latest in livestock market trends, our crew here at Spence Dix & Co are well equipped to help you through the challenges of today’s competitive market.

Our team are well across what factors are influencing the market, both locally throughout the Murraylands and further afield. We’re part of the Roundtable group of agents across Australia, who share the latest in market sales and supply data to ensure we’re on top of the latest trends.

With more than 15 dedicated agents based out of our main office at Keith, our reach spans a broad community throughout SA, giving us a good cross-section of industry coverage.

National industry figures from the Meat and Livestock Association (MLA) show that there’s been a sizeable increase in slaughter numbers. For the first six months of 2023, an additional 68,145 lambs were killed over the same period in 2022, an increase of 15%.

The mutton market has seen a 62% jump in the number of animals slaughtered in the first half of 2023 over the same period last year.

Processors are reporting that sheep and lamb are becoming harder to shift at sales, both at home and internationally. Due to the significant supply experienced in the first six months of 2023 we are seeing a market correction.

The increase in numbers slaughtered has also coincided with an increase in the cost of living and this may be starting to have a major effect.

We expect strong supply to continue into the last half of this year, with sheep industry projections from the MLA predicting the national sheep flock will reach its highest level since 2007 this year at 78.75 million head.

We are starting to see the end of the older lambs locally now, but reports out of the Eastern States indicate that they have numbers of old-season lambs still to be hooked.

Generally, we’d expect to see some seasonal easing in supply at this time of year, coinciding with processor plant shutdowns for maintenance.

Widespread promising rains are keeping pastures green and this will hopefully allow a steady flow of new season’s lambs onto the market in spring, and not put more unwanted supply pressure on the market.

Ram sales are fast approaching, with our first sale kicking off in early August, and a full schedule of events rolling through August, September and into October.

– By Mark O’Leary

Livestock Agent, Spence Dix & Co