Sheep market trends

New Zealand’s lamb market may be supported by the supply shortages of Australian lamb in the short term, according to ABSA AgriTrends.

Improved demand levels in the global market for red meat products would provide support for lamb and mutton prices.

Local lamb and mutton prices are expected to trade sideways to lower, in line with seasonality. The market has witnessed increased demand as lockdown restrictions are eased and the weather becomes warmer, both of which supports prices.

International sheep meat market

The prices of lambs and ewes in New Zealand remained during the week of 18 September the same as the previous week at NZD 7.08/kg and NZD4.78/kg, respectively. The prices of both mutton ribs and shoulders also remained the same this week compared with a week ago. COVID-19 restrictions in Australia have limited the meat processors workforce by 33%; these restrictions are expected to remain in place until November 2020 and are likely to cause significant lamb backlogs and hamper Australian lamb production. This could support the New Zealand lamb market in the short term.

Local sheep meat market

The national average Class A carcass lamb price increased 0.5% to R89.13/kg and the average Class C carcass price was up 1.5% to R65.65/kg in the local sheep meat market during the week of 18 September.

Feeder lamb prices are 2.4% lower compared with prices a week previously, although prices are 40.8% higher compared with prices last year.

Prices of dorper skin were up 1.1% to R27.48/skin week-on-week, while prices of merino skin remained the same at R43.57/skin. Prices of dorper skin and merino skin were 6.4% and 19.8% higher than a year ago.