Despite positive intentions among Australian woolgrowers to maintain or increase their breeding ewe flocks, the latest available data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the number of sheep slaughtered was 25% higher in the eight months of this season to February 2018 compared with the same period last season. At the same time, saleyard prices for sheep for slaughter remain at high levels despite the added supply. After remaining below year-earlier levels for more than 2½ years between February 2015 and October 2017, sheep slaughter numbers have risen. Current price levels are at around the 83rd percentile of historical prices.
While sheep slaughterings are 25% higher so far this season, the number of lambs slaughtered in the July-February period was virtually the same as a year earlier. It was around 1% higher than the same eight months last season. Saleyard prices for lambs have pulled back since the peak in January and are currently at the 73rd percentile.
Further details including charts showing the trends in saleyard prices for sheep and for lambs in Australia and the year-on-year % change in the number of sheep slaughtered and lambs are provided in the full version of the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter, available to NCWSBA members.