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Lamb supply squeeze tips large price upside

SHEEP industry projections look very good for those who still have their flock intact. But the figures released by Meat and Livestock Australia suggest that many flocks are in fact not intact.

MLA have forecast 2019 lamb slaughter to fall 7 per cent.

These projections are based on the results of the October Sheepmeat and Wool Survey. The 21.2 million head that are expected to be slaughtered would be a seven-year low (Figure 1).

To reach MLA’s target, lamb slaughter will have to be lower than last year in every month except July, August and December (Figure 2).

The biggest deficit is likely to be in May, where last year a record number of lambs were slaughtered.  Our analysis suggests there could be 22pc fewer lambs slaughtered in May.

With slaughter running strong for 2019 to date, there will have to be a significant decline in lamb supply at some stage over the coming months.

The timing of the supply drop off is likely to be rainfall dependent.

However, with limited ability to finish lambs on cheap feed this year and fewer lambs in total, the supply squeeze should come about earlier than last year, which was in June.

Click here to read the full story by Angus Brown for The Land.

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