The AuctionsPlus Market Insights (AMI) team has undertaken a year-on-year (YOY) comparison between January 2020 and January 2021 for the national sheep and lamb market - highlighting the complete contrast in seasonal conditions between the two periods and increased focus upon online selling.Overall, the national sheep and lamb market for January 2021 continued upon its robust path, with the sustained strong demand from buyers and restockers maintaining the high prices. Sheep and lamb offerings totalled 313,200 head for the month - a 27% increase in listings from January 2020. AuctionsPlus listings were however down by 45% from December 2020 (485,632 head), as restocking intentions intensified
Between January ’20 and ’21, the dynamic of state offerings through AuctionsPlus changed considerably, reflecting the significant change in seasonal conditions. NSW sheep offerings decreased their share of the national total between the two periods, down from 70% in 2020 to 51% in 2021, as other states strengthened their proportionate share with increased supply. Notable differences in state offerings included Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, who approximately doubled their throughput numbers from the 12 months prior - a result of large new season lamb sales, as producers looked to cash in on climbing prices and demand, especially out of NSW.
WA listings from January ‘20 to ’21 increased by 253%, influenced by ongoing poor seasonal conditions. WA farmers were quick to capture the attention of eastern states buyers as a viable option to bring stock across the Nullabor to rebuild drought depleted eastern flocks.
Despite seasonal conditions changing drastically between the 12-month period, purchasing regions remained relatively stable. The NSW Central West and NSW Riverina regions remained the top two purchasing regions between January ’20 and ’21, respectively, with the Central West accounting for 19% and the Riverina 11% of purchases in January ’21. The North West Slopes and Plains overtook Northern Victoria from January ’20 as the third largest purchasing region, securing 8% of the offering during Jan ‘21.
As various driving forces continue to facilitate robust prices across all stock categories, the 12-month difference between average prices brings the tale of two seasons into clear focus. AuctionsPlus averages for Merino hoggets, young Merino and proven Merino breeders increased 46%, 48% and 44%, respectively, year-on-year. With breeding stock in high demand across the country, the price increases came as no surprise, as restockers continued to drive prices higher throughout the year.
Further notable price increases were registered across Merino wethers and wether lambs, where prices climbed 44% and 32%, respectively. Compared to January 2020, clearance rates for Merino wethers in January 2021 increased from 63% to 100%, as producers with feed sought opportunities to grow wethers out.