MOVING UP: Elders Deniliquin-based auctioneer Jason Andrews and his team in action at Deniliquin's special store sheep sale last week where 35,000 head averaged $152.

Lamb, wool prices to push mutton up

THE mutton market is set to propel to new heights this year as strong wool and lamb prices put a squeeze on cast-for-age ewe numbers.

Mutton prices have rallied to six-year highs with a dramatic 145 cent a kilogram carcase weight climb on year-ago levels, the upshot of tight supply and solid demand. 

“We’re going to see it go up another gear by autumn,” Elders southern livestock manager Ron Rutledge said.

“Processors are struggling to compete with restocker prices. Deniliquin was a case in point – I don’t think a processor bought an animal.”

MLA market reporter Leann Dax said the drought in parts of NSW, Victoria and SA last year forced producers to offload an increased number of aged ewes.

“Prices are being spurred by the shear lack of numbers,” Ms Dax said.

“Because lambs have been making a premium recently, producers are also holding onto their aged ewes to try to get one more lamb out of them.

“This year, merino ewes scanned in lamb have made $212, last year they were lucky to make $150.”