As the year draws to a close, 2013 will largely be remembered as a year of record magnitudes, as beef and lamb exports have each already reached unseen levels, supported by the sudden, strong demand from China.
Further supporting exports has been the decline of the A$ throughout the year, which, reflective of the times, finishes the year in a much more comfortable position compared to the beginning of the year, at around 90US¢ – a level once seemingly very high.
At the farm gate, however, prices received have not been as high as the previous few years, largely due to the widespread dry conditions, after what were two excellent years of herd and flock rebuilding. Consequently, indicative average weekly slaughter for beef was up 14%, year-on-year, at 144,032 head, lambs were up 7%, at 346,000 head and sheep up a substantial 64%, at 145,000 head per week, causing some processors to be fully booked weeks in advance, creating very heavy pressure on prices.
In what is the final week of sales for some selling centres, yardings were higher across the board, with the EYCI finishing the week down 2¢, at 318.75¢/kg cwt, while the national heavy lamb indicator was up 3¢, at 419¢/kg cwt.