China and the United States took half of Australia's lamb exports in October as our total global shipments rose 29 per cent month-on-month to 26,383 tonnes.
Demand from China just keeps growing with October shipments of 7745 tonnes, up 26pc on the previous month and 76pc on the same month last year.
Imports of Australian lamb by China so far this calendar year have jumped 32pc to 58,774 tonnes while its mutton imports have zoomed up by 52pc to 59,845 tonnes.
China has already smashed its record imports for a calendar year of 107,856 tonnes set in 2018 by 10,763 tonnes with two months of 2019 to go.
During the 12 months to October China lifted its imports of Australian lamb by 25pc to 67,089 tonnes and its mutton imports by 43pc to 75,467 tonnes, partly to fill a protein supply gap left by a devastating outbreak of African swine fever.
Lamb exports to the US, our second biggest volume market, grew by 34pc month-on-month to 5572 tonnes.
During the first 10 months of 2019 the US has increased its imports of Australian lamb by 7pc to 48,243 tonnes while its mutton imports have dived by 9pc to 13,383 tonnes.
In the 12 months to October Australia's total lamb exports rose 5pc to 279,777 tonnes while mutton shipments climbed 2pc to 178,382 tonnes.
These results will please those lamb and mutton producers now battling to maintain supply in the face of difficult seasonal conditions.
Key eastern states' lamb and mutton indicators have stayed generally stable in the past week with the Trade Lamb Indicator shedding 3c to 757c.
The Mutton Indicator climbed 6c to 583c while the Restocker Indicator jumped 21c to 826c.
Sheep and lamb yardings have increased at major saleyards in south-eastern Australian during the early part of this week including an increase of 11,220 head at Dubbo on Monday and 10,270 at Ballarat on Tuesday.
Light weight lambs to the processors were $15 cheaper at Dubbo with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $93 to $136 a head. Trade lambs were $14 to $19 cheaper.
Trade weight new-season lambs sold from $140 to $192 to average from 770c to 815c a kg dressed.
Restocker lambs were $7 to $10 cheaper with the better lambs selling from $93 to $174, while very young lambs sold down to $39.
Ballarat yarded 41,866 on Tuesday including an excellent yarding 27,887 lambs, an increase of 5252 on last week's sale..
Agents said prices were by 10c to 15c a kg back on last week's levels.
Limited young shorn lambs sold from $136 to $176. Light weight 2 score lambs 12-18kg sold from $123 to $155 to average 750c dressed.
Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs, 18-22kg, sold from $135 to $173 to average 735c. Export lambs 26-30kg sold from $209 to $228 to average 750c a kg.
Sheep numbers increased to 13,979 but prices were firm to dearer. Heavy crossbred sheep sold to $220 and heavy Merino ewes to $201 a head.
Heavy Merino wethers sold from $154 to $200 and medium weights sold from $124 to $158 to average around 610c a kg.
Lamb numbers at Bendigo on Monday lifted by 2600 to 17,600.
Prices were generally firm to slightly easier market for trade weight and heavier lambs.
The general run of medium and heavy trade weight lambs sold from $170 to $200 to average from 735c to 740c.
Restockers and feeders paid from $106 to $164 for lambs with lighter smaller young lambs selling from $68 to $110.
Lighter weight Merino lambs sold from $91 to $144 with the heavier weight selling from $156 to $180.
The sheep yarding jumped by almost 4000 to 9700 with keen competition on most pens.
A pen of 176 Merino wethers, estimated around 50kg dressed, sold for $258.
Sheep made up to 650c at times to average close to 600c a kg carcase weight.
The story New China smashes import record for Australian lamb and mutton first appeared on Farm Online.