NLRS sheep and lamb market in limbo due to COVID-19 impact

Sheep Central March 27, 2020

MEAT & Livestock Australia’s livestock market indicators have been temporarily suspended, under a raft of measures put in place through the National Livestock Reporting Service under COVID-19 constraints.

MLA issued a statement yesterday outlining adjustments that will take place, following the decision to remove NLRS market reporters from physical cattle sales.

As a result, certain livestock market indicators published by Sheep Central on our home-page ‘Industry Dashboard’ will not be updated for the time being. Other ‘industry dashboard’ graphs, including currency, EMI, SOI and others will continue as normal.

All MLA employees (except those in the China office) will work remotely from home for the time being, MLA advised yesterday.

For the NLRS livestock market officers who collect livestock data across more than 50 saleyards across Australia, this means they will no longer attend sales, but will work to deliver market reports remotely from their homes.

MLA has also closed all its international offices (except China), until at least 27 April.

MLA advised that while market indicators will be suspended, the Market Information Service will continue under the following sections:

  • Market reports & prices
  • Trends & analysis
  • Overseas market data and insights.

The way Market Reports are developed will change, however, being written remotely. Market reports will still be available and will still be generated according to ISO standards, relying on saleyard data being made available to MLA. Where data has not been made available, MLA will report that that is the case. The key differences will be:

  • Market reports will be available slightly later than usual – the sale will need to be complete before MLA will have the sale data. The report will be written following the sale completion and after obtaining feedback from saleyard staff and agents
  • The contents of the market reports will change slightly, with the major difference being that fat and muscle scores will not be available; and for sheep and lamb there will not be an estimated carcase weight or skin value

Following the decision to cancel daily market indicators for the timebeing, the indicator charts/tools/values across the MLA webpages will no longer be updated. All existing indicators include specifications that contain a combination of fat and/or muscle scores, dressing percentages (cattle) and estimated carcase weights (sheep) they will no longer be generated in their current form.

A selection of comparable (but distinct in specification) are currently being tested for accuracy in portraying saleyard-driven price trends and movements across both the Nation and individual States. These will be made available to all industry stakeholders via email and/or the MLA Prices and Markets webpage.






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