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“Provincial live lamb prices as reported by Statistics Canada show an annual decrease in 2022 compared to 2021 for all provinces except Alberta,” says Ann Boyda, provincial livestock market analyst with the Alberta government. “Alberta average live weight price was reported at $242.44 per hundredweight for 2022, up 4.7% from 2021. Ontario has normally been the benchmark market for western pricing. Quebec reported an average live lamb price of $286.98 per hundredweight, down 7% from 2021.”
Chart 1. Monthly Lamb Live Weight Prices
Auction market price volatility increased in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, average weekly price for heavy weight lambs peaked in January at $396.50 per hundredweight, but declined to a low of $182.50 per hundredweight during the first week of October. In 2022, average weekly price for heavy lamb rose to $316.50 per hundredweight the first week of May but plummeted to a low of $134 per hundredweight in mid-August. Light weight lamb prices experienced even more dramatic swings in 2022.
Chart 2. Average Weekly Alberta Heavy and Light Lambs
Boyda points out provincial slaughter has followed a seasonal trend in 2022 but adds the total slaughter volume of 22,980 head was 8% lower than 2021, nearly 23% lower than 2020 and almost 11% lower than the 5-year average.
Chart 3. Alberta Monthly Provincially Inspected Sheep/Lamb Slaughter
“Alberta has maintained a relatively stable market in light of the recent sale of an Alberta lamb processing plant and Iron Springs feedlot to Préval Ag,” says Boyda. “The Quebec-based company is recognized as a leader in the agri-food industry (veal, beef, lamb, field crops, horticulture and grain processing). With Préval Ag’s strong foothold in the international market, the future for the Alberta lamb sector looks brighter.”
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