Prime lamb farmgate prices have fallen 50c/kg in the past three weeks, and for the first time in 20 years average July prices are lower than those paid in June. They are being driven lower by bulging inventory in China, high export volumes from Australia and the fact that global consumers are not spending. AgriHQ senior analyst Mel Croad says come November opening prices could be below $7/kg, equating to $40-$45/head lower than the previous two years. North Island prices this week are $7.20/kg but in the same week a year ago they were $9.10/kg. The South Island lamb price this week was forecast at 7.30/kg compared to $9.20/kg this time last year. Last month Australia exported 28,000t of lamb, 8000t more than NZ. Following three years of above average rainfall, Meat and Livestock Australia reports the sheep flock has hit 78.75 million, its highest level since 2007.