SLAUGHTER lamb prices held firm to slightly dearer this week, despite more secondary lambs being yarded, as restockers and exporters competed across the light and trade categories, and processors fought over dwindling quality trade and heavy supplies.
Restockers are continuing to pay 650-800c/kg cwt for suitable lambs, despite the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicator for the category slipping 14 cents yesterday to 700c/kg.
After falling consistently in recent weeks, the carcase price indicators for trade and heavy lambs appear to have plateaued around supply and quality.
Mutton demand is also continuing unabated, with Merino mutton costing 500-550c/kg in several markets, though often fuelled by skin values.
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS ESDIs for lambs were: restocker, 700c/kg, down 14 cents; Merino 592c/kg, up 4c; light 656c/kg, up 3c; trade 641c/kg, up 1c; heavy 628c/kg, up 1.
The ESDI for mutton closed down 5 cents on 511c/kg.
Carcoar trade lambs lift $1-$3
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9700 lambs, 950 fewer than last week, and 2700 sheep, 400 less.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said the pretty good quality yarding included a good selection of trade lambs and a few pens of heavy weights. Light weight lambs suitable for restockers were also well-supplied.
Light weight lambs sold firm to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $78-$123. Trade lambs were $1-$3 dearer, with the 18-23kg 3 scores selling from $120-$157 to average 620c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were firm to $4 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $145-$180 to average 615-625c/kg.
Lambs sold firm to restockers, making up to $140. First cross ewe lambs sold to restockers for $141 and hoggets made to $150.
The mostly plain quality yarding of mutton sheep included only a few properly finished lines. Most grades were $7-$9 cheaper, with the 2 score ewes selling from $40-$92. The better 3 and 4 score heavy crossbreds sold from $85-$176 and Merinos made to $118. Merino wethers sold to $146.
Yass restocker lambs dearer
At the South East Livestock Exchange at Yass on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9600 lambs, 270 more than last week, and 6400 sheep, 1595 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to last week. There were plenty of store lambs and restockers were buying heavier lambs. A small run of well-finished medium and heavy trade lambs and an improved offering of heavy export lambs was penned. Only was a small run of Merino lambs was offered. All the usual buyers operated in the firm to slightly dearer market.
Restocking lambs were dearer on average, but more weight was purchased. Restocking lambs ranged from $86-$140. Light trade weights sold from $103-$129. The medium and heavy trades ranged from $123-$148, averaging 615-630c/kg. Heavy lambs were firm to $7 stronger, mostly on the improved quality of the heavier lambs. Prices ranged from $149-$178, averaging 595c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to $200.
Mutton sheep quality was mixed, but prices were fully firm. Medium weight ewes sold from $105-$148. Heavy crossbred ewes reached $194 and heavy Merino wethers sold to $168. Most averaged around 500-520c/kg.
Guyra’s heavy lambs lift $6-plus
At the Guyra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2285 lambs, 1625 fewer than last week, and 1795 sheep, 815 less.
The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was fair to good, with all weight classes represented. There was a good offering of finished heavy weight lambs. There were very few young trade and heavy weight lambs. Restockers were reasonably well catered for by the young and shorn lambs. Demand remained high from the regular buyers.
Market trends varied, with restockers active on light and medium weight lambs. Good quality restocker lambs experienced little market change with some quality related price changes. Well-finished, good quality trade weights sold close to firm, but some secondary quality pens were cheaper.
The quality of the heavy and extra heavy weight lambs improved and they sold firm to dearer, with averages improving by $5-$6 and more in places.
Competition was strong and demand high for all classes of sheep. High skin values for Merino sheep combined with the strong competition led to a much dearer market trend.
Wagga trade lambs firm
At the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 26,000 lambs, 6000 fewer than last week, and 10,000 sheep, 1000 less.
The NLRS said the range in lamb quality reflected the dry conditions, with a percentage of the yarding comprising plainer trade lambs and store types under 18kg cwt. There were good supplies of heavy lambs, but buyer interest fluctuated. Well-bred store lambs and plainer non-descript light weight lambs attracted the best competition. The usual export and domestic buyers attended, but not all export processors operated fully.
The market again struggled to find a level, with only the shorter skinned trade lambs attracting the best competition. Generally trade lambs sold either side of firm. Most trade lambs made $124-$164 to average 631c/kg.
Store lambs with weight and frame were keenly sought by interstate buyers. Most store lambs sold from $100-$142. Light lambs sold to processors for $111-$130. Heavy lambs were in reasonable supply, but few weighed 30kg-plus. Heavy lambs sold $3 dearer to average 615c/kg. Most of the heavy and extra heavy lambs averaged 606-615c/kg.
Mutton sheep prices dropped $5-$10, but heavy sheep held above 500c/kg cwt. Light sheep sold from $58-$98. Not all the buyers operated fully across the trade or heavy categories, resulting in a cheaper trend. Most trade sheep sold from $98-$126. Heavy sheep were well-supplied, making $128-$190 to average 511-545c/kg.
Hamilton lambs lift $3-$5
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9957 lambs, 1166 more than last week, and 4549 sheep, 878 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, with more unfinished lambs. The regular buyers operated strongly and demand increased. Quality influenced demand, with the good covered lambs showing the highest improvement.
Prices were generally $3-$5 up on last week for medium weight lambs. Heavy lambs sold firm and competition between restockers and processors maintained prices for lighter weight lambs as they sold firm to $3 higher and more in some sales. Restockers from South Australia paid from $98-$139 for their store lambs. A local restocker also paid from $91-$155 for Merino wethers.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold to processors for $80-$121, with the light trade weight 2 scores making $116-$142 or mostly 675-710c/kg. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $127-$158 and heavier trade weight score 3 drafts made $134-$170. Costs varied from 595-700c/kg, to average an estimated 650-660c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $165-$193, or 620-640c/kg. The few extra heavy 4 scores made $196-$220.
There was continued strength in the demand for mutton. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $82-$107, medium weight 2 and 3 scores made $104-$128 and the heavy crossbred ewes sold from $148-$162. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $179 and the medium weights made $114-$133. Merino mutton costs were 500-550c/kg cwt. Rams sold to $147 and the better covered hoggets made $126-$150.
Horsham lambs mostly firm
At the Horsham saleyards, the agents yarded 8457 lambs, 715 more than last week, and 982 sheep, 1260 fewer.
The NLRS said the lamb yarding included 1100 Merino lambs for the usual buyers. The quality remained good, with well-covered trade weight and heavy lambs in reasonable numbers.
The best heavy lambs sold to $215. Heavier trade weights made $145-$168 and averaged around 655c/kg. Lambs mostly sold from firm to a few dollars easier on last week.
The better Merino lambs sold from $135-$179 and lighter drafts made $90-$142. Restockers and feeders were active on suitable lambs and paid from $120-$145.50. Lighter lambs made from $80-$115.
Light weight 2 score lambs made to $116. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $130-$140 and averaged around 660c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $140-$155 and the heavier drafts made $145-$168, or 625-690c/kg and averaging around 660c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $164-$199 and extra heavy export lambs made to $215. Heavy crossbred hoggets sold from $142-$145 and Merino hoggets made $123-$138. Restockers also paid to $145 for Merino hoggets with a big fleece.
The sheep offering included all weights and grades, and sold to keen demand. Heavy crossbred sheep were dearer and the Merino run sold firm to a few dollars easier. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $68-$102. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $107-$136, or 440-560c/kg.
Merino mutton averaged around 520c/kg. Heavy Merino ewes sold from $138-$167 and heavy Merino wethers made $134.50-$178, averaging 530-540c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $120-$178 and heavy rams made to $141.50.
Mt Gambier’s heavy lambs dip $2-$4
In South Australia at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2289 lambs, 384 more than last week, and 58 sheep, 47 fewer.
The NLRS said a smaller group of trade and processor buyers was active and the market was firm to slightly easier. A restocker order purchased lambs to grow on. Quality was mixed with a wide range of type and condition on offer.
Light weight lambs sold to the trade for $99-$115, with the light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs selling to $116. The restocker order paid from $87-$127. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $125-$155 and averaged 620-640c/kg. Heavy lambs were well-supplied as made $150-$170 to be $2-$4 easier in price. Some excellent pens of extra heavy lambs made $171-$220.
Hoggets sold from $100-$160, wethers made to $154 and ewes to $140.
Katanning market firm to dearer
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8374 lambs, 7869 fewer than last week, and 7000 sheep, 8000 less.
The NLRS said it was a mixed quality yarding, but prices remained firm to dearer.
Light weight lamb prices lifted $10 to $90-$115. Air freight lambs made $85-$128. Trade weight lambs sold for $110-$136. Heavy lambs sold from $130-$148 and extra heavy lambs made to $155. Live export buyers paid from $80-$130 for mixed sex lambs. Feeder buyers and restockers paid from $75 for light store lambs and up to $128 for the heavier drafts.
Young ewes were dearer this week, selling from $50 for the very light and plain ewes up to $143 for mated restocker ewes.
Mutton prices were up on last week, with light and trade weight ewes with a full fleece making $60-$94.
Prime three and four score mutton sheep with full fleeces made $90-$125. Very light store ewes sold for $50 and those with full fleeces made up to $105. Young wethers sold to processors for $85-$126. Restocker and feeder buyers paid $79 for very light wether lambs and up to $127 for heavier drafts. Young wethers destined for live export made $90-$120. Wethers sold from $105-$129 to live export buyers and feeders paid $86-$118. Processors paid $92-$121.
Ram lambs sold from $50-$128, depending on size, and older rams made $10-$44 to processors and $110-$116 for live export.
Warwick lambs to $162
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2381 lambs and hoggets, and 1093 sheep.
The market was quoted as firm to a shade cheaper for all descriptions for the larger yarding of sheep and lambs. The top-priced lambs made $162 for Cheryl Reid of Redhill at Peranga.
Crossbred lambs 51-55kg lwt sold from $148-$162, the 46-50kg lambs made $140-$156.50, 41-45kg lines sold for $132-$144 and 35-40kg lambs made $120-$137.50.
Shorn crossbred hoggets weighing 75kg lwt sold to $165. Trade wethers with $5 skins sold to $143, or 440c/kg cwt, and light wethers with $2 skins made to $86, or 350c/kg cwt.
Heavy crossbred ewes with $12 skins sold to $148, or 440c/kg, and light ewes with $15 skins made to $70, or 290c/kg cwt.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.