Australian lamb and mutton prices mostly held their weekly gains or improved further in saleyards late last week and in online sales, especially for light, Merino and restocker lambs.
The National Livestock Reporting Service’s indicator result for the week highlight the continued strong demand for restocker lambs from traders and for heavy lambs among processors.
On the completion of Friday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicator (ESDI) for restocker lambs had lifted two cents to 573c/kg cwt, capping off a huge 28-cent rise for the week. The Merino lamb ESDI rose three cents to 527c/kg, up 15 cents for the week, and light lambs lifted one cent to 557c/kg, representing a weekly gain of 10 cents.
The ESDI for trade lambs was firm on 570c/kg, yet 14 cents for the week, and heavy lambs were down one cent to 588c/kg, still closing with a 19-cent weekly gain.
The national lamb indicator for trade lambs was down two cents to 571c/kg and the heavy lamb indice was down one cent to 589c/kg. Mutton ESDI and national indicators were firm on 364c/kg, a weekly rise of six cents for the eastern states’ markets.
Lamb prices strong on AuctionsPlus
Lamb prices remained strong on AuctionsPlus last week, with mainly heavier lambs on offer.
AuctionsPlus market operations officer Rebecca Lysaght said the 30-34kg lwt lamb sold from $77.50-$106 and 39-42kg lwt lambs made $102-$113.50. Processor activity last week led to a big line of Dohne-Merino cross wether lambs from Hay with a four centimetre skin make $81.50 or 570c/kg cwt.
There was a large offering of Merinos on AuctionsPlus last week, Ms Lysaght said. Young unjoined ewes averaged $115. Joined ewes sold to a top price of $173 for 19-month-old Collinsville blood ewes with a five centimetre skin from Burra in South Australia. These were scanned in-lamb to White Suffolk rams.
Mixed age Merino ewes averaged $112, while older 5-6 year olds averaged $102. Merino wether lambs ranged from $55-$100.50 to average $75.
First cross ewe lambs ranged from $89.50-$180.50 to average $144 and older
mixed aged ewes sold from $141-$162.
Cowra lambs cheaper
In NSW at the Cowra saleyards last Friday, the agents yarded 12,250 lambs, 5980 more than last week, and 2550 sheep, 250 more.
The NLRS said quality was very good, particularly for the heavy grades. Mainly heavy weights were penned, with a reduced number of trade lambs. Store lamb supply increased, with some large lines yarded. All the buyers operated and competition was a little weaker, resulting in a cheaper market.
Light lambs averaged around $100 to the processors, while store lambs were $4 cheaper and made from $80.60-$103. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were $5 cheaper and averaged 570c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weight lambs sold from $121-$134. Heavy weight lambs were around $5-$8 cheaper and averaged from 553c/kg-568c/kg cwt. Several pens of extra heavy lambs sold from $180-$195.
Mutton quality was good. Medium weight Merinos lifted $5 and averaged $78.30, or 324c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were $5 dearer and averaged $110, or 338c/kg cwt.
Heavy Griffith lambs sell to 620c/kg cwt
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 11,800 lambs, 1200 more than last week, and 3500, 700 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to the previous sale, with a good number of well-finished lambs along with the plainer types. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs made up most of the yarding. The usual buyers competed in a firm to dearer market.
Light lambs lifted $5, selling from $96-$105. Trade weights held steady with prices ranging from $105-$138. Heavy weight lambs also held firm to make $135-$164. Extra heavy weight lambs lifted $4-$6, to range from $153-$196. Carcase weight prices averaged from 569c/kg-620c/kg cwt.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was again mixed. Merino ewes sold from $78-$121. Crossbred ewes ranged from $76-$114 and Dorper ewes sold from $66-$110. Merino wethers reached $124.
Shepparton lambs dearer
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 3200 lambs, 1650 more than last week, and 1200 sheep, 150 fewer.
The NLRS said the selection of heavy lambs improved on recent weeks and this was reflected in bidding support from processors. The market displayed a dearer trend, with the best price increases recorded for well-bred and finished lambs with weight.
The market reached a top of $198 for a feature line of extra heavy crossbred lambs estimated to weight about 33kg cwt, with an $8 skin. A second line from the same property made $187.50. However, few lines displayed such quality and size and prices over $160 were limited. The bulk of the yarding comprised lighter lambs that weighed less than 21kg cwt. Most of these lambs from $80-$120, with local restockers paying to $110 for some good frame crossbred store lambs.
Bidding for most of the heavy trade and export lambs ranged from $130-$155, or around 550c/kg-585c/kg cwt, depending on quality and skin values. Competition for the top pens of extra heavy lambs was solid from $165-$198.
The sheep yarding comprised a mix of weights and grades. Some extra heavy crossbred ewes sold from $110-$131, while a line of long wool Merino wethers made from $106-$122. Of the heavy slaughter sheep most sales ranged from $60-$90.
Sources: NLRS, AuctionsPlus.