LAMB prices continued to climb in saleyards mid-week, despite increased pre-Easter yardings.
Light, trade and heavy lamb prices improved $4-$9 for mixed quality offerings in New South Wales saleyards mid-week, with quality grain or lucerne-fed lambs in strongest demand.
Prices also improved for dry seasonally-affected lambs as supplies tighten. Despite processors reporting adequate over-the-hook supplies in New South Wales and not buying at Wagga this week, the National Livestock Reporting Service said even drier trade lambs were keenly sought.
Slaughter lamb price increases were more modest in Victoria, $2-$8, with an extra export buyer operating at Hamilton.
NLRS indicators continue to rise
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were: restocker 523c/kg, up 3 cents; Merino 473c/kg, up 17 cents; light 499c/kg, down 4c; trade 522c/kg, up 3c; heavy 515c/kg, up 4c. The national trade lamb indicator finished at 521c/kg, up 4 cents, and the heavy indice closed at 514c/kg, up 4 cents.
The ESDI and national mutton indicators ended on 286c/kg, up 7-8 cents.
Carcoar’s trade lambs lift $5
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6750 lambs, 600 fewer than last week, and 4300 sheep, 800 less.
The NLRS said it was a fair quality yarding with some good runs of trade weights and odd pens of heavy weights. There were also the usual runs of lighter lambs suited to restockers.
Lightweight lambs sold $6-$9 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $66-$96. Trade lambs were $5 dearer, with the 18-23kg 3 scores selling from $92-$129 to average 522c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs up to 24kg cwt were $5 dearer, while the extra heavy weights were $3 cheaper. The over 22kg 4 scores sold from $121-$143. Restocker lambs were dearer at $53-$116 and hoggets made $110.
It was a mostly plainer quality yarding of mutton. Ewes were $6 dearer and the wether prices were firm. The 2 score ewes sold from $33-$65. Better 3 and 4 score crossbred ewes sold from $52-$102 and Merinos made to $81. Properly-finished Merino wethers sold to $99.
Wagga trade lambs $4-$9 dearer
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 29,600 lambs, 6600 more than last week, and 8620 sheep, 620 more.
The NLRS said numbers increased significantly at the last Wagga lamb sale before the Easter holiday break next week. The quality of the offering was mixed due to the dry seasonal conditions. Grain-fed and lambs finished on lucerne attracted the best competition, but demand was solid for the plainer types. Not all buyers attended or operated fully due to good supplies of over-the-hook lambs. Well finished trade lambs commanded premium prices, while dryer types were also keenly sought.
Generally trade lambs were $4-$9 dearer, mostly ranging from 516-528c/kg cwt. Lighter weight lambs suitable to restock or feed sold to stronger competition. Merino trade lambs were keenly sought, with a single pen igniting the bidding at $139.60. Recently shorn well-bred lambs with frame sold from $107-$118. Plainer light weight lambs suitable to kill lifted $5-$7, with better covered types selling from $92-$107.
Heavy and extra heavy lamb numbers increased. A lot more weight and yield was offered to processors, with good numbers over 30kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold $4 higher to average 526c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to fluctuating prices trends late in the sale, which contributed to a vast price variation. Sales ranged from $139-$190, or mostly 484-518c/kg.
The very mixed quality offering of sheep included all weights and grades. Demand was stronger over all categories. Medium and heavy mutton sold $4-$14 higher with prices strengthening as the market progressed. Heavy ewes made from $81-$135, to mainly range from 300-343c/kg cwt. Trade sheep sold to spirited bidding from $57-$92. Plain light weight ewes were keenly sought, making from $38-$71.
Hamilton’s medium trade lambs rise $2-$3
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7746 lambs, 524 more than last week.
The NLRS said almost 60 percent of the lamb yarding consisted of very good to excellent quality drafts, while the balance was average to plain. The usual buyers and an extra export operator competed in an improved lamb market, especially for heavier lambs. Prices generally fluctuated, but remained stronger.
Medium trade lamb demand was influenced by quality and they sold $2-$3 dearer. Heavy lambs also improved by $2-$4 and up to $8 in isolated sales. Agents from South Australia, a few locals and processors, competed for the lighter lambs which sold $4-$6 dearer. Restocker light lambs sold from $34-$70 and better quality pens of 2 and 3 scores made $70-$101. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $78-$98 and light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $92-$103. Medium trade weight 3 score lambs made $103-$128, with better drafts of 3 and 4 scores selling from $122-$138, or 495-560c/kg to average an estimated 535c/kg. Extra heavy lambs made from $148-$167 to average around 510c/kg. There is no lamb sale next week due to the Easter break.
Horsham lambs lift $2-$5
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7298 lambs, 3849 more than last week, and 2018 sheep, 631 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good for the usual buyers.
Most lambs sold $2-$5 dearer up on last week’s levels. Extra heavy lambs reached a top of $177. Quality near-full wool Merino lambs sold from $105-$125.
Restockers and feeders paid from $98-$114 and lighter lots sold for $39-$75. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $74-$92.50. Lighter trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $80-$120 and averaged around 530c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $113.50-$128 and heavier drafts made $124-$140, or 500-565c/kg cwt, averaging around 530c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $138-$167 and extra heavy export lines made $169.50-$177. Heavy hoggets sold to $107.
The sheep offering of all weights and grades sold similar to last week with medium and heavy sheep a few dollars easier in places. Restockers paid from $93-$105 for Merino wethers and to $99 for Merino ewes. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $32-$58. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $58-$87, or 270-340c/kg cwt. Merino mutton averaged around 310c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $71-$95 and heavy Merino wethers made to $95. Medium weight wethers sold to $80, at around 300c/kg.
Hamilton sheep mostly $1-$4 dearer
At the Hamilton saleyards yesterday, the agents yarded 4810 sheep, 577 more than last week.
The NLRS said most processor buyers attended for the fair to average quality yarding. An increase number of lighter sheep were penned and less weight was seen in the heavier classes.
Prices were mostly firm to $1-$4 for the medium and heavy weight sheep. Light mutton also lifted $2-$6, but mostly for lighter 1 and 2 score Merino wethers. The sale seemed to gain momentum in the middle and latter stages, with more of a need from processors to fill orders.
Restocker activity was limited, though a pen of light crossbred ewes sold for $40. The very light sheep sold from $12-$42 and the light weight 1 and 2 scores made $36-$62. The medium trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $58-$78, and to $90 for woolly ewes, or 261-335c/kg to average an estimated 315c/kg.
Heavy 3 and 4 score mutton sold from $75-$98, averaging close to 285c/kg. Medium Merino wethers made $64-$84 and woolly wethers sold from $90-$98, averaging 320c/kg. Hoggets sold from $75-$98, with most rams of all breeds making $40-$80. This will be the last separate sale before the lamb and sheep sale will combine on Wednesday, March 30.
Katanning prime sheep and lambs in demand
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7500 lambs, 3500 more than last week, and 7856 sheep, 2488 more.
The NLRS said mainly store lamb and sheep lines were presented. Well-conditioned and prime lines sold to strong competition, with graziers picking up the stores.
Light weight lambs sold from $54-$70 depending on condition and trade weights made $99-$110. Lambs suitable for airfreight sold for $54-$88. Store crossbred lambs sold to restockers and feeders made from $20 for the light and immature lambs up to $97 for the almost finished and bigger frame lambs. Light plain Merino store lambs sold from $19 and better quality lines made up to $70.
Restockers paid from $28-$59 for young Merino ewes depending on quality. Restockers and feeders paid from $15 young light wethers up to $101 for the good frame heavier lines.
Light ewes sold from $30-$54, while those with a fleece made $32-$68. The better 3 score mutton sold from $73-$85. Store ewes sold to restockers sold from $17 for very light weights up to $80 for quality ewes.
Light plain wethers sold to restockers and feeders for $60 and quality lines made up to $111. Wethers sold to live export made $74-$100. Rams suitable for live export made $74-$100. Young rams sold for $94 to restockers and processors paid $5-$10 for old rams.
Warwick market dearer
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1536 lambs and hoggets, and 271 sheep.
The market was firm to a shade dearer on last week’s rates for the smaller yarding of sheep and lambs.
The market’s top price of $145 was paid for 67kg lwt lambs from R.R. and J.R. Thomson of Inglewood.
Crossbred lambs 46-55kg lwt sold from $118-$130, 42-45kg lambs made $106-$127.50, 36-42kg lines sold for $98-$107 and 30-35kg lambs ranged from $84-$92.50.
Shorn crossbred hoggets 72.5kg lwt sold to $82. Trade wethers with $12 skins sold to $98, or 300c/kg cwt, and light Wethers with $6 skins made to $51, or 260c/kg.
Heavy crossbred ewes with $2 skins sold to $71.50, or 295c/kg, and light ewes with $2 skins made to $40, or 210c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.