LAMB prices held were generally firm to slightly easier in saleyards mid-week, with rates fluctuating around quality and the strength of domestic trade and restocking demand.
At Carcoar this week quality trade lambs were $4-$8 dearer, lifting to be similar to rates at Wagga, where not all domestic processors operated.
Light and medium trade weight new season lambs with skins valued at up to $12 made $83-$135 in the two centres, or 430-601c/kg cwt. The light 12.1-18kg lambs with skins up to $8 made $55.60-$105, or 280-613c/kg. Lambs over 22kg with $4-$15 skins made $125-$153, or 496-560c/kg.
Restockers were quieter in some centres, discounting secondary lambs, including Merinos.
The new season turn-off started in earnest at Hamilton this week, with prices up $3-$5, but some producers still watching the skies for rain to help decide whether to sell lambs or shear and run them on.
Earlier this month Kerr and Co Livestock auctioneer Craig Pertzel had been concerned that without rain this month the turn-off at Hamilton might clash with northern yardings and drop prices.
He had urged some producers to shear their lambs in early October and leave them on their mothers to finish and regrow enough pelt for marketing by December.
“That’s when they are going to be short of lambs, in around Christmas and the New Year.”
“One thing we should have learned after a few short sharp dry springs over the last few years, it’s amazing how the stock continue to do alright even though the grass is turning.
“The clover burr and the seed on the ryegrass will still hold the lambs.”
But today Mr Pertzel said despite the sharp rise in the number of lambs at Hamilton on Wednesday, he expected yardings to ease next week and lift in late November.
“We’ll be right, the numbers have gone in the north, we won’t have huge numbers here next week.
“They will increase significantly around the week of November 18,” he said.
“The numbers in the north won’t be a worry to us, we’re home I reckon, it won’t matter whether we get rain or not now.”
NLRS lamb indicators dip slightly
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 542c/kg, down 1 cent; Merinos 443c/kg, down 12c; light 478c/kd, down 2c; trade 501c/kg, down 1c; heavy 499c/kg, down 1c. The national trade lamb indicator was down 2 cents to 502c/kg, and the heavy indice gained 2 cents to 500c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton lifted 1 cents to 326c/kg and the national mutton indicator rose 2 cents to 328c/kg.
Carcoar’s trade lambs $4-$8 dearer
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7500 lambs, 550 fewer than last week, and 2200 sheep, 700 less.
The NLRS said it was a better quality yarding with more well-finished trade and heavy weight new season lambs, and a fair selection of lighter weights suiting restocker orders.
Young lambs bought by restockers were $3-$5 cheaper at $40-$106. Trade lambs were $4-$8 dearer, with the new season lambs selling from $102-$135 to average 538c/kg cwt. Heavy weight new season lambs were $9 dearer, with those over 22kg cwt making $125-$153. Limited numbers of Merino lambs sold to $97 and hoggets sold to $90. Trade weight old lambs sold from $76-$122. Heavy weight old lambs sold to $164.
It was a mixed yarding of mutton and most grades sold $13-$20 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $30-$66. The better 3 and 4 score crossbreds sold from $66-$121 and the Merinos made to $102. The 3 score Merino wethers sold from $68-$84 to average 337c/kg cwt.
Wagga’s trade lambs sell to solid demand
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 28,000 lambs, 3000 more than last week, and 8000 sheep, 2000 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality slipped, with more showing dryness. All the usual processors attended, but not all major domestic buyers operated. Well-bred store lambs were well supplied and local restockers were active over all weights. New season trade lambs were in reasonable supply and sold to solid demand, with better finished lines commanding premium prices.
Well-finished medium and heavy trade lambs made from $118-$140 to average 529c/kg cwt. Light trade lambs, 18-20kg, averaged $111.30. Heavy and extra heavy export lambs were in limited supply, making from $139-$160, or 486-512c/kg. Secondary lambs sold to weaker demand from a smaller group of restockers. Well-bred second cross lambs returning to the paddock made $78-$104. Old lamb quality was very mixed, with the better presented pens making $84-$145.
Mutton quality was very good, with plenty of runs of heavy ewes and wethers. Merino trade sheep prices lifted by up to $14 to $81-$100.20 to average 331c/kg cwt. Crossbred ewes were well-supplied and prices were $7-$9 higher, ranging from 248-297c/kg cwt. Light sheep were keenly sought and made $48-$55.
Horsham lambs up to $5 easier
In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 12,258 lambs, 532 fewer than last week, and 2452 sheep, 1811 more.
The NLRS said it was an average to good quality lamb yarding for the usual buyers.
Better trade lambs sold to $130 and the better heavy lambs to $141. Lambs generally sold a few dollars easier to be $5 easier in places. Some lambs are starting to show dryness in the skins. Restockers and feeders were active and paid mostly from $76-$95, and from $51-$65 for the lighter lots.
Light weight 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $77-$88. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $80-$111 and averaged around 470c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $102-$121 and the heavier lots made $119-$130, or 440-505c/kg, to average around 490c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $132-$141.
Sheep quality was good and they sold firm to a few dollars better. Most of the regular buyer operated keenly. Heavy crossbred sheep sold $4-$8 up on last week. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $39-$75. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $54-$82, or 250-330c/kg cwt. Merino mutton averaged around 310c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $68-$92. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $74-$78 and the medium weights made $63-$70.
Hamilton’s light trade new season lambs $3-$5 dearer
At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7991 lambs, 6214 more than last week, and 3416 sheep, 1548 more.
The NLRS said there was a sharp rise in lamb supply as the new season turn-off started. At least five more buyers attended. Most operated in the slightly stronger sale, along with more restocker interest locally and from Deniliquin.
Quality was average to quite good in the new season lambs, with most being 2-3 scores of mainly light and medium trade weights, but showing dryness. Some heavy trade 4 scores 22-24kg were penned.
Light trade young lambs sold $3-$5 dearer, with the medium and heavy trade weight young lambs firm to $2 dearer. Very light 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $34-$67 and light 2 score young lambs made $70-$93 at close to 510c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 2-3 scores sold from $90-$104. Medium trade weight 3-4 score new season lambs sold from $102-$127. Heavy trade weight 4 scores made from $125-$133, or 484c-510c/kg cwt.
Prices light and medium weight sheep lifted $5-$7, and were firm to $4 dearer for heavy mutton. Light 2 score mutton sold from $51-$63 and the 3-4 score medium and heavy sheep made $66-$80, or 215-320c/kg cwt. The best 3-4 score Merino medium to heavy weight wethers sold from $63-$95 at an estimated 275c/kg. Rams of all breeds mostly sold from $32-$49.
Mt Gambier lamb prices firm
In South Australia at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5445 lambs, 497 more than last week, and 275 sheep, 67 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality lifted, with excellent quality new season lines selling to the same small field of trade and processor buyers.
Lamb prices were firm on last week. Light weight lambs ranged from $79-$100 and light 2 and 3 score trade lambs made $92-$100. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $100-$120 at an average of 470c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $118-$134 and the few extra heavy export lambs made $135-$141.
Hoggets sold to $78 and light weight ewes to $32. Medium and heavy ewes sold $6-$8 dearer at $60-$81.
Katanning prices firm to easier
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5000 lambs, 3000 fewer than last week, and 10,629 sheep, 1906 less.
The NLRS said it was a mixed quality lamb yarding, dominated by unfinished lambs, with prices firm to slightly easier on last week. All the usual buyers attended.
Light weight new season lambs sold from $50-$88, while the trade weights made $75-$97 and heavy weights sold from $86-$110. Lambs suitable for air freight sold from $58-$87. Restockers and feeders paid from $7 for very light store crossbred lambs up to $90 for almost finished lambs. Merino store lambs sold for $20-$50.
The sheep were mostly Merino ewes. Young bare shorn light Merino ewes sold to restockers for $20 and those with a fleece made $91. Ewe prices were firm to slightly easier on very light weight ewes. Light ewes sold for $32-$48. Bare shorn ewes sold to processors for $25 and those with a fleece made $65. The better 3 score bare shorn sheep sold for $52 and those with a fleece made $78. Very light ewes sold to restockers for $12 and better quality replacement ewes made to $72.
Restockers and feeders paid $65-$100 for wethers, depending on quality. The best store wethers sold to $99. Prime young rams sold to $80 and older rams made $5-$40.
Warwick market dearer
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1239 lambs and hoggets, and 77 sheep.
All descriptions sold dearer in the limited yarding of sheep and lambs. The top-priced lambs made $134 for R.R. and N. Potticary of Oakey. They weighed 58kg lwt.
Crossbred lambs 46-55lg lwt sold from $120-$130; 42-45kg lambs made $112-$124; the 36-42kg drafts sold from $106-$117 and 35-40kg lambs ranged from $102-$116. Shorn crossbred hoggets 53.6kg lwt sold to $86.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.