COLES’ forward lamb contracts for May at Gundagai and Brooklyn have filled less than a month after their release.
The contract for 18-25kg cwt lambs is 560c/kg at the Gundagai Meat Processors plant and 580c/kg at the JBS Australia Brooklyn plant, with the usual upside clause in relation to Coles’ weekly spot grid price.
Contracted deliveries are due to start on May 2 and run into the week starting May 23 at both plants.
Coles national livestock manager Dale Pemberton said it had been hard to source lambs of the right weight.
“There has been plenty of quality about, the conditioning of the lambs has been very good.
“People are more professional, the genetics have certainly improved and they understand more how to condition a lamb for slaughter,” he said.
“One of the things that’s probably challenging us a little bit is that the national slaughter weight continues to increase, it’s increasing dramatically.
“That’s making it quite challenging from the domestic point of view, when 45 percent of the lambs are required for domestic consumption,” Mr Pemberton said.
Mr Pemberton said the company had worked hard developing areas to provide the right lambs and were now less reliant on individual suppliers. But there were quality expectations for contracted lambs with inspections prior to delivery.
Slaughter lamb prices improve in saleyards
Slaughter lamb prices improved mid-week, but the continued dry and now cool weather sapped restocking confidence at some centres.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said some major domestic processors were still being very selective with their purchases, avoiding plain or woolly secondary lambs.
Restockers were less active at Hamilton in Victoria, but steady at Horsham and Wagga’s lighter lambs sold to more buyers from Finley, Bendigo, Echuca, Forbes and locally.
NLRS indicators lift for slaughter lamb categories
The NLRS’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs improved for the major slaughter categories mid-week, but restocker lambs lost ground. After Thursday’s saleyard sales the lamb ESDIs were: restocker 477c/kg, down 12 cents; Merino 465c/kg, down 1c; light 489c/kg, up 4c; trade 509c/kg, up 2c; heavy 508c/kg, up 6c. The national trade lamb indicator finished up 3 cents to 508c/kg and the heavy indice closed on 507c/kg, down 6c.
The ESDI and national mutton indicators finished on 315c/kg, down 3 cents.
Carcoar’s medium and heavy trade lambs lift $6
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar, the agents yarded 12,000 lambs, 700 fewer than last week, and 6150 sheep, 1950 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed. The heavy and the better trade lambs were in good condition while the remainder tended to lack finish. Mainly trade weights were penned and there more heavy lambs. Stores were well-supplied.
All the usual buyers operated and competition was good, resulting in a firm to dearer market. Light lambs sold to processors at dearer levels, averaging around $93. Restocking lambs sold from $77-$108. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were $6 dearer and mostly sold from 500-510c/kg cwt. Most of the better heavy trade weights made $115-$120. Heavy weight lambs were firm to slightly dearer at mostly 490-500c/kg. A pen of extra heavy lambs made $156 with an estimated carcase weight of 28kg.
Sheep quality varied. Light Merino ewes sold dearer and averaged $53. Medium weight first cross ewes were $10 dearer at mostly $60-$79, or 280-320c/kg. Heavy wethers sold to $103.
Wagga’s good shorn trade lambs lift $1
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 35,690 lambs, 1690 more than last week, and 7900 sheep, 2100 fewer.
The NLRS said it was a very mixed quality yarding. There were more inferior light weight lambs being offloaded due to the dry seasonal conditions. Grain-fed and lambs finished on lucerne attracted the best competition, while plainer longer-wool lambs were overlooked by several domestic processors. Not all buyers operated fully, with major domestic processors extremely selective.
Well-finished shorter skinned trade lambs commanded premium prices. Trade lambs generally sold $1 dearer, averaging 495c/kg. Merino trade lambs were keenly sought after, with good numbers in full wool, selling from $97-$132. Lighter lambs, suitable to restock or feed, sold to a larger group of buyers, with orders from Finley, Bendigo, Echuca, Forbes and the local area. Plainer nondescript light weight lambs struggled to attract competition as buyers backed away due to the dry season. Well-bred lambs with no skin value sold to stronger bidding at $94-$109.
There were more heavy and extra heavy lambs with plenty of weight and yield, with good numbers over 30kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold unchanged to average 495c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to solid competition, with prices firming as the sale progressed. They made $150-$180, or around 477-495c/kg.
The very mixed offering of sheep included all weights and grades. Heavy sheep varied, averaging 315-333c/kg. Trade sheep sold $1-$4 dearer, with buyers keen to purchase the longer wool lines. The better covered trade sheep made from $73-$95. Plain light weight ewes sold from $38-$73.
Hamilton’s ideal slaughter lambs firm
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9114 lambs, 1908 more than last week, and 4554 sheep, 1615 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality varied from good quality heavy and medium trade weights to very plain conditioned lines, with the continued dry season having an effect.
Most of the usual buyers attended, but not all operated, and prices for ideal slaughter lambs remained firm. Less well-covered medium trade lambs sold $2-$4 easier. Light lambs were most affected, selling $8-$10 cheaper, and store lines fell by up to $14.
Restockers were less active, paying $30-$86 for store lambs. Light 2 score lambs sold to the processors for $65-$96. Light trade lambs, 2 and 3 scores, made $79-$108 and the medium trade 3 scores sold from $100-$123. Heavier drafts of 3-4 scores made $123-$138, or 492-575c/kg, to average 520c/kg. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $138-$167, averaging close to 500c/kg.
The sheep offering had some good lines of heavy weight crossbred ewes and average to poor condition 2 and 1 scores, with only a limited number of Merino wethers. Prices fluctuated, with some light and medium crossbred ewes selling firm, but overall light and medium mutton was $5-& cheaper. Heavy weights were $10-$12 cheaper. The light 1-2 scores sold from $29-$61, medium mutton made $60-$83, to average around 310c/kg. Heavy 3-5 scores made $78-$93, to average 265c/kg. The best of the limited penning of Merino wethers made $66-$81 and averaged around 315c/kg. Hoggets sold to $105 and the better rams made $53-$84.
Horsham’s lambs mostly $2-$4 dearer
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6425 lambs, 1026 more than last week, and 1149 sheep, 43 fewer.
The NLRS said most of the regular buyers operated and lambs were generally $2-$4 dearer. Quality was average, but there were reasonable numbers of better presented trade weight and heavy lambs.
Heavy lambs made to $157 and the better covered trade weights sold to $139. Merino lambs sold from $84-$121 and the lighter drafts sold from $64-$79. Restocking activity was steady, with feeders paying from $95-$118 and restockers $44-$70 for lighter lambs.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $67-$93. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $84-$116 and averaged around 530c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $112-$125 and heavier drafts made $124-$139, or 500-555c/kg, to average around 525c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $134-$157, or 510-520c/kg. Heavy hoggets sold to $106.
The sheep offering included all weights and grades. Medium weight sheep sold around last week’s levels, heavy crossbred sheep were easier and the light Merino sheep a few dollars dearer. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $58-$62. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $62-$89, ranging from 290-335c/g to average around 320c for Merino mutton. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $65-$102. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $100-$103 and the medium weights made $67-$88, to average around 330c/kg. Restockers paid $127 for young first cross ewes and to $104 for young woolly Merino ewes.
Ouyen’s lambs firm to $5 dearer
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 7920 lambs and 563 sheep.
Prices for quality well-finished lambs were quoted as firm to $5 dearer.
Crossbred export weight lambs sold from $126-$177, or 460-500c/kg -, and trade lambs made $96-$140, or 480-540c/kg. Store lambs sold from $64-$108, or 500-560c/kg.
Light Merino lambs sold from $85-$114.60, or 460-480c/kg, and heavy lines made $116.60-$129.60.
Light sheep sold for $26-$67 and heavy lines made $91-$108.
Katanning restockers push young ewe and wether prices
At the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6666 lambs, 1059 more than last week, and 6000 sheep, 1000 more.
The NLRS said all categories of the mixed quality sheep sold firm except young Merino ewes and wethers which were up $5-$10 due to grazier demand.
Light weight lambs sold from $80-$95 while the trade weights made $97-$102. Heavy weight lambs sold for $108-$116. Store crossbred lambs sold to restockers and feeders from $36 for the light weight and immature lines, up to $96 for the almost finished or bigger frame lambs. Merino store lambs sold from $30 for the plainer lambs up to $78 for better quality lambs.
Good young Merino ewes sold for $96 to restockers. Light ewes sold from $32-$71. Boner ewes with a fleece made $62-$81 and the better 3 score mutton with a good skin made $65-$92. Wethers sold to restockers and feeders from $66 for light plain types up to $101 for the quality lines. Processors paid $100 for wethers. Young rams sold from $32-$68 to restockers and for $49-$75 to processors. Old rams made $5-$15.
Warwick lamb market mostly firm
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2460 lambs and hoggets, and 520 sheep.
The lamb market was firm for most descriptions. Trade and export lambs were well-represented in the larger yarding.
Crossbred lambs 51-55kg lwt sold from $109-$130, 46-50kg lambs made $108-$135, 41-45kg lambs sold for $89-$125 and the 35-40kg lambs sold from $88-$98. Merino lambs weighing 44kg lwt sold for $80 and crossbred hoggets, 69kg lwt, sold for $99.
Trade wethers with $12 skins sold to $75, or 290c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes with $3 skins made to $79, or 310c/kg, and light ewes with $5 skins sold for $50, or 210c/kg.
Northern Tasmanian lambs $5-$9 cheaper
At the Powranna and Killafaddy saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1700 lambs, 200 fewer than last week, and 1100 sheep, 20 less.
The NLRS said it was another good line-up of heavy lambs and a wide range of light lambs. With most major export works reporting an over-supply it was not surprising that the market was much easier.
All lamb prices were $5-$9 cheaper, while most sheep prices improved $10. Light export lambs made $48-$81. Restockers paid $49-$51 for very light lambs, $56-$81 for light lambs, $80-$92 for light trade, and $85-$110 for trade and heavy lambs.
Processors paid $92-$116 for trade lambs, $110-$121 for heavy weights and $110-$126 for extra heavy lines. There was more competition in the mutton market, with light sheep making $42-$66, medium weights $55-$89 and heavy lines $70-$86.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.