Lamb prices held firm across the categories in saleyards last Friday, with restocker and trade lambs making the biggest gains during the week.
Reflecting the strength of demand for quality trade lambs from declining yardings, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Indicator for trade weights closed firm on Friday at 578c/kg cwt after an 8-cent gain for the week.
The ESDI for restocker lambs gained one cent on Friday to close on 567c/kg, up 7 cents for the week.
Heavy lamb prices continued to lose ground, with the ESDI closing down two cents on Friday at 578c/kg, down 10 cents for the week. The national heavy lamb indicator finished on 579c/kg, down two cents.
Mutton prices also held firm late last week with the ESDI closing one cent up at 378c/kg, after rising 18 cents during the week. The national mutton indicator lifted two cents to 378c/kg on Friday.
The other lamb ESDIs are: Merino 509c/kg, up 1 cent Friday, down 5 cents for the week; light 540c/kg, firm, down 8 cents.
Merino wethers moving on AuctionsPlus
Merino wethers were the biggest movers on AuctionsPlus last week, market operations officer Anna Adams said.
Good quality heavy wethers with a big jacket out of southern NSW met fierce competition from exporters, processors and restockers on Tuesday, she said.
The 63kg and 65kg lwt lines of three and four year olds sold for $131.50, and the 56kg two year olds made $114. Ms Adams said Merino wether lambs sold from $45.50-$90.50 to average $74, up $9 on last week. The top price of $90.50 was for unshorn September/October drop Mulloorie blood Merino lambs weighing 38kg lwt at Bourke.
Ms Adams said AuctionsPlus listed 52,584 sheep and lambs last week. Aged Merino ewes continued to meet strong demand, with prices for scanned in lamb ewes ranging from $85-$126, averaging $107 with most variance based on weight of the mutton return, she said. Young ewes scanned to terminals made $90.50 to a top of $145 for three year olds out of South Australia in lamb to the Border Leicester. Young ewes joined to Merinos sold for $76-$110.
First cross ewe lambs made $92.50-$135.50 on AuctionsPlus last week and unjoined hoggets sold from $132-$180.50. Scanned in-lamb ewes sold from $135 for aged ewes to a top of $200 for three year olds in lamb to White Suffolk rams in Victoria.
Griffith trade lambs steady
In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8500 lambs, 3300 fewer than last week, and 950 sheep, 350 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was again mixed, with some good lines of grain-assisted lambs offered along with the plainer types. Most of the yarding was heavy and extra heavy weight lambs, although these did not display the weight of previous sales. The usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market.
Light lambs sold from $95-$104. Trade weights were fairly steady, with prices ranging from $108-$145. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were firm to $2 easier. Heavy lambs sold from $140-$165 and extra heavies ranged from $158-$209. Carcase prices averaged from 577-626c/kg.
Mutton continued to be very mixed, but prices lifted, with Merino ewes selling from $83-$148. Crossbred ewes ranged from $98-$124 and Dorper ewes made $85-$115.
Cowra trade lambs in demand, stores up $5
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5075 lambs, 75 fewer than last week, and 350 sheep, 860 fewer.
The NLRS said quality was very good in the heavy and trade weight lambs. Mainly heavy lambs were penned, along with trade weights and a few stores. Competition was solid from all the usual buyers, particularly on the trade lambs which experienced increased demand.
Light lambs to the processors averaged $100 and store lambs averaged $85.60, up $5. Medium and heavy trade weights were firm with some sales very strong, averaging from 580-605c/kg cwt. Several pens of heavy trade weight lambs sold from $140-$150. Heavy weight lambs were firm to a couple of dollars easier and averaged from 558-588c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weights mostly sold from $176-$186 and topped at $196 for lambs with an estimated carcass weight of 32kg.
Mutton quality was mixed. Heavy first cross ewes averaged $120 or 355c/kg cwt. Dorper ewes averaged $99.
Shepparton’s heavy lambs dearer
In Victoria, at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 1131 lambs, 300 more, and 856 sheep, 392 more.
The NLRS said quality remained very mixed, with only a scattering of well-finished lambs. A handful of regular meat buyers followed the sale.
The few pens of heavier export lambs were dearer, up to $189, although the trend was based on limited sales. The lamb yarding was dominated by pens of plainly-finished domestic lambs weighing less than 21kg cwt, with most sales from $85-$116. Odd pens of very small lambs made from $23-$65. Supplies of well-finished heavy trade lambs were limited, with a few pens at $132-$136. About four pens of extra heavy export lambs made from $180-$189. Most of the better quality slaughter lambs sold from 540-580c/kg cwt, with plainer types and mixed pens below this.
The mutton sale showed a dearer trend compared to a week ago, though based on limited and mixed sales. A line of 240 two-year-old scanned-in-lamb composite ewes, due to start lambing in July, sold from $120-$135 to local restockers. Heavy ewes sold to slaughter made from $100-$120, with light and medium weight ewes making $55-$88.
Source: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.