Lamb and mutton prices continued to move upward in Australian saleyards mid-week.
There was consistent demand from domestic trade and restocker buyers, with some exporters making selective purchases at most centres.
Mutton prices also improved, especially for heavy ewe and wether lines.
The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted all lamb and mutton indicators as firm or increasing.
After Thursday’s saleyards sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 572c/kg cwt, no change; Merinos 492c/kg, up 6 cents; light 530c/kg, no change; trade 538c/kg, up two cents and heavy lambs 542c/kg, no change. Mutton’s ESDI was up 7 cents to 363c/kg cwt.
Nationally, the trade lamb indicator was up 2 cents to 538c/kg and the heavy lamb indice closed firm at 541c/kg. The national mutton indicator increased 7 cents to 361c/kg.
Carcoar lambs and mutton dearer
In NSW on Wednesday at Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange, the agents yarded 6850 lambs, 2700 more than last week, and 6300 sheep, 800 more.
The NLRS said the mixed quality yarding had some good heavy and trade weight lambs and a fair percentage of light weights. All the regular buyers operated.
Light weight lambs were $2 dearer, with solid support coming from the restockers. Restockers paid from $56-$109. Trade lambs were $4-$7 dearer, with 18-22kg 3 score lambs selling from $100-$125, to average 533c/kg.
Heavy weight lambs were firm to $2 dearer, with over 22kg 4 scores selling from $120-$175 and the extra heavy weights averaging 544c/kg cwt. Hoggets sold to $114.
It was a mainly good quality yarding of mutton. Merino sheep were firm while the crossbred ewes were $5 dearer. The better 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $76-$105 for Merinos and $112 for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $70-$121.
Mixed quality at Goulburn
At Goulburn on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1800 lambs, 400 fewer than last week, and 1800 sheep, 800 less.
The NLRS said quality was a little mixed throughout, with some better finished lambs. Most were trade weights, with a few heavy lambs. Young lamb numbers declined compared to the previous sale. There was a handy supply of Dorpers and the odd pen of store lambs. All the buyers operated and demand was steady, resulting in a firm market.
Light lambs to the processors averaged $87.70. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were firm to a couple dearer in places and averaged from 485c/kg-500c/kg cwt. The quality trade weights sold from $108-$115.
Heavy weight lambs sold at firm rates and averaged around 465c/kg-504c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs reached $124, while heavy young lambs sold to $123.60.
Mutton quality was varied, with some good sheep penned. Light Merino ewes sold from $39-$55, up $2, while medium Merino ewes were firm and averaged $77.70, or 325c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score wethers sold to a dearer trend and averaged $101.50, or 348c/kg cwt.
Best Merino lambs up $11 at Wagga Wagga
At the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 24,000 lambs, 6000 more than last week, and 6500 sheep, 500 more.
The NLRS said quality was very good in all weights and grades. Trade lambs were in reasonable supply, with more recently shorn lambs. Heavy and extra lambs were well-supplied. There were fewer secondary lambs lacking finish, which lifted prices significantly. The usual contingent of domestic and export buyers competed in a solid market.
Well-finished heavy trade lambs sold to steady demand in all weight ranges. The majority of trade lambs prices were unchanged, with heavy trade lambs averaging 539c/kg cwt and reaching a top price of $141.20. Trade lambs, 20-22kg cwt, were in reasonable supply, with the better well-finished pens making from $118-$135.
There were limited numbers of trade Merino lambs and bidding intensified for the well-finished pens, resulting in a dearer trend of up to $11. Medium and heavy Merino trade lambs made $109-$122. Well-bred secondary lambs returning to the paddock were in limited numbers and sold from $86-$112, while lambs to feed on reached a top price of $120.
Heavy export lambs were well-supplied, with some processors making very selective purchases. Heavy lambs made from $132-$154, to average 540c/kg cwt. Most of the extra heavy lambs sold from $145-$189.20, averaging 532c/kg.
Mutton quality was quite mixed, with all weights and grades represented. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were well-supplied and prices were unchanged to $2 higher, to average 333¢/kg-375c/kg cwt. Heavy ewes sold to strong demand, with several buyers eager to secure adequate supplies. Heavy sheep sold $4 dearer, making from $86-$132.20. Merino wethers were in limited numbers and processors paid from $79-$126.
Hamilton’s best trade lambs firm to $3 dearer
In Victoria at Hamilton on Wednesday, the agents yarded 14,196 lambs, 4611 more than last week.
The NLRS said quality improved, with some excellent drafts of finished heavy trade and medium weight lambs. Fewer light lambs were yarded. Restockers from south east SA, processors and a few local agents helped maintain prices as firm to just $1-$2 cheaper, at around 580c/kg cwt average.
The regular buyers were present, although some were not always operating, but bidding remained consistent, especially on the best conditioned 3 and 4 scores heavier trade weight lambs. These lines were firm to $3 dearer at times, from 530 to 560c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 and 2 scores sold from $60-$105. Trade weight 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $104-$129. The 22kg cwt plus 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $130, to a top of $155 for lambs with an estimated carcase weight of 28kg.
Horsham sheep $10-plus dearer
In the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3958 lambs, 1348 fewer than last week, and 1721 sheep, 1329 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with reasonable numbers of trade weight and heavy lambs penned. Competition from most of the usual buyers was strong for the better presented lambs, with most selling to a dearer trend to be $5-$10 up on last week.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $60-$89. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $92-$117. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $115-$144, and they ranged from 530c/kg-590c/kg cwt to average around 550c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $146-$162.50.
Restocking activity was limited to a few pens of joined Merino ewes, that sold from $109.50-$121.50, and to crossbred ewes, which made to $130.50. The sheep offering included some good runs of heavy Merino and crossbred sheep in near full wool.
Sheep sold to strong competition to be to $10 dearer, and more in places. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $63-$82. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $71-$119.50, and ranged from 360c/kg-430c/kg cwt, to average close to 400c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $97.50-$130.50. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $115-$125.
Heavy sheep gain $10-$12 at Hamilton
In the Hamilton saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 9696 sheep, 1191 more than last week.
The NLRS said the yarding had some good quality sheep down to some very light weights. About one third were Merino wethers. ‘
The regular buyers were all present and, while some did not operate, others showed more urgency to fill orders across all mutton grades. This ensured a dearer market, with light sheep $4-$5 better, medium weights $6-$8 dearer and the heavier sheep gained $10-$12. There was very little activity from restockers this week.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $50-$87, averaging around 390c/kg cwt, while the medium 2 and 3 score mutton made from $79-$100. Heavy export sheep sold from $93-$115 to return an estimated 360c/kg cwt. The better quality 3 and 4 score Merino wethers were $5-$10 dearer, as they sold from $90-$120, or 400c/kg cwt. The better Merino rams made from $60-$80 and other breeds were from $62-$50.
Ouyen lambs sell to $177
The Ouyen Livestock Exchange said agents yarded 8235 lambs and 2044 sheep on Thursday.
Prices for heavy and trade weight lambs remained firm to $5 dearer than at the last sale, with some crossbred lambs selling for top price of $177. A quality pen of Merino lambs sold to tops of $142.20.
Stores and lighter weight lambs were keenly sought after with prices $5-8 dearer. Export weight crossbred lambs sold from $130-$177 or 520c/kg-540c/kg cwt and the trade lambs made $108-$135.30 or 540/kg-570c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs made $108-$142.20 or 520c/kg-550c/kg cwt.
Store lambs sold from $22-$114 and light Merino lambs made $55-$101 or 500c/kg-570c/kg cwt.
The sheep sold firm to $5 cheaper with light mutton making $50-$88 or 360c/kg-380c/kg cwt and the heavy lines selling from $90-$127.60
Restockers lift light lambs $10 at Mt Gambier
In SA on Wednesday at the Mt Gambier saleyards, the agents yarded 1992 lambs, 370 fewer than last week, and 201 sheep, 280 less.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers were present, as well as restockers. Prices improved across all lamb categories.
Lightweight lamb prices were helped by restocker competition as they improved by up $10, and ranged from $70-$96. Light weight lambs to the trade ranged from $78-$102, while light weight 2 and 3 score lambs ranged from $101-$106. Trade weight 3 score lambs returned vendors from $110-$130, at an average of 540c/kg cwt, an improvement of $5. Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $127-$156, to be a marginal $2 dearer.
Hoggets ranged from $74-$97 and the few light weight ewes ranged from $35-$62. Medium weight 2 and 3 score ewes ranged from $62-$82, at an average of 340c/kg cwt, while the few heavy ewes sold to $96. Rams returned vendors from $26-$46.
Quality lifts at Katanning
In WA at the Katanning saleyards, the agents yarded 8000 lambs, 5000 fewer than last week, and 6000 sheep, 2625 less.
The NLRS said hot and dry conditions continue to impact on water and feed. There were more ewes, along with solid supplies of crossbred and Merino lambs.
Quality lifted, with more pens of prime lambs and moderate numbers of heavy ewes. Light conditioned and light weight lambs were plentiful, with large supplies of very light weight Merino lambs available. Most buyers were present but some lamb buyers did not operate due to quality.
Live export orders were limited. Prices for the pens of prime trade weight lambs eased by $5. Light and store lambs also eased. Very light store lambs less than 14kg cwt, most of which were Merino drafts, made $10-$72, back more than $5. Light lambs weighing less than 18kg cwt to processors, feeders and restockers made from $65-$81.50 to also be easier.
Trade lambs from 18-22kg cwt sold from $92-$118, with most close to 490c/kg cwt and the few prime pens averaging 510c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs above 22kg cwt made $110-$120 and were $5 easier.
Ewe categories eased in price, with most back by more than $5, though weight and condition improved. However, prices were mostly back $4-$5. Light weight ewes made $39-$50 and 2 score mutton to processors sold from $45-$66, back $5 to average 280c/kg cwt.
The better 3 and 4 score ewes, including heavy weight drafts, made from $63-$74 to be $5 easier. Restockers were active on light conditioned and longer wool drafts at firm prices. Wether prices eased on quality and selective live export demand. Export weight wethers made $74-$93 to be firm, as were the store wethers which sold from $45-$82.
Ram prices eased slightly, with the best ram lambs making $70-$80, with young drafts to live exporters selling from $65-$92.
Sources: NLRS and Ouyen Livestock Exchange.
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