LIGHT slaughter lamb prices held firm to slight dearer in saleyards mid-week, driven by strong export demand, supported by restockers and domestic trade buyers.
With more new season lambs coming into saleyards and fewer quality old lambs, trade and heavy weight prices were slightly cheaper in many centres, though still generally 550-630c/kg cwt.
Export demand was consistent across the major saleyards for finished and secondary 12-18kg lambs, supported in some centres by domestic trade buyers, and restockers and lot feeders with empty paddocks but an eye on the season, seeking a short term turn-over.
At Dubbo on Monday, around 20 percent or 7847 of the 39,380 lambs yarded were suckers, with the National Livestock Reporting Service quoting lines under 18kg cwt with $1-$10 skins making $64-$111, or 531-606c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade weights with $1-$11 skins sold from $104-$148, or 495-653c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg suckers with $11 skins made $145-$156, or 580-604c/kg.
Exporters looking for light lambs
Dubbo stock agent Angus Barlow from Barlow and Eadon Schute Bell said there are more suckers coming in, including well-shaped Dorpers and light lambs under 18kg sought by the Midfield Group and others for export slaughter.
“We are seeing pretty good buying support, they’ve just all pulled back their rates I suppose, but it I still a pretty good return — $145 for a sucker 16-20 weeks old.”
At Corowa on Monday, around 48pc or 3500 of the 7183 lambs yarded were new season lines and the 12-18kg drafts with $1-$10 skins sold from $70.20-$116, or 427-600c/kg. The trade weights with $10-$12 skins made $112-$145, or 545-607c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg drafts with $12-$13 skins ranged from $18-$163, or 550-596c/kg.
Tamworth’s light new season lambs with $2-$6 skins sold from $94-$110, or 550-600c/kg, the trade weights with $1-$10 skins made $125-$137, or 605-615c/kg, and heavier lines with $10 skins ranged from $141-$165, or 582-620c/kg.
At Forbes on Tuesday, 44pc or 14,100 of the 31,750 lambs were new season drafts and the 12-18 drafts with $1-$10 skins made $85-$115, or 600-663c/kg. Trade weight suckers with $1-$11 skins made $110-$156, or 570-659c/kg and the heavy weights with $9-$12 skins ranged from $148-$169, or 579-638c/kg.
Forbes district restockers competing on light lambs
Landmark Forbes livestock manager Geoff Rice said there was interstate export and local processor demand for the light lambs, but also buying pressure from district producers who have sold lambs looking to restock with 17-18kg lambs.
“Our restockers are looking short-term just because of the season and El Nino, whether it be take it home, shear and turn into a trade weight.
“A lot of our lot feeders have stepped out of taking lambs into the export weights, opting to put a bit of shine on them and put them back in.”
Bendigo yards 5070 suckers
In Victoria at Bendigo, Elders livestock manager Nigel Starick said there was general export and domestic demand for the light slaughter suckers with prices lifting $5-$7. Exporter processors Midfield and Hardwicks were active on the light sucker and old secondary lambs, but there was only light restocker demand
About half or 5070 of the 9895 lambs yarded at Bendigo were new season drafts on Monday. The 12.1-18kg suckers with skins up to $8 made $69.60-$115, or 497-600c/kg. The trade weight lambs with $6-$11 skins made $116-$146, or 541-643c/kg, and 22.1-26kg lambs with skins valued at up to $12 sold from $144-$166, or 592-642c/kg.
Ballarat yarded a few new season drafts and 16.1-18kg lambs with $8 skins made $110-$121, or 618-628c/kg.
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin, the 12-18kg new season lambs with $1-$8 skins sold from $68-$116, or 511-667c/kg, and the trade weights with $3-$8 skins made $105-$143, or 490-658c/kg. The 22.1-26kg suckers with $7-$9 skins sold from $136-$162, or 557-613c/kg.
Naracoorte’s light new season lambs, 12.1-16kg with $5 skins, made $72-$82, or 479-481c/kg, and the trade weights with $5-$6 skins made $123-$146, or 585-636c/kg.
In Western Australia at Muchea on Tuesday, around 30pc or 1170 of the 5570 lambs yarded were new season drafts. The 12.1-18kg lines with $1-$2 skins made $65-$89, or 427-523c/kg, and the trade weights with $1-$4 skins sold from $92-$126, or 474-566c/kg. The 22.1-24kg suckers with $3-$4 skins sold from $118-$126, or 475-533c/kg.
Over-the-hook rates lower in Victoria, SA and NSW
The NLRS said trade weight over-the-hook rats for 2-4 score lambs in NSW were marginally lower this week, with most rates hovering around 560-580c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lamb rates were mostly firm. Mutton rates across all weight ranges were unchanged at 270-400c/kg.
In Victoria, the NLRS said OTH rates for light weight over-the-hook lamb rates were lower. However trade weight lines edged slightly higher to 590-620c/kg. Heavy weight lambs are firm to marginally cheaper. Mutton rates across all weight ranges were unchanged at 310-350c/kg.
In South Australia, the NLRS said rates eased across the majority of over-the-hook lamb and mutton categories. Old trade weight lambs are now averaging 580¢/kg cwt, down 27c/kg, and the 12-18kg lambs lost 40c/kg to 560c/kg.
Tasmania’s OTH rates for lamb and mutton were unchanged, and Western Australia’s quotes were unavailable when this report was published.
NLRS indicators drift down for trade and heavy lambs
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS quoted all Eastern States Daily Indicators for most lamb categories as lower, except for light slaughter lambs.
The lamb ESDIs are: restocker, 545c/kg, down 7 cents; Merino 519c/kg, down 3c; light 545c/kg, up 2c; trade 582c/kg, down 1c; heavy 585c/kg, down 6c. The national trade lamb indicator closed down 1 cent to 583c/kg and the heavy lamb indice is 5 cents lower at 586c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton is 2 cents lower on 373c/kg and the national mutton indicator closed down 3 cents to 368c/kg.
Dubbo’s trade lambs sell $1-$4 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 39,380 lambs, 3960 more than last week, and 6100 sheep, 1170 fewer.
The NLRS said all weights and grades were represented in a fair to good quality yarding, with some good runs of new season lambs and heavy weight old lines. Merino lambs and hoggets were also well-supplied.
Light weight lambs sold firm, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $74-$115. Trade weight lambs were $1-$4 cheaper, with the new season lines making $104-$148. Heavy weight lambs were firm to $3 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $119-$198 to average 591c/kg cwt. Heavy weight new season lambs sold to $156.
Merino lambs were firm to $3 cheaper, with the trade weights making $95-$131 while the heavier weight Merinos to $160. Hoggets sold to $126.
It was a plainer quality yarding of sheep. Most grades sold $4-$8 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $58-$84 and the better 3 and 4 score crossbreds and Merinos made $76-$125. Prime condition Merino wethers sold from $101-$126.
Corowa’s new season lambs $4-$7 cheaper
At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 7183 lambs, 1312 fewer than last week, and 1991 sheep, 1036 less.
The NLRS said lamb numbers eased, but nearly 3500 new season lambs were offered. The quality of the new season lambs was fair to good, with some lacking condition. Trade and heavy weights were best supplied. The old lambs were mainly heavy weights with a good run of crop-finished trade weights. Not all the usual buyers operated in a cheaper market.
New season lambs were $4-$7 cheaper for the trade weights and firm on the better heavy weights. Medium and heavy trade weights sold from $112-$145 and heavy weights, 22kg and heavier, sold from $138-$165, or 565-580c/kg cwt. Old trade lambs were $4-$7 cheaper at $105-$133, or 545-565c/kg. Heavy lambs sold from $123-$167 and extra heavy lambs made to $178, with most making 520-560c/kg. Light Merino lambs went against the cheaper trend to gain $5 and range from $71-$99.
The sheep were mostly Merino ewes. Medium weight sheep held firm and heavy weights eased, with a larger number of shorn sheep yarded. Medium weights sold from $70-$106 and heavy Merino ewes made $100-$130. Heavy crossbreds sold to $118. Most ranged from 360-400c/kg cwt.
Tamworth’s new season lambs lift $4
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3450 lambs, 50 more than last week, and 1800 sheep, 1000 more.
The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was generally good with more of well-finished young lines. Heavy old lambs were also well-supplied. The same buyers as the previous sale operated.
Demand from the trade for well-finished young lambs was strong, with the market trend firm to slightly dearer, up to $4. The dearer trend carried through to the well-finished trade and heavyweight old lambs. There was some variation in average price change, with quality being a contributing factor.
The quality and condition of the sheep was mixed and ranged from very plain to some considered by buyers as too well-finished. The market trend was firm to dearer with little change on heavyweights.
Forbes’ light lambs sell firm
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 31,750 lambs, 4019 fewer than last week, and 12,800 sheep, 7270 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality continued to be mixed, with a good number of well-finished lambs and some plainer types. The usual buyers competed in a market that fluctuated around quality, but averaged firm to $3 cheaper. Agents offered 14,100 fair quality new season lambs.
Light lambs held firm, selling from $114-$120. Trade weights eased $2 to $121-$156. Heavy lambs were $2-$3 easier at $148-$169. Carcase prices averaged 623c/kg cwt. Old light lambs sold from $102-$115. Trade weights were firm to $2 easier at $114-$149. Heavy and extra heavy weights were firm to $3 easier. Heavy lambs sold from $145-$156 and extra heavies made $152-$205. Carcase prices ranged from 563-618c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was again mixed, though improved slightly on previous sales. Prices eased $2-$4. Merino ewes sold from $73-$118. Crossbreds made $76-$125 and Dorper ewes ranged from $75-$96. Merino wethers made $77-$144.
Inverell competition strong
At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents 2749 lambs, 166 fewer than the previous sale, and 1030 sheep, 148 more.
The NLRS said there was a good supply of trade weight lambs and several heavy lines. Quality was generally good, although there were a few pens of light weight lambs. Competition was strong, with trade lambs selling firm, while heavy trade and heavy lambs sold $4 dearer.
The sheep were mainly medium weight ewes and wethers, with several pens in full wool. Only a few pens of light sheep were offered. The market held up firm, although some light sheep struggled to maintain last fortnight’s prices.
Bendigo’s secondary and light slaughter lambs $2-$10 dearer
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 9895 lambs, 2737 more than last week, and 8523 sheep, 2466 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said more new season lamb drafts came forward and comprised about half the yarding. All the regular buyers attended but not all operated at capacity, with the major export companies tending to be the most selective with their support. Price results varied.
The lead drafts of young lambs were mostly firm to a few dollars cheaper than a week ago, while lighter weight pens averaged $5-$7 dearer. A similar trend was evident in the old lamb section, with heavier slaughter lambs cheaper but secondary trade and lightweight kill lambs averaging $2-$10 dearer and more in places. Quality was a factor behind some of the price changes.
The best price for new season lambs was $166 for a pen estimated at about 26kg cwt. Export weight old lambs also sold to $166. Processor demand for lighter weight slaughter lambs was robust and all categories of old and new season lambs under 20kg trended dearer, with most sales from $88-$120. There was limited restocker competition at up to $101.60 for new season crossbred lambs. The lead pens of new season lambs weighing 22-26kg sold from $144-$166, with most pens making an estimated 600-620c/kg cwt and odd sales higher. The quality and carcase finish of old lambs was very mixed, and most of the heavier pens were offered in smaller lot numbers as tail-end drafts come through the system. The limited selection of lambs over 24kg trended cheaper at $136-$155 for most. Trade weight and lighter kill lambs, including Merinos, were keenly supported, with most selling above $90.
Most of the sheep were recently shorn Merino and crossbred ewes. The big lines of Merino sheep recorded the best price gains, while some heavy weight crossbred ewes sold to $121. A range of 320-380c/kg covered most mutton sales, with select lines of Merinos over 400c/kg cwt.
Ballarat’s light lambs sell firm to dearer
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4648 lambs, 568 more than last week, and 3838 sheep, 1735 more.
The NLRS said most of the usual buyers attended, although not all operated fully. Quality was plain to average as the winter yardings continued, with just a few pens of better finished lambs that sold mostly unchanged.
Lighter lambs sold from firm to a few dollars dearer in places, with the heavier lambs selling from firm to a few dollars cheaper. Two pens of new season young lambs were yarded and they sold to $121 at around 620c/kg cwt. Feeders paid from $80-$135 for lambs mostly going onto feed crops, with just a few pens of restocker lambs making to $73. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $85-$95. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $94-$124 and averaged around 580c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs ranged from $122-$148, or 520-610c/kg to average around 570c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs made $145-$170. Light trade Merino lambs sold from $75-$105 and heavy hoggets made to $120.
The sheep offering included several runs of heavy crossbred that sold $5-$8 easier. The increased offering of lighter shorn Merino ewes sold close to firm. Medium weight Merino wethers sold a few dollars easier at around 370c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep made $53-$81.50, with very light 1 scores selling from $26-$54. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $72-$90.50, or 300-395c/kg. Merino ewe mutton averaged around 370c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $75-$130, with medium weight Merino wethers making $68-$103, to average around 370c/kg. Rams of all weights sold from $42.50-$88.50.
Dublin’s ultra-light weight lambs lift $6
In South Australia at the SA Livestock Exchange in Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,131 lambs, 869 fewer than last week, and 2456 sheep, 1544 less.
The NLRS said the mixed quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to solid competition from the usual local and interstate trade and processor buyers. Fewer new season lambs, but more heavy weight drafts were yarded. Processors were keen to acquire numbers at similar rates to last week. Trade buyers were active on trade weight crossbreds and feeders bid strongly on light weights to feed on. A good selection of new season Merino lambs were yarded and demand was strong from restockers and processors.
Ultra-light weight new season crossbred lambs sold $6 dearer to feeders at $61-$88, and light weights sold from $80-$94. Light weight 4 scores sold $4 cheaper to trade buyers at $105-$133, to average 596c/kg. Light trade weight 4 scores lifted $3 to $126-$143, to average 599c/kg. Heavy trade weights eased very marginally to $136-$153, averaging 593c/kg. The few heavy weights sold to $162, to average 608c/kg. Light weight Merino new seasons lambs sold to restockers and feeders for $42-$68 and trade weight 3 scores made $94-$118. Old trade weight crossbreds lifted $3 to $120-$144, and heavy weights sold from $125-$160. Trade weight old Merino lambs sold from $105-$120, averaging 472c/kg, and heavy weights lifted $7 to $121-$147, to average 500c/kg. Heavy weight Merino hoggets sold from $105-$125 and crossbreds made $107-$120.
The good quality yarding of sheep sold to reduced processor competition. Light weight 2 score ewes eased $2 to $55-$78, and heavy weight 3 scores eased $3 to $72-$100, to average 304c/kg. Heavy weight wethers lifted sharply to $95-$120, to average 397c/kg. Heavy weight rams sold from $47-$94.
Naracoorte’s better trade lambs sell $2 easier
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1249 lambs, 324 fewer than last week, and 550 sheep, 570 less.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processors attended, but not all were active. Restockers only had a limited impact. Quality was in short supply, with weight and condition lacking in most pens, and prices eased across the market.
A small number of new season sucker lambs were offered, with light weights making $72-$82 and the heavier selection $123-$146. Light weight lambs to the trade sold from $72-$92, with light Merinos mainly making $78-$89. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs ranged from $94-$110, to be up to $7 easier. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $112-$138, at an average of 580c/kg cwt, to be a marginal $2 easier. The few heavy 4 score lambs made $138-$150. Light weight hoggets sold from $60-$88 and heavier types $102-$110.
Medium weight ewe prices fell up to $10 to $63-$82, at an average of 310c/kg cwt. The heavier ewes ranged from $80-$100. Rams made $60-$95.
Muchea light lambs going to restockers
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 5570 lambs, 970 more than last week, and 6230 sheep, 2630 more.
The NLRS said a good number of new season lambs was offered. Quality was much better, with some very good young lambs and a reasonable supply of good old season lambs. All buyers were active and prices were higher across most categories.
Light new season lambs to restockers made $45-$66. Light processor and trade new seasons lambs sold $4-$6 dearer at $80-$126.50. Store old lambs, including Merinos, sold from $43-$81 to restockers. Light lambs suitable for air freight processors and restocker orders made $65-$96, equal to last week. Trade lambs made $88-$118, with the better drafts slightly dearer. Heavy lambs sold to $137.50 and were firm to $8 dearer.
There was big increase in the ewe yarding and prices were dearer due to quality and weight. Ewe mutton quality, weight and wool length improved, with some excellent heavy weight drafts offered. Light ewe mutton made $35-$63, with the 2 score mutton making $54-$80 to processors, to be $3 dearer. Better conditioned and heavy weight ewes made $74-$105, which was dearer per head though the cwt price was close to firm. Restockers paid $42-$102 for suitable drafts, with the dearest ewes being close to full wool.
Live exporters were very strong on wether and ram drafts this week. Wether prices lifted $7 with strong live export demand. Heavy bare shorn export wethers mostly sold from $86-$115. Lines with a big skin made to $138. Lighter weight and store wethers sold firm to $10 dearer, making $58-$110. Ram lambs sold from $70-$102 and young rams for export made mostly $65-$95. Older rams were dearer at $51-$85 due to competition from export buyers.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.