STRONG demand for breeding ewes for prime lamb production pushed first cross ewe prices to $344 in online AuctionsPlus sales last week.
Scanned in-lamb ewes of all ages were highly sought after, as were new season lambs and young Merino wethers.
Sheep and lamb numbers held firm on AuctionPlus last week at 54,848 head, 362 fewer than last week, with a 76 percent clearance.
A line of 223 13-14 month-old first cross ewes scanned 161 percent in-lamb to Poll Dorset and White Suffolk rams at Frances, South Australia, sold for $344. The early-October shorn ewes weighed 57.8kg and were mostly score 3 in condition. At Holbrook in New South Wales, 132 2-3 year-old Mid-September shorn first cross ewes scanned in-lamb 181pc to Poll Dorset rams sold for $299. The score 4 ewes weighed 65.4kg.
More new season lambs were offered online last week, with February and March drop lambs around 13kg cwt making 800-950c/kg cwt. Unjoined first cross ewe lambs sold for up to $224 and Merino ewe lambs sold for $125.
Young breeding Merino ewes were in demand, selling from $125-$222. The top price was paid for 200 21-22 month-old late-March shorn Carrabungla blood ewes scanned in-lamb 134pc to Poll Dorset rams at Bribbaree in New South Wales. The ewes weighed 57.3kg and were mostly score 3. A line of 350 late-April shorn 28-29 month-old East Bungaree blood ewes scanned 100pc in-lamb to Poll Merino rams at Moree, NSW, sold for $195. The ewes weighed 60kg and were mostly score 3.
Older proven Merino breeders also attracted strong competition. Scanned in-lamb breeders, aged 4-7 years-old sold from $134.50-$210. A line of 235 mid-May shorn five year-old Poll Merino ewes, scanned in-lamb 100pc to White Suffolk rams sold for $210 at Jamestown in South Australia., The ewes weighed 64.5kg and were mostly score 4.
At Narromine in NSW, 440 late-October shorn sic year-old Merino ewes scanned in-lamb 100pc to Border Leicester rams made $201. They weighed 64kg and were mostly score 3.
Ewe-lamb units also sold well online last week, with 389 2-8 year-old late-May shorn Poll Merino ewes with 420 2-8 week-old Poll Dorset lambs at Keith in SA making $285. The ewes weighed 58.7kg and were mostly score 1. At Broken Hill in NSW, 720 mid-September shorn 5-6 year-old ewes with 750 2-10 week-old Merino lambs made $219.
Restockers continued to seek future breeding ewes interstate, including runs of ewe lambs, as sellers off-loaded stock before feed reserves dried up. A central Victorian buyer paid $125 for 360 8-10 month-old late-February shorn Merino ewe lambs from Brewarrina, NSW. A buyer at Bendigo in Victoria paid $160 for 410 9-11 month-old early-February shorn Merino ewe lambs at White Cliffs in NSW. The 35.3kg lambs were mainly score 2. At Nyngan in NSW, 370 seven year-old early April shorn Merino ewes scanned 167pc in-lamb to Border Leicester rams sold for $137.50 to a western Victorian buyers. The ewes weighed 49.3kg and were mostly score 1.
Unjoined first cross ewe lambs also found buyers, with 220 9-10 month-old late-January unjoined ewes selling for $224. The 54.4kg lambs were mostly score 3. Another 220 similar ewe lambs made $223. At Whitton in NSW, 256 July-August drop first cross ewe lambs, mid-December shorn weighing 51.3kg and score 3, sold for $215.
At Forbes in NSW, 225 16-18 month-old White Dorper ewes scanned in-lamb to Dorper rams sold for $225. The ewes weighed 68.8kg and were mostly score 4.
A line of 525 22-23 month-old early December shorn Dohne hoggets at Goodooga in NSW, 60.1kg score 3 and scanned 100pc in-lamb to Dohne rams sold for $222.
More new season 2017 suckers were offered online last week, including 132 March drop Poll Dorset cross mixed sex lambs at Temora in NSW that sold for $125.50. With an estimated skin value of $4 and a 12.7kg cwt the unshorn lambs came out at about 950c/kg cwt or 418c/kg lwt.
At Augathella in Queensland, 715 February-March drop Dorper wether lambs weighing 13.1kg cwt sold for $108.50, or with a $3 skin this equalled about 800c/kg cwt or 362c/kg lwt.
The 2016-drop store lambs sold online last week were topped by a line of 384 August-September drop mid-January shorn White Suffolk cross lambs in Avoca, Tasmania, that weighing 22.3kg cwt and made $157.
Poll Merino wether lambs sold to $131.50 for a late-January shorn line of 350 11-12 month-old wethers at Jerilderie, NSW, that weighed 18.3kg and were mostly score 1. At Brewarrina, 800 August-September drop unshorn Merino lambs, 13.7kg and score 1, sold for $130.
After Friday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s main trade and heavy slaughter lamb indicators were firm. The lamb and mutton Eastern States Daily Indicators, their daily and weekly changes were: restocker 735c/kg, down 7 cents, down 14c; Merino 641c/kg, down 1c, up 32c; light 675c/kg, down 1c, down 17c; trade 670c/kg, no change, down 3c; heavy 655c/kg, nc, nc; mutton 521c/kg, up 3c, down 5.
In New South Wales at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 4650 lambs, 400 fewer than last week, and 510 sheep, 810 less.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said there were some plainer lambs, but extra heavy lambs were well-presented. There was a good run of heavy weight lambs, but more lighter lambs lacking finish. Store lamb numbers were limited. All the usual buyers were present, but not all operated and competition was easier across most grades resulting in a cheaper market.
Store lambs were $6 cheaper and averaged $92, mainly due to quality. Medium and heavy trade weights were $4 dearer and averaged 645c/kg cwt. The heavy trade weights sold from $140-$155. Heavy weight lambs were $5-$7 easier and averaged from 610-630c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $202-$226.
Mutton quality was mixed. Medium Merino ewes averaged $113 or 480c/kg. Heavy first cross ewes averaged 490c/kg or $137, down $20, mainly due to lack of quality.
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8900 lambs, 1150 fewer than last week, and 2150 sheep, 400 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair. There were good numbers of well-finished lambs and a few plainer types. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a slightly dearer market.
Light lambs lifted $1 to $122-$125. Trade weights were $1-$2 better at $127-$160. There was a quality offering of heavy and extra heavy weight lambs and prices were $2-$3 better.
Heavy lambs sold from $154-$176 and extra heavies made $170-$228. Carcase prices averaged 635-685c/kg.
Mutton quality was very mixed and reduced from previous sales. Merino ewes sold from $122-$185. Heavy crossbred ewes made $155-$193. Dorper ewes sold from $106-$156.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.