Trade and heavy lamb prices finished firm on Friday last week, recording big weekly gains despite several export processors reportedly set to reduce throughputs.
Carcase weight prices reached extreme levels at Griffith on Friday — from 580-643c/kg cwt — for medium and heavy trade, and heavy lambs, reflecting the prospect of tighter supplies leading into winter.
Mutton rates also held firm on the week’s last day of saleyard sales after a week in which the Eastern States Daily Indicator fell 24 cents to 364c/kg. The national mutton indicator closed at 363c/kg, up one cent.
Griffith district lamb supplies tight until August
Rawlinson and Brown agent at Griffith, Don Barbaro, said many producers were now running out of lambs, with the next round of drafts until July.
“I think you will find that numbers will be tight from here right through until sucker season in August.”
Mr Barbaro said prices around 600c/kg for the slaughter lambs were “pretty regular” during the sale, with prices reaching the highest levels for the market this season.
NLRS lamb indicators all firm to higher
Reflecting renewed interest in store lambs at some markets, the National Livestock Reporting Services quoted the Eastern States Daily Indicators for restocker lambs as up eight cents to 556c/kg on Friday, for a weekly gain of 13 cents. The Merino lamb ESDI lifted 11 cents to 512c/kg, also up 13 cents for the week.
The other lamb ESDIs, their daily and weekly movements are: Light 533c/kg, no change; trade 573c /kg, up 1 cents, up 17 cents; heavy 576c/kg, up 3 cents, up 20 cents. The national trade lamb indicator closed on 573c/kg, up 4 cents and the heavy lamb indice is at 574c/kg, up 6 cents.
AuctionsPlus reports lift in online sales
Last week’s solid rainfall across parts of Australia is still having an effect on the sheep and cattle markets with a pleasant push upwards in AuctionsPlus sales last week, market operations officer Ann Adams said.
“Wool prices joined in adding up to 100c/kg clean for some fleece microns and it’s rare to see livestock and wool moving upwards in unison to the benefit of producers.”
Ms Adams said 59,684 sheep and lambs were offered on AuctionsPlus this week with renewed interest in woolly ewes and store lambs.
Merino ewe lambs this week sold from $45.50-$114 for the top line of 40kg lwt, North Cowie blood, 10-11 month old ewe lambs with a 5cm fleece, from Broken Hill, NSW. A large offering of Merino wether lambs in the eastern states made $36-$85 with an average of $63, Ms Adams said.
Rates for proven Merino breeders weakened this week, ranging from $53.50 to $140. However as the wool market continues to strengthen, woolly ewes drew bidder interest, she said. The top priced lot for the week was a mob of 5-year-old Glendemar blood ewes, with 5cm skin and scanned in lamb (SIL) to Border Leicester rams from Nyngan, NSW.
First cross ewe lambs made $126.50-$160 on AuctionsPlus last week, with an average of $144, while aged Border Leicester/Merino ewes made $125-$135. The feature dispersal from Bathurst NSW was a highlight of the sale, with 3-4 year-old ewes weighing 61kg lwt and SIL to Tattykeel Poll Dorset Rams, making a solid $206. The 4-6 year-old ewes also SIL sold for $150.
Store lambs continued to strengthen, with 30-33kg lwt lines making $95-$106.50 and averaging $101 or 757c/kg cwt. Lambs weighing 36-38kg made $84-$121, averaging $105 or 670cc/kg, down $5 on last week. The top line of 37kg 2nd cross Poll Dorset mixed sex lambs from Cooma NSW. The heaviest lambs offered, 39-41kg lwt, made $90-$117, to average $107 or 633c/kg. Increasing processor activity led to mutton selling for up to 374c/kg and averaging 333c/kg.
Griffith lambs lift $5-$10
In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 10,000 lambs, 1500 more than last week, and 1800 sheep, 150 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to previous sales, with good numbers of well-finished and grain-assisted lambs offered, along with the plainer types. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed strongly in a dearer market.
Light lambs lifted $5 to sell from $100-$108. Trade weights were $5-$7 dearer, ranging from $112-$141. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs sold $10 better. Heavy lambs made from $137-$168 and the extra heavies sold from $158-$204. Carcase prices ranged from 580-643c/kg cwt. Trade and heavyweight Merino lambs sold from $108-$164.
Mutton numbers were fairly steady and were made up of mostly Merinos. Merino ewes sold from $84-$130. Crossbred ewes ranged from $92-$130. Young Merino wethers sold from $100-$120.
Cowra slaughter lambs $6-$8 dearer
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5000 lambs, 2300 more than last week, and 700 sheep.
The NLRS said lamb quality improved, with lambs in most grades in good condition. Mainly heavy lambs were penned along with a handy supply of trade weights. Store lambs were limited in number. All the buyers operated, with the stronger competition resulting in a dearer market.
Light lambs to the processors sold firm and averaged $98, while store lambs averaged $73. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were firm to $6 dearer and ranged from 568-580c/kg cwt. The quality heavy trade weight lambs sold from $125-$139. Heavy weight lambs were $6-$8 dearer and ranged from 559-586c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $177-$189.
Mutton quality varied. Medium Merino ewes were $3 dearer and averaged $83.60 or 347c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes averaged $115.40 and heavy wethers sold to $120.
Shepparton lambs sell dearer
In Victoria on Friday at the Shepparton saleyards, the agents yarded 1072 lambs, 125 fewer than last week, and 419 sheep, 298 more.
The NLRS said quality was very mixed as producers offered the last drafts of their old season lambs. A handful of regular buyers followed the sale and the better quality slaughter lambs showing reasonable weight and finish sold at dearer rates.
The market reached a top of $165 for export lambs weighing around 28kg cwt. Bidding for plainer finished lightweight lambs varied according to quality, with most sales to slaughter from $92-$116. Local restockers paid to $93 for store lambs showing some frame-size, while very small and plain lambs made from $46-$63. One export company gave solid support to heavier lambs, with pens weighing from 23-26kg cwt selling from $130-$155. Four pens of extra heavy lambs around 28kg cwt made $160-$165. Most of the better kill lambs sold in a range of 540-580c/kg cwt, with odd sales higher.
There was not enough sheep yarded to generate accurate price trends. The sheep offering was very mixed and mainly of a plain standard. A few pens of heavy ewes sold from $94-$119, while a pen of extra heavy crossbred wethers topped at $122.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.