Heavy lamb indicator hits 605c/kg as domestic and export processors compete for quality

Sheep Central, June 1, 2016
These August-September drop ealry May shorn Merino wethers, 13.3kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $85 at Willaura, Victoria, on AuctionsPlus this week.

These August-September drop ealry May shorn Merino wethers, 13.3kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $85 at Willaura, Victoria, on AuctionsPlus this week.

LIGHT, trade and heavy slaughter lambs consistently made more 600c/kg cwt in major eastern states saleyards early this week as competition for remaining supplies intensified.

At Dubbo the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted 24.1-26kg cwt lambs with $5-$12 skins, representing about 7 percent of the yarding, as selling for $155-$196, or 550-715c/kg, averaging 614c/kg.

Most trade, heavy and extra heavy lambs being offered are making 540-680c/kg. Some light slaughter lambs are also selling to extreme rates of up to 800c/kg underpinned by exporters filling Middle Eastern religious festival orders, restockers and skin values.

Agents are reporting fewer lambs and sheep are being consigned direct to works as over-the-hook rates struggle to stay with saleyard price movements.

Over-the-hook rates improve

In New South Wales, the NLRS reported over-the-hook lamb and mutton indicators as lifting this week after saleyard prices over the previous weeks improved. A no quote is given for heavy weight mutton as a regular contributor is currently not quoting that category.

NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 490-600c/kg, up 28 cents; 20-22kg, 520-600c/kg, up 28c; 22-24c/kg, 520-560c/kg, up 20c; 24-26kg, 510-560c/kg, up 18c; Merinos 16-22kg, 420-500c/kg, no change. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 280-320c/kg, up 23c; 18-24kg, 300-380c/kg, up 25c; 24kg+, 320-400c/kg.

In Victoria, the NLRS reported that over-the-hook lamb indicators increased across all categories this week, with trade weights averaging 600c/kg cwt. Contributors also lifted mutton quotes, with the medium weight mutton indicator averaging 347c/kg cwt. No trend is reported this week, due to a regular contributor not quoting.

Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 600-620c/kg; 18-22kg, 580-620c/kg; 22-24kg, 580c/kg; 24-26kg+, 540-580c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 290-340c/kg; 18-24kg, 320-370c/kg; 24kg+, 260-310c/kg.

In South Australia, the NLRS quoted all lamb over-the-hook indicators as unchanged week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 537c/kg cwt. Mutton indicators were also steady, with medium weights on 298c/kg cwt.

SA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 530c/kg; 18-24kg, 530-550c/kg; 24-26kg+, 510-530c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 500c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 230-340c/kg; 18-24kg, 250-340c/kg; 24kg+, 240-320c/kg.

In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted most lamb and mutton over-the-hook rates as higher. Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-18kg, 520-550c/kg, up 10-15c; 18-20kg, 524-540c/kg, up 30c; 22-26kg, 490-540c/kg, up 25-30c/kg; 26kg+, 490-530c/kg, up 20c. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 270-290c/kg, up 10c; 14-18kg, 280-300c/kg, no change; 18-24kg, 280-310c/kg, up 5c; 24kg+, 270-290c/kg, up 10c.

Western Australia’s OTH rates were not available when this report was published.

NLRS lamb indicators still rising

After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, all NLRS national and Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb and mutton, except for trade lambs, were higher.

The lamb ESDIs were: restocker 609c/kg, up 13 cents; Merino 564c/kg, up 7c; light 583c/kg, up 1c; trade 591c/kg, down 1c; heavy 605c/kg, up 5c. The national trade lamb indicator also fell 1 cent to 589c/kg, and the heavy indice closed on 605c/kg, up 5 cents.

The ESDI for mutton rose 4 cents to 384c/kg, equal with the national indicator after a 5-cent lift.

Dubbo’s heavy lambs up to $4 dearer, reach $225.50

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 23,900 lambs, 6035 more than last week, and 12,180 sheep, 5970 more.

The NLRS said the pretty good quality yarding included good numbers of heavy weight lambs and a fair selection of trade weights and Merinos. Light weight lambs sold $6 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $65-$118. Trade lambs were $3-$5 dearer, with the 18-23kg 3 scores making $103-$152, to average 587c/kg cwt.

Heavy weight lambs finished firm to $4 dearer, with the over 24kg 4 scores selling from $146-$225.50, or most more than 600c/kg. Merino lambs were $5 dearer, with the trade weights selling from $108-$136. Heavy weight Merinos sold to $188. Restocker lambs sold to$118. Crossbred hoggets made to $146 and Merinos to $130.

Most grades were represented in the mixed yarding of sheep that sold $5-plus cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $30-$88. Better 3 and 4 score Merinos sold from $72-$142 and crossbreds made to $140. Prime Merino wethers sold to $136.

Corowa welcomes domestic buyer’s return

At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 14,300 lambs, 3900 more than last week, and 2100 sheep, 500 fewer.

The NLRS said recent rain buoyed the market. Quality varied throughout, but there were some excellent lines of grain-assisted heavy weight lambs.

Bidding was spirited with the return of a major domestic operator and prices increased by up to $15. Light trade lambs made $118-$137. Medium trade lambs sold from $129-$155. Heavy trade lambs made $140-$167 and most averaged more than 600c/kg. Heavy lambs sold from $150-$177. Extra heavy weights made 161-$202. Heavy Merino lambs sold to $167. Lambs sold to restockers and feeders made $83-$125.

Sheep quality was mixed. The 4 score heavy crossbred ewes sold up to $5 dearer at $120-$161. The 4 score heavy Merino ewes made to $145. Hoggets sold to $160 and Merino wethers to $150.

Tamworth trade lambs $4-$7 dearer

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3600 lambs, 200 more than last week, and 1600 sheep, 200 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to very good with a strong heavy weight offering. The regular buyers attended, plus one returning after a long absence.

Demand was high for all classes of trade and heavy weight lambs. There was some good restocker demand for the plainer condition lambs. However, the quality of the store lambs was not as good and the restocker lamb market was dearer.

The low supply of trade weight lambs and extra competition created a dearer trend of $4-$7. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs also sold dearer, with a lift in weight accounting for the extra rise in the dollar per head values.

All weight and fat classes of sheep sold dearer. Improvement in the skin market saw those sheep carrying plenty of wool attract a premium.

Forbes’s heavy lambs lift $3-$5

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 31,950 lambs, 8619 more than last week, and 3850 sheep, 138 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to previous sales, with a good number of well-finished lambs and plainer types. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a firm to dearer market.

Light lambs lifted $2 to $107-$120. Trade weights were $2-$4 better at $118-$147. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were $3-$5 dearer. Heavy lambs sold from $139-$167, and the extra heavy weights made $150-$229. Carcase prices averaged from 584-612c/kg. Merino lambs sold from $120-$155.

Most of the sheep were Merinos. Prices remained strong, with Merino ewes selling from $84-$144. Crossbred ewes made $84-$142. Dorper ewes sold from $78-$115. Merino wethers made $83-$148.

Strong demand for Deniliquin lambs

At the Deniliquin saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1613 lambs, 809 fewer than two weeks ago, and 382 sheep, 802 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed and typical of the time of year, with most pens containing some plainer finished lambs. Most were offered in smaller lot sizes, with the average draft across the sale being 20 head.

Demand from the regular buyers was strong and much dearer than a fortnight ago, especially on any of the bigger and more even lines of trade weight and export slaughter lambs. There were only a few pens of light weight and Merino lambs scattered through the market, and they sold according to quality.

Prices reached a top of $185 for a pen of export lambs estimated at around 29kg cwt. After this, there were a couple of sales in the $170 range, before most of the better finished trade weight lambs sold from $134-$159. On a carcase basis, the major lines made more than 600c/kg, with the lower rates mostly for odd pen lots of just a few head. Plainer, 2 score and secondary light weight lambs sold from $70-$120 depending on size.

The sheep sale was very buoyant for the limited selection. A few pens of heavy crossbred ewes sold from $139-$160 and a draft of heavy Merino ewes in full wool topped the sale at $167.20. Most of the bigger-framed Merino ewes sold for more than $117 and trended above 400c/kg.

Strong demand for well-finished lambs at Bendigo

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 12,552 lambs, 3556 more than last week, and 2242 sheep, 229 more.

The NLRS said more Merino lambs were offered and quality across the market remained mixed with the best presented lambs either off grain or irrigation.

Bidding intensified for well-finished slaughter lambs. The trend of the major domestic buyers stepping up into more weight to access better carcass quality continued, resulting in lambs weighing from about 22kg-28kg recording some of the best price gains of the market.

Buyers also favoured Merino lambs that displayed reasonable better fat cover and some of the supplementary fed trade weight Merinos came close to matching carcase prices for crossbred lambs. Buyers were more selective on the plainer and secondary fat score 1 and 2 lambs and these mostly sold at similar prices to last week.

Prices reached a top of $209 for a pen of export lambs estimated at around 33-34kg, similar to last week. However, the general run of export lambs weren’t as heavy and sold to better competition at $170-$198, or an estimated 575-590c/kg cwt.

The market really stepped up on crossbred lambs in the 24-26kg range, which sold from $153-$170, to average an estimated 612c/kg. Lighter domestic lambs with decent fat cover sold from $130-$155. In carcase terms, most domestic slaughter lambs ranged from 585-620c/kg, with select pens higher.

The best trade weight Merino lambs sold from $130-$151 and these lambs recorded some of the biggest price gains in carcase weight terms. The selection of light kill lambs was limited and most sales to processors were similar to last week.

It was a mostly plain yarding of sheep. Competition for the limited numbers was strong, particularly on heavy ewes and wethers. Merino wethers in full wool sold to $150.60 and heavy crossbred ewes from $104-$140. Highlighting the push for weight was sale of heavy hoggets to $151 and rams to $118. The best lines of Merino mutton sold for more than 400c/kg.

Ballarat lambs sell to $222

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 21,463 lambs, 2788 more than last week, and 5401 sheep, 2403 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was again good, with the usual buyers operating strongly in a mostly dearer market.

Lambs generally sold from firm to $5 up on last week’s high levels. The best extra heavy lambs sold to $222, with the heavier trade weights making $138-$164 and averaging around 610c/kg. Processors, restockers and feeders competed on the lighter lambs and they also sold to stronger competition at $74-$130, with some extra north east Victorian interest.

Merino lambs sold mostly from $81-$118. Light weight 2 score lambs made $82.50-$108. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $101.50-$132 and averaged around 610c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $122-$144 and the heavier drafts made $138-$164, or 560-650c/kg to average around 610c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $152-$190 and extra heavy export lines made $197-$222.

Sheep quality was mixed, but there was extra buyer competition. Sheep generally sold a few dollars either side of firm, with heavy Merino wethers making to $138 and heavy Merino ewes in a big skin to $128. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $31-$60 or around 350c/kg and very light 1 scores made $28-$56. Medium weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $67-$122, or 320-430c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 390c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $80-$120 and heavy crossbred wethers sold to $147.

Heavy Merino wethers sold from $98-$138 and the medium weights made $70.20-$116, or around 380-390c/kg. Rams of all weights sold from $36-$115.

Dublin’s heavy lambs lift $6-$11

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9000 lambs and 2000 sheep.

The NLRS said crossbred and Merino lambs sold to strong bidding from the usual trade and processor buyers. Feeder and restockers were only occasional participants as processors were keen to secure light weight Merino and crossbred lambs.

Feeder buyers paid $70-$110 for shorn light weight crossbreds. Prices for light weight 3 score lambs sold to processors lifted $7 to $104-$122 and averaged 545c/kg. Light trade weight 4 scores lifted $6 to $110-$130 and averaged 530c/kg. Heavy trade weight prices lifted $5 to $130-$164, to average 579c/kg.

Heavy lamb prices rose $6-$11 to $145-$200 or 593-609c/kg and extra heavy weights made $200-$217.

Light weight Merino lambs sold to feeders and restockers for $68. Light lambs sold to processors lifted $7 to $90-$105 and averaged 522c/g. Trade weight 3 score prices lifted $13 to $114-$130 and averaged 520c/kg. Heavy weights lifted $7-$12 to $115-$162, or 516-532c/kg. A draft of exceptional heavy weights sold at $180.

The mixed quality sheep sold to stronger processor demand. Restockers operated on woolly wethers at $124. Light weight 2 score Merino ewes lifted $6 to $68-$90 and averaged 317c/kg. Heavy weight 3 score ewes lifted $10 to $95-$138, to average 373c/kg. Heavy weight wether prices rose $17 to $100-$152 to average 392c/kg. Heavy weight rams made $100-$122.

Naracoorte lamb prices firm to slightly dearer

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1124 lambs. 342 fewer than last week, and 918 sheep, 82 more.

The NLRS said lamb prices were equal to slightly dearer most lambs. Quality was mainly plain-average for lambs but there were several pens of good quality heavy weights over 23kg cwt.

The light weight 2 score lambs made $64-$96 and the light trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $90-$117. The 3 score trade weight lambs were in short supply and sold from $120-$128, averaging 545c/kg. The heavy 3 and 4 score lambs made $130-$159. Extra heavy weights mostly sold from $159-$169 and one pen made $183. Heavy weight lambs averaged around 540c/kg. Heavy hoggets over 22kg sold from $110-$116.

The sheep were generally of good quality and medium-heavy weights attracted keen competition from a small field of buyers. Sheep prices were $10-$15 higher for light-medium weight lines and equal to slightly dearer for the heavy weights. The few 1 and 2 score sheep made $65-$75 and medium weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $72-$85, with woolly Merino making to $103. The 3-5 score heavy and extra heavy ewes generally sold from $92-$120 and up to $129. Most sheep made 325-400c/kg cwt. The good quality heavy weight 2 and 3 score rams mostly sold from $74-$90 with one pen making $115.

Graziers lift Muchea lamb prices

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 5000 lambs, 176 more than last week, and 4950 sheep, 2479 more.

The NLRS said the average quality yarding had fewer good lines of well-conditioned mutton and lamb drafts. All trade buyers were active and the market firmed on last week’s very good sale for heavy and trade weight lambs. The hogget and mutton markets also remained firm.

Increased grazier competition lifted prices by $3-$5 for air freight, ram and light store lambs, Merino ewe and wether lambs. Graziers were active on light store cross bred lambs at $44-$63. Merino wether lambs sold to feeders sold from $59-$98 and restockers paid $49-$56 for Merino ewe lambs.

In the trade section, air freight lambs 15-18kg cwt sold from $60-$100, or close to 550c/kg cwt. The market firmed on trade lambs to $97-$112 and heavy prime lambs sold from $120-$127. Light ram lambs sold to graziers for $64-$83, up $3-$5, and the trade paid $88-$113 for better types.

The mutton market remained firm. Best heavy ewes sold from $72-$105, or around 325c/kg. The score 2 processor mutton sold from $65-$78 and light ewes sold from $40-$68. Wethers made to $110, with most better types selling from $93-$104. Rams remained firm, with older types selling to processors for $25-$43 and better younger types suitable for the live export trade making $90-$108.

Tasmanian lambs $5-$10 dearer

In the northern Tasmanian saleyards at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1600 lambs, 400 more than last week, and 1100 sheep, 700 more.

The NLRS said most of the increase came from light and light trade lambs that attracted strong restocker competition. All lambs met a stronger market, with most $5-$10 dearer. Restockers paid $55-$70 for very light lambs and $80-$107 for light and light trade pens. Exporters paid $80-$86 for light lambs and $105-$108 for light trade pens. Trade lambs sold from $111-$123, heavy weights made $128-$142 and extra heavy lambs sold for $133-$160.

Most sheep met the dearest market for this season. Medium weight ewes and wethers made $68-$94 and heavy pens sold from $80-$99.

Sources: MLA, AuctionsPlus, NLRS.


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