Heavy lambs lift as saleyard prices hold above 800c/kg

Sheep Central, January 22, 2021

Saying goodbye to their poddy lamb Alex, were Sienna and Somer Gann from Gurrundah, with Jock Duncombe from Duncombe & Co. They sold their 57 crossbred lambs for $210. Image – SELX.

THE slide in slaughter lamb prices eased slightly later this week but light, trade and heavy lambs in most saleyards continued to make 800c/kg-plus carcase weight.

Buyers competed more strongly for quality shorn export and trade weight lines in major markets where new season lambs in began to lose their bloom with the season, but were more selective in centres where numbers allowed.

At Hamilton on Wednesday, Meat & Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service said good trade and export lambs sold up to $5-$10 dearer in places and the lambs going back to the paddock were fully firm to dearer.

This contrasted with Wagga Wagga in New South Wales on Thursday, with 35,000 lambs to choose from and shorn trade weights well-supplied, some buyers paid a premium for top pens, but not all export or domestic processors operated fully.

Restocking competition continued to be strong in the south for suitable lambs, especially from Victorian and south east South Australia. But at Wagga Wagga, fewer restocking orders lowered rates.

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicator for light lamb eased 5 cents to 838c/kg, down 39 cents on last week; the trade indicator dropped just 3 cents to 825c/kg, 3 cents lower than last week, and; the heavy lamb indicator held firm on 821c/kg, up 3 cent son last week.

The restocker lamb indicator eased another 14 cents to 938c/kg, down 22 cents on last week. The Merino lamb indicator fell 5 cents to 838c/kg.

Mutton values also continued to decline this week, with the ESDI falling 11 cents to 586c/kg.

Carcoar’s trade lambs lift $6

In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4760 lambs, 1540 fewer than last week, and 1380 sheep, 370 less.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s NLRS said it was a much plainer quality yarding with a large percentage of the unshorn lambs presenting in dry condition. There were though some good runs of top shorn lambs mixed throughout the yarding. Not all the regular buyers were present with some trade and export buyers absent.

Despite this, trade lambs were $6 dearer, with the new season lambs selling from $165-$200, to average 800-835c/kg. Trade weight old lambs sold from $150-$207.

Heavy weight lambs were $10 dearer with the over 24kg old lambs selling from $200-$260 to average 800-830c/kg. Heavy weight new season lambs sold from $205-$255. Restocker lambs were firm to $3 cheaper at $142-$169. A pen of first cross ewe lambs sold to restockers for $210.

Merino lambs sold about firm, with trade weights making $141-$156. Hoggets sold to $205.

There were some very good sheep along with some plainer types in a mixed yarding of mutton with most grades were $9-$12 cheaper. Merino ewes sold from $90-$170 and crossbred ewes made $118-$195. Merino wethers sold from $85-$210. Carcase prices for the better sheep ranged from 595-620c/kg.

Hamilton lambs $5-10 dearer

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 19,599 lambs, 8096 fewer than last week.

The NLRS said the offering of lambs ranged from very plain to very good, but did not display the weight range or overall quality offered last Wednesday. Shorn lambs showed the better quality. There was a full contingent of processors and restockers as well as feeders were in attendance and fully active.

Restocking competition was very strong on suitable lines and came from Bendigo, Shepparton, south eastern South Australia and local areas in a sale that was very strong over all categories. Good trade and export lambs were $5-$10 dearer in places and lambs sold back to the paddock were fully firm to dearer.

Woolly lambs sold to $234, with feeders and restockers paying $192. Light 12-18kg lambs made  $124-$168, or 850-1100c/kg. The light 18-22kg trade weight lambs sold from $155-$178, or 815-870c/kg. The medium 22-25kg trade weight lambs made $183-$230, or 820-860c/kg. Heavy trade weight lambs 26-30kg and over made up to $247, or 800/kg-840c/kg. The Hoggets 3 score made to $194.

Mt Gambier trade lambs $2-$6 easier

In South Australia at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3775 lambs, 1632 fewer than last week, and 390 sheep, 34 less.

The NLRS said the lambs sold the usual trade and processor buyers and a number of restockers. The offering ranged from light weight store Merino lambs from a fire-affected property near Lucindale to well shorn heavy and extra heavy pens, and sold at easier rates.

Light Merino lambs sold to the trade for $44-$66 and light weight trade lambs made to $155. Restockers bought Merino lambs for $30-$48, light crossbreds sold from $49-$120 and those with more condition sold from $142-$162.

Trade weight 3 score lambs were $2-$6 easier at $159-$174, with most sales from 750-790c/kg. Heavy lambs sold from $184-$202 with a small supply of extra heavy types making $210-$231. Hoggets sold from $112-$200.

The light ewes sold from $62-$95. Medium ewes made $112-$128 and the heavy pens sold from $146-$170. Wethers sold to $170 and rams made to $80.

Cowra lambs firm to $5 dearer

In NSW at Cowra on Wednesday, the agents 3900 lambs, 1750 fewer than last week, and 650 sheep, 50 more.

The NLRS said the similar quality yarding comprised mostly heavy trade or export types. The regular small buying group attended, along with restockers active on a small offering of light lambs.

The market was firm to $5 dearer. Finished heavy trade lambs sold from $185-$205, or 834c/kg. Heavy export type lambs were well-supplied and sold from $205-$234, with over 30kg lambs reaching $254, or 765c/kg.

Mutton sold firm. Heavy 4 score Merino ewes sold from $156-$210, or 642c/kg. Due to current border restrictions this report was generated remotely.

Katanning yarding dominated by mutton

In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards, the agents yarded 7548 lambs, 652 fewer than last week, and 15,000 sheep, 1230 less.

The NLRS said light weight lamb prices gained with demand from live export, grazier and feeder demand. Very light weight lambs sold from $34-$83, with the lower prices due to weight and condition.

Air freight weights under 16kg sold from $95-$128, and lambs for live export, feeders and restockers made $70-$121. Lambs under 18kg sold to processors and live export for $115-$139, and the feeders and restockers paid $129-$142.

Trade weight lambs sold from $140-$170 to processors and live exporters paid $120-$149. A quality run of heavy lambs made $170-$208. Young Merino ewes sold to processors for $70-$160 and restockers paid $30-$99 in a lesser quality yarding.

The yarding was dominated by ewe mutton for which prices fluctuated but remained overall relatively firm on last week, selling to $198. Heavy wethers topped the market at $210.

Heavy ewes over 30kg were firm at $180-$198 and the lighter 24-30kg lines made from $139 up to $190 for those with a fleece. Medium weight and good boning ewes under 24kg sold from $90-$155 and light weight lines made from $55 up to $110 for very small poor conditioned ewes sold to processors. Heavy mature wethers sold from $160-$210 and lighter lines made $72-$155. Heavy young hogget wethers sold from $150-$185 and lighter categories made $60-$161. Young rams sold to processors for $60-$100. Mature and store rams made $10-$40. Light ram lambs sold from $45 up to $140 for heavier lines.

Yass new season lambs lift $13

In NSW at the South Eastern Livestock Exchange at Yass, the agents yarded 8632 lambs, 568 fewer than last week, and 4230 sheep, 70 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to good, with some of the new season lambs starting to go dry. Trade lamb numbers were limited, but heavy and extra heavy lambs were well-supplied. There were also good numbers of light store lambs. The market sold to a firm to cheaper trend, with the exception of the light new season store lambs.

New season store lambs were $13 dearer at $131-$162. Medium and heavy trade lambs were firm to $2 dearer at $160-$186 and heavy lambs sold firm at $184-$210. Carcase prices ranged from 790-830c/kg.

Extra heavy lambs sold from $188-$234. Shorn trade lambs were $1-$3 stronger at $150-$185. Heavy lambs sold from $185-$210 and extra heavy lambs topped at $255. Carcase prices averaged from 800-850c/kg for the trade weights. Hoggets reached $224.

Mutton quality was mixed. Prices were cheaper with light sheep having the biggest fall. There were a few more orders for ewes to return to the paddock. Medium weight ewes sold from $130-$174. Heavy crossbred ewes made $175-$220 and heavy Merinos sold from $188-$215.

Hamilton sheep sell firm to cheaper

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 10,430 sheep, 9862 fewer than last week.

The NLRS said it was a very mixed offering and didn’t display the overall quality and weight of last week’s sale. All weights and grades were available, but heavy sheep were in the minority. Not all the regular buyers attended and or were fully active.

In a firm to slightly cheaper market, light to medium sheep sold $10-$15 cheaper. Light weight 2 score sheep sold from $63-$112, or 520-550c/kg. The 3 score medium weight sheep sold from $112-$170, or 530-560c/kg. Heavy Merino ewes sold from $146-$190 and heavy Merino wethers made $195-$ 210. Heavy crossbred ewes sold to $210, averaging 480c/kg. The general cost of mutton was from 480-530c/kg. Hoggets sold to $130. Terminal rams sold to $66 and Merino rams to $140.

Wagga Wagga lamb prices ease

In NSW at the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 35,000 lambs, 9350 more than last week, and 10,500 sheep, 1500 more.

The NLRS said the quality of the yarding was fair to very good. Most of the better finished lambs were grain-assisted.

Heavy lamb supplies increased, with more lambs above 30kg carcase weight. Shorn trade lambs were well-supplied and buyers were still keen to pay a premium for the top pens.

There were a few less restocking orders which impacted on prices. Fewer buyers attended and not all exporter companies operated fully. A single domestic processor set the pace of the trade sale, with other buyers not willing to chase the market.

Well-shaped 3 score 21-24kg shorn lambs softened $3 to average 849c/kg. Merino trade lambs were unchanged to $5 cheaper at $141-$186. There was a very mixed selection of lambs to suit restockers.

The general run of lambs carrying some weight and frame sold from $140-$168. The usual export buyers were at the rail; however, not all companies operated fully.

Lambs 24-26kg benefited from some domestic competition to sell from $200-$218. Lambs weighing 26-30kg sold to erratic competition from $216-$237 to average 791c/kg.

The highlight of the sale was the shorn lambs over 30kg that sold from $229-$274.

It was a mixed yarding of sheep and not all buyers operated. Heavy ewes sold to weak demand from most buyers. Heavy crossbred ewes sold to $225 to average 507c/kg. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $178-$220. Trade sheep sold to patchy demand at times to average 537c/kg.



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