Prime & Store Sheep Reports

Increased lamb yardings puts pressure on saleyard prices

Sheep Central, February 3, 2021

QUALITY trade and heavy lamb prices lost ground in some major eastern states saleyards earlier this week as yardings increased, but held above last week’s levels as competition intensified for fresh well-finished lines.

Restocker lamb held firm to slightly dearer and Merino lamb prices improved, and mutton sheep prices also held firm to dearer, with rates reaching up to 700c/kg at Ballarat, and holding above 600c/kg in most centres.

After Tuesday’s sales, Meat & Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service said the Eastern State’s Daily Indicators for restocker lambs rose 1 cent to 941c/kg, Merino lambs lifted 16 cents to 770c/kg and the light lamb indicator dropped 23 cents to 845c/kg. The ES trade lamb indicator was down 12 cents to 840c/kg and the heavy lamb indicator dropped 5 cents to 837c/kg.

At the Carcoar saleyards’ today, the NLRS said trade weight shorn lambs sold from $165-$224 to average 910-925c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs were mostly $7-$11 dearer and the extra heavyweights sold up to $20 dearer. Old lambs over 24kg made $206-$278, or 840-865c/kg.

At Hamilton today, the NLRS said light 12-18kg lambs made $118-$168, or from 850-1170c/kg cwt. The light tradeweight 18-22kg lambs sold from $164-$192, or 830-880c/kg. Medium tradeweight lambs 22-25kg made $190-$238, or 840-880c/kg and the heavy 26-30kg lambs made to $257, or 780-810c/kg.

Dubbo’s heavy lambs lift $9-$14

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 9540 lambs, 3840 more than last week, and 7622 sheep, 3922 more.

The NLRS said it was a mixed yarding with some outstanding heavyweight lambs yarded along with a fair selection of trade weights. There was also a fair percentage of secondary lambs and a good supply of Merino lambs. A full field of buyers operated.

Trade lambs were firm to $2 dearer, with the few new season lambs making $168-$202. Trade weight old lambs sold from $150-$200, or 780-825c/kg. Heavy weight lambs were $9-$14 dearer, with 24-30kg lines making $198-$267 and lambs over 30kg $236-$279. Merino lambs sold $7 dearer, with the trade weights making $150-$194 and the heavier weights over 24kg $186-$217. Young lambs sold firm to restockers at $110-$160. Hoggets sold to $212.

There were some outstanding sheep penned in a mostly good quality yarding of mutton with most grades $5-$9 dearer and more in places. Merino ewes sold from $93-$234 and crossbred ewes made $95-$235. Merino wethers sold from $92-$248, with most of the better sheep making 630-680c/kg. Restockers paid from $102-$120 for Merino ewes and from $115-$222 for first cross ewes.

Well-finished heavy lambs dearer at Tamworth

In NSW at Tamworth yesterday, the agents yarded 2100 lambs, 900 fewer than last week, and 900 sheep, 400 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to very good. The offering comprised a good selection of well-bred young lambs and a good supply of well-finished heavy and extra heavy weight old lambs.

The full field of regular buyers attended and restockers were active on lightweight young lambs. Trends varied through the lamb market with the restocker young lambs selling to a slightly cheaper market trend under weaker demand. Well-finished trade lambs up to 22kg also sold to cheaper trends.

There was increased processor demand for the heavy weight young lambs with market trends dearer, posting strong gains. The well-finished old lambs in the heavy and extra heavy weight classes also experienced a much dearer market trend under strong export processor competition.

There was also strong processor competition for the mostly well-conditioned penning of sheep. Market trends were firm to dearer. Some classes showed strong gains when quality improved.

Bendigo lamb market more consistent

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 21,000 lambs, 12,300 more than last week’s heat-reduced yarding, and 3700 sheep, 1900 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality also improved, with a better selection of export and heavy trade weights, while the supply of genuine domestic-sized lambs in fresh condition remained scarce.

Bidding from processors was more enthusiastic and the sale showed better consistency compared to the erratic results of the past fortnight. The heaviest export lambs over 30kg were dearer, while there was only slight price changes over the trade and heavy categories. The heaviest export lambs sold to $274, with six pens over $270. Most of the 30kg-plus crossbred lambs made $230-$265, to average $252 at an estimated 780c/kg. After this, there was a lot of heavy lambs that sold from $200-$235. The main run of shorn crossbred lambs in the 24-26kg category averaged $213.

The best presented trade lambs, 22-24kg, sold from $190-$212; however, the price range for an average run of lambs in this category was $178-$200. On a carcase basis, a mixed run of trade and heavy lambs was estimated as costing buyers 820-840c, with individual pens out to 890c/kg.

Not a lot of store lambs were yarded, with the main lines being unshorn young lambs that sold from $150-$170.

Clashes between two export buyers on some pens of heavy mutton sheep created some extreme results of up $278 for crossbred ewes and to $268 for Merino ewes, spiking the sale upwards by $60 at times. However, the general trend was $20 dearer, with good mutton costing over 600c/kg.

Forbes’ better mutton lifts $20

In NSW at the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 21,150 lambs, 10,850 more than last week, and 4750 sheep, 1350 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was good, with plenty of trade and heavy lambs and an excellent run of extra heavy lambs. Merino lambs were in short supply and there was only a limited supply of light store lambs.  All the usual buyers operated in the dearer market.

Lambs returning to the paddock sold firm at $126-$169. Medium and heavy trade lambs to 22kg sold $8 dearer at $176-$208 to average 920c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs to 26kg were up $8-$10 at $206-$238, or 860-900c/kg on average. Extra heavy lambs jumped $12-$15 to $224-$290. The heavy crossbred hoggets sold from $178-$220 and Merino hoggets with wool reached a top of $241.

Mutton quality remained fair to good. Most of the offering was medium and heavy sheep, but there was more lighter plainer mutton. Prices were $20 dearer on the better covered lines. Medium weight mutton made $125-$167. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $203-$260. Merino ewes made $178-$235 and wethers sold to $267.

Ballarat lamb market firmed from softer start

In Victoria at the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 39,634 lambs, 3221 more than last sale two weeks ago, and 13,464 sheep,720 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was good to excellent, with plenty of weight across the grades and a large percentage of lambs coming off supplementary feed.

All the usual buyers attended and the market started out as much as $15 softer on the trade weights, but firmed up as the sale progressed. Store lambs going back to the paddock sold firm to                                                                                                                                                                                                               $5 dearer and trade weight lambs were overall $5-$10 softer. Extra heavy lambs held firm to $10 dearer in places to make up to $299.

Orders for feeders and restockers were strong on the light weight lambs that went back to the paddock at $65-$188. Lambs suiting MK orders under 18kg sold from $102-$146.

The 18-22kg lambs sold to trade for $166-$192 and the 22-24kg lines made$182-$210, or 758-913c/kg to average 815-835c/kg. Lambs 24-26kg sold from $200-$224, to average 840c/kg.

Export score 4 26-30kg lambs sold from $210-$242 to average 820c/kg and the over 30kg lines made $245-$299 to average 790c/kg. Woolly sucker lambs 18-22kg made $155-$178, the 22-26kg lines sold from $188-$196 and the 26-30kg lambs made $210-$224, with an average range of 800-820c/kg. Crossbred hoggets sold to $200 and Merinos made to $186.

Sheep quality was mostly very good and processors were active in a very erratic market. Bidding started much softer and fluctuated up and down $30-$40, with the market finishing on a stronger trend to be $10-$20 dearer, or from 500c/kg to over 700c/kg in places.

Merino mutton sold to a top of $234 and crossbreds made to $256. Heavy Merino wethers over 24kg sold from $151-$228 and lighter weights made $89-$153, or from 610-630c/kg. Heavy Merino ewes sold from $150-$234 to average 620-630c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes made $141-$256 to average 600-610c/kg.

Dublin lambs lift $10-$30

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin yesterday, the agents yarded 11,500 lambs, 4500 more than two weeks ago, and 4000 sheep, 300 more.

The NLRS said a full complement of trade and processor buyers, specialty butchers, feeders and restockers, attended the sale.

Quality was fair to good across the lamb offering, with all weights and grades represented.

Lamb prices rose across all classes with prices lifting $10-$20 across most weights. Extremely light lambs sold to restockers lifted up to $30, with a $25-$30 rise for heavier lambs going to processors.

Extremely light young lambs sold from $78-$144, light trade weights made $128-$168 and medium weights sold from $160-$188. Heavy weight lambs made $188-$220 and extreme heavy weights selling from $190-$245.

Extremely light older lambs sold from $98-$130, light trade weights made $120-$156 and the medium trade weights sold for $144-$188. Heavier weights made $168-$212 and the extreme heavy weights sold from $190-$258. Hoggets were mostly heavier weights sold on average $10 dearer at $140-$220.

Mutton of all grades posted a $10-$15 rise under extreme competition. The mutton offering was mostly heavier weight sheep. Light ewes sold from $110-$150, medium weights made $130-$180 and extreme heavy weights sold for $160-$212. The wethers were mostly heavier weights and sold from $172-$230. Young Merino ewes sold from $130-$208. Rams made $135-$230.

Naracoorte lambs were firm to dearer

In SA at the Naracoorte saleyards, the agents yarded 14,954 lambs, 5959 more than the last sale two weeks ago, and 3566 sheep, 1367 more.

The NLRS said the yarding sold to the usual field of trade and processor buyers and a number of active restockers.

Quality continued to be good, with most lambs now shorn and coming off feed. The lamb market ranged from fully firm to slightly dearer. Light lambs sold to the trade for $92-$124, with light weight trade score 2 and 3 lines making $138-$156. Restockers sourced light lambs for $52-$155 and those with more condition made $164-$175. Trade weight score 3 lambs sold from $162-$188, up to $4 dearer at 800-840c/kg.

Heavy lambs sold from $183-$219, the extra heavy pens made $209-$284, with the heavy end of the market ranging from 780-820c/kg. Hoggets sold from $102-$205.

Mutton sheep sold firm to slightly easier, with light ewes making $78-$118. Medium weights sold from $122-$144 and the heavy pens made $143-$210. Rams sold from $45-$145.

Muchea lambs ease $5

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards yesterday, the agents yarded 7000 lambs, 1000 more than the last sale two weeks ago, and 6565 sheep, 221 fewer.

The NLRS said the quality of the yarding improved. Demand for light trade and airfreight type lambs eased, with fewer lot feeders and graziers present due to COVID-19 restrictions and also a very serious bushfire nearby.

Trade and heavy lambs sold firm to the trade at 720c/kg, with again no disparity in prices between old and new season lambs. The very light weight 11-12kg lambs sold to graziers for $65-$185 to remain firm. The 13-17kg air freight types sold from $75-$130 or 720c/kg to ease by $5. The 18-20kg light trade lambs also eased $5 to $130-$140. The prime 21-22kg lines sold from $140-$160 to average 720c/kg. Weights over 23kg sold from $160-$182. Hoggets remained firm on quality, with sales from $115-$155, or 535c/kg.

In the mutton market, light and medium weight boners were firm with trade weight and heavy mutton up $5. The light weight boners sold from $40-$85 and the medium weights 19-24kg made $85-$130. The prime 25-30kg lines sold from $140-$175, with the top lines with a full fleece averaging 570c/kg to be $5 dearer. Heavier weights sold from $165-$197, up $5, to also average 570c/kg. The heavy older wethers sold $8 dearer to processors from a better selection, with the best making $150-$203, or 580c/kg.

Note that due to current COVID-19 related restrictions and impending bush fires, data for this market report was unable to be obtained.

Tasmanian lamb market firm

In Tasmania on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3213 lambs at Powranna, 779 more than last sale two weeks ago, and 3033 sheep, 54 fewer.

The NLRS said there were more shorn lamb pens, but most were still in the wool and in good to                   very good condition. Most lambs met a fully firm market pushed by regular exporters and wholesalers, plus very strong restocker competition mainly in the 18-22 kg range.

Restockers bought light lambs for $128-$150, light trade sold from $148-$173 and trade weights made $156-$181. Processors paid from $160-$180 for light trade weights, the medium trade weights sold for $160-$192 and the heavyweights made $180-$218. Extra heavy lambs sold from $217-$230

In the mutton sale, extra heavy sheep met a similar market, and the medium and heavy sheep sold $10-$15 dearer. Extra heavy ewes over 30kg made $148-$164, heavy ewes and wethers sold from $154-$171 and medium weights with big fleeces sold for $124-$170. Restockers paid $136-$166 for ewes still suitable as breeders.

Carcoar lambs up to $20 dearer

In NSW at the Carcoar saleyards today, the agents yarded 5100 lambs, 300 more than last week, and 11,200 sheep, 1430 more.

The NLRS said it was a mixed lamb yarding, with some very good runs of well-finished shorn trade and heavy weights. Some of the shorn lambs and a fair percentage of the unshorn lambs lacked freshness. A full field of buyers competed very strongly in a dearer market.

Trade lambs were up to $20 dearer with new season lines making $151-$220. Trade weight shorn lambs sold from $165-$224 to average 910-925c/kg. Heavy lambs were mostly $7-$11 dearer and the extra heavyweights sold up to $20 dearer. Old lambs over 24kg sold from $206-$278 to average between 840-865c/kg. The few heavy weight new season lambs sold from $220-$234.

A couple of pens of Merino lambs also sold dearer, with the trade weights making $175-$195. Restocker lambs sold $5-$8 dearer at $133-$167. Hoggets sold to $210.

Most grades of sheep in the mixed yarding of mutton sold $3-$6 dearer. Merino ewes sold from $118-$174 and first cross ewes made $112-$227. Merino wethers sold from $114-$213. Carcase prices for the better sheep ranged from 600-660c/kg.

Hamilton lambs lift $10-$15

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards today, the agents yarded 17,801 lambs, 3876 more than last week.

The NLRS said lamb quality improved. With 80 percent of the lambs now shorn it is evident they are benefiting from summer crops and feeders, as well as the mild weather, and there were fewer lines under 14kg cwt.

A full contingent of processors and restockers was fully active and restocking competition was very strong and lifted a cog due to the quality on offer. Restockers came from Bendigo, Shepparton, Warrnambool, south-east South Australia and local areas.

The sale was firm to $10-$15 dearer over most categories, with the strongest competition being on the better shorn lambs. Light 12-18kg lambs made $118-$168, averaging 850-1170c/kg cwt. The light trade weight 18-22kg lambs sold from $164-$192 to average 830-880c/kg. The medium trade weight 22-25kg lambs made $190-$238 to average 840-880c/kg. Heavy trade weight lambs 26-30kg-plus made to $257 to average 780-810c/kg. The best woolly lambs made $222 and the shorn lambs sold to $257. Hoggets sold to $190.


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