LAMB processor JBS Australia this week joined other major market operators and released forward contracts for June and July delivery of MSA-registered lambs to its Brooklyn plant in Victoria and Bordertown in South Australia.
The JBS Australia forward contract of 660c/kg for 18.1-32kg cwt crossbred and Dorper lambs and 620c/kg for Merino, Dohne and SAMM lambs for June and July, follows the release of winter grids by Coles and the Australian Lamb Company.
The JBS grids include a 50c/kg discount for lambs over 32kg cwt and the prospect of deductions of up to $1/kg for carcases with grass infestation.
The contract was released as trade and heavy lamb prices continue their steady slide in saleyards, although the slight daily indicator drops have done little to dent producer confidence in the saleyard system, according to agents. Click here for full JBS contract details.
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Although the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator has dropped more than 30c/kg in the last two weeks, with processors reportedly with ample supplies contracted direct, most saleyards yarded increased numbers this week as normal trading resumed in the lead-up to the first spring supplies.
Riverina Livestock Agents’ Tim Drum said lamb numbers are expected to decline over the next few weeks.
“I would have thought there would have been a bit of shortage for June-July.
“I don’t it will get quite as dear as it was earlier on; it will probably stay about where it is or a bit better for June and July.”
Mr Drum said there will be a sprinkling of new season lambs by mid-July.
The ES restocker lamb index has also been gradually dropping, but Mr Drum said confidence is still high among restockers looking for lambs to turn out.
“They are the dearest thing if you ask me.”
At Wagga Wagga, keen store lamb inquiry was driven by an interstate store buyer who paid up to $146 for lambs weighing 22kg. But Mr Drum said the dearest lambs in saleyards at the moment were lambs selling for around $125, which with a $7 skin and a 14kg carcase weight, came out at about 840c/kg cwt.
Mr Drum said prices are still good, even if rates cheapen further.
“Everybody has got to live.”
Light lamb indicator lifts
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted ESDI rates for lambs as generally falling, except for light lambs, which lifted 3 cents to 658c/kg. The other lamb indicator categories were: restocker 722c/kg, down 4 cents; Merino 589c/kg, down 4c; trade 634c/kg, down 3c; heavy 626c/kg, down 4c.
The ES Mutton indicator closed up 5 cents to 497c/kg.
Carcoar trade lambs $4-$7 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 10,650 lambs, 4950 more than last week, and 3100 sheep, 1200 more.
The NLRS said the fairy quality grading comprised mostly trade and light weight lambs suitable for restockers. There were only odd pens of heavy weight lambs and no properly finished Merinos.
Light weight lambs sold $3 cheaper to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $76-$124. Trade lambs were $4-$7 cheaper, with the 18-23kg 3 scores selling from $118-$157 and averaging 610-625c/kg cwt. The few heavy weight lambs were $12 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $144-$179. Lambs sold firm to restockers, with the better types selling from $117-$140. Hoggets sold to $148.
There were a few pens of heavy weight crossbred ewes and properly finished Merino wethers along with a good percentage of light weight sheep in the mixed yarding of sheep. Most mutton grades were $6-$8 dearer, with the 2 score ewes selling from $40-$95. The better 3 and 4 score crossbreds sold from $86-$186 and Merinos made $126. Merino wethers sold to $164.
Yass trade lambs dip $5
At the South East Livestock Exchange at Yass on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9330 lambs, 2830 more than last week, and 7995 sheep, 4228 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed, with only a few finished lines offered with the plainer types. The usual buyers competed along with strong competition on the store type lambs in the easier market.
Light lambs sold from $120-$126 and restockers paid $94-$135. Trade weights were $5 easier at $125-$145. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were limited in number and eased $3. Heavy lambs sold from $152-$165 and extra heavies made $168-$178. Carcase prices averaged from 601-643c/kg.
Mutton sheep quality was very mixed. Prices continued to be strong, with Merino ewes selling from $102-$146. Crossbred ewes made $115-$177 and Merino wethers sold from $114-$154.
Guyra trade and heavy lambs sell firm
At the Guyra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3910 lambs, 2370 more than last week, and 2610 sheep, 125 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to good, with a large supply of stores suitable for restockers. Well-finished trade and heavy weights were also well-supplied. The usual buyers attended. Market trends varied with strong demand from restockers, showing confidence in the market going forward.
The restocker lambs sold dearer, with buyers operating on light and trade weights. Competition was not as strong for the trade and heavy weight lambs, which trended mostly firm with some quality related price changes. The extra heavy weight lambs sold-a cheaper trend.
There was a mixed condition penning of sheep with skin values showing a great variation, from bare shorn through to full wool. Market trends were generally cheaper with demand weaker. A lift in skin values affected some prices.
Cootamundra’s heavy lambs back $5-$9
At the Cootamundra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3100 lambs and 1300 sheep.
The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed, though there were some lines of finished lambs. Most were heavy trade and heavy weight lambs. The usual buyers competed in the cheaper market.
Light lambs slipped $5 to $117-$126. Trade weights were $4-$6 easier at $125-$158. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were back $5-$9. Heavy lambs sold from $155-$165 and extra heavies made $172-$178.
Mutton sheep quality was very mixed. Prices stayed strong, with Merino ewes selling from $100-$141 and crossbred ewes making $102-$170.
Wagga Wagga store lambs in demand
At the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 32,000 lambs, 9000 more than last week, and 9000 sheep, 3300 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was plain to very good in the lighter weight categories. There were reasonable numbers of heavy lambs, with buyer interest fluctuating throughout the sale. Well-bred store lambs and plainer light weight lambs attracted strong restocker competition. The usual export and domestic buyers attended; however, not all export processors operated at the heavy end.
The market struggled to find its level, with the shorter skinned trade lambs attracting the strongest competition. Generally trade lambs prices eased $5-$7. The bulk of trade lambs made $122-$166 to average 625c/kg.
Store lambs were keenly sought by an interstate store buyer who paid up to $146 for lambs weighing 22kg. Most store lambs sold from $117-$139. Light lambs sold to processors for $95-$122. Heavy lambs were in reasonable supply; however, the market lacked lambs weighing 30kg-plus. Heavy lambs sold $7 cheaper to average 612c/kg. Most heavy and extra heavy lambs averaged 609-619c/kg.
The mixed quality yarding of mutton sheep sold to the usual buyers. Trade sheep were $4-$5 dearer and light weight sheep jumped $11 to average 500-550c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes were keenly sought after at $144-$200.20. Heavy Merino sheep ignited the bidding, selling at $148-$194 to average 547c/kg.
Hamilton trade lambs firm to $4 cheaper
In Victoria at the Hamilton ton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8791 lambs, 1930 more than last week, and 3671 sheep, 2986 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality dropped slightly and varied from plain to good. There was less demand from the near-regular group of buyers and less restockers attended.
Prices for light lambs varied from unchanged to $3-$4 easier. The better quality light and medium trade lambs sold fully firm to $4 lower and the heavy weight lambs averaged $4-$8 cheaper.
Restockers from Ballarat and South Australia were more selective, mostly paying $94-$151 for store lambs. They also purchased Merino lambs for $48-$110 and Merino wethers from $112-$122.
The light weight 2 score lambs sold to processors for $98-$124 and light trade 2 and 3 scores made $118-$138. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 score lambs made $134-$ 155 and heavy trade weight 3 score lines sold from $146-$164, or 575-670c/kg, averaging an estimated 630-640c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $159-$186, averaging 600-620c/kg.
The sheep yarding consisted of mostly light-medium weights and demand remained strong. Medium weight crossbred ewes sold mostly $2-$5 dearer and up to $10 higher in places. Light and medium weight Merino mutton sold unchanged to firm.
Very light 1 score sheep made $46-$71 and the light weight 1 and 2 scores $78-$106. Medium weights sold from $101-$135, or 480-550c/kg. Merino mutton averaged close to 515c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score crossbred ewes made $134-$176. Medium Merino wethers sold from $108-$126 and heavy lines made $150. A pen of Merino ewes sold to $140. Rams made to $142.
Horsham trade lambs lift $1-$2
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7742 lambs, 561 fewer than last week, and 2242 sheep, 562 more.
The NLRS said lamb numbers decreased as the grain sowing season got into full swing after recent good opening rains. Lamb quality remains average to good, but there were fewer heavy lambs. The usual buyers operated in the mostly firm market.
Trade weight lambs sold $1-$2 better in places. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $140-$157 and heavier lots made $152-$174, or 630-690ckg to average around 660-670c/kg.
The best heavy lambs sold to $204. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $170-$202 and extra heavy export lambs made to $204. Hoggets sold to $147. Heavy Merino lambs sold from $120-$155 and lighter drafts made $105-$120.
Feeder and restocker activity was limited, with most lambs selling from $110-$151 and lighter lots making $80-$110. Restockers paid $156.50 for Merino lambs with a big fleece. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $92-$114. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $125-$145 and averaged around 700c/kg.
Sheep continued to sell to strong demand and all weights and grades were offered. Restockers paid $155-$160 for joined cast-for-age Merino ewes. Merino wethers sold a few dollars dearer and medium Merino ewes easing a few dollars to make around 500c/kg.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $80-$100.50. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $99-$148, or 475-530c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 500c/kg. Heavy Merino ewes sold from $129-$175, heavy Merino wethers made $151-$170 and the medium weights sold for $104-$150, or 510-530c/kg. Heavy crossbred sheep sold from $130-$180. Merino rams made to $150.
Ouyen’s heavy lambs lift $10
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 4326 lambs and 876 sheep.
The market was quoted $10 dearer for heavy lambs. Trade lambs and sheep sold firm.
Export weight crossbred lambs sold from $160-$215, or 580-650c/kg, trade lambs made $130-$175, 590-670c/kg, and store lines sold for $85-$121. Heavy Merino lambs made $140-$166, or 600-620c/kg.
Light sheep sold from $70-$110, or 360-540c/kg, and heavy sheep made $135-$168, or 440-520c/kg.
Mt Gambier prices firm
In South Australia at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1905 lambs, 496 more than last week, and 105 sheep, 313 fewer.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers and a small number of restockers were active and prices were firm. Quality was generally good, with most lots containing good weight and condition.
Light weight lambs sold from $85-$99 and lightweight trade 2 and 3 score types made to $132. Restockers paid $99-$127. Trade weight 3 score lambs were well-supplied as made $133-$152 to be firm and average 660c/kg. Most of the offering was heavy lambs that sold from $153-$175. Extra heavy export weight types made $175-$210. Hoggets sold to $145.
Light weight ewes sold to $64. Medium ewes made to $118 and heavy ewes sold from $130-$159. Several small lots of wethers made $145-$183. Rams sold to $88.
Katanning’s light lambs $5 cheaper
In Western Australia, at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 16,243 lambs, 6077 more than last week, and 15,000 sheep, 3000 more.
The NLRS said the record yarding was of mixed quality and prices eased. The sale was still going when this report was filed.
Light weight lambs were down $5 at $77-$108. Lambs suitable for airfreight made $95-$116. Trade weight lambs sold for $117-$136. Heavy lambs sold from $131-$153 and extra heavy lambs made to $155.
Feeder buyers and restockers paid from $52 for light store lambs up to $117 for heavier drafts. Restocker and feeder buyers paid $69 for very light wether lambs and up to $103 and live exporters paid $85-$132.
Mutton prices eased slightly this week and the light and trade weight ewes with full fleeces sold from $75-$96. Prime three and four score mutton made from $90-$125 with a full fleece. Very light store ewes sold from $45 up to $91 for those with a full fleece. Young wethers sold to processors for $110-$140.
Live export and feeder buyers paid $80-$137 for mature wethers. Young blue tag ewes eased $5-$10 to sell from $62 for the very light and plain ewes up to $105 for the heavier better quality restocker ewes. Ram lambs sold from $80-$120 depending on size and processors paid $10-$100 for older rams.
Warwick prices firm
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1645 lambs and hoggets, and 543 sheep.
The market was quoted fully firm on last week’s rates for the similar yarding of sheep and lambs. The top-priced lambs made $168 for Warwick producer AJ Willett of ‘Glenview’.
Crossbred lambs 51-55kg lwt from $152-$168, 46-50kg lambs made $144-$163, 41-45kg lines sold for $135-$149 and the 35-40kg lambs made $120-$132.
Shorn crossbred hoggets weighing 64.5kg lwt sold to $142. Trade wethers with $6 skins sold to $182 or 440c/kg cwt and light wethers with $12 skins made to $101 or 360c/kg.
Heavy crossbred ewes with $15 skins sold to $148 or 435c/kg and light ewes with $15 skins made to $65 or 300c/kg.
Source: NLRS, AuctionsPlus, JBS.