Domestic Lamb

Lamb and mutton hook rates chase saleyard prices

Terry Sim, February 11, 2015
These 13.5kg cwt Coolalee-Dohne cross lambs at Mungindi, NSW, sold for $100 on AuctionsPlus this week

These 13.5kg cwt Coolalee-Dohne cross lambs at Mungindi, NSW, sold for $100 on AuctionsPlus this week

Over-the-hook lamb and mutton rates increased or held firm across Australia mid-week as buyers attempted to put the brakes on saleyard prices at some major centres, especially where quality was mixed.

As MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service’s eastern states and national lamb indicators had 6-12c/kg cwt dragged off them in Australia’s saleyards, processors lifted their OTH rates to attract direct supply into abattoirs.

Despite mixed quality sheep yardings, mutton prices held relatively firm, with the eastern states and national NLRS indicators only losing two cents during Tuesday’s sales to close on 361c/kg cwt.

After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators were down eight cents for trade lambs to 555c/kg cwt and down 11 cents to 571c/kg cwt for heavy lambs. The restocker lambs ESDI lost six cents to 565c/kg cwt, the Merino indice fell nine cents to 503c/kg and light lambs dropped nine cents to 549c/kg. The ES mutton indicator was down two cents to 361c/kg cwt.

Nationally, the heavy lamb indicator dropped 12 cents to 570c/kg cwt and the trade lamb indice was nine cents lower on 556c/kg.

OTH rates firm or rising

In NSW this week, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates across all weight categories increased, with some contributors lifting their rates in line with others. Light and medium weight mutton rates were unchanged, while heavy weight lines gained eight cents, to average 343¢/kg cwt.

NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-2kg, 490-590c/kg cwt, +10 cents; 22-24kg, 520-590c/kg, +11c; 24-26kg, 510-560c/kg, +16c; Merinos 16-22kg, 440-520c/kg, +27c. Rates for 2-4 score mutton are: 14-18kg, 250-310c/kg cwt, no change; 18-24kg, 2280-360c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 320-360c/kg, +8c.

In Victoria, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates increased across most categories this week, with trade weight lambs reaching tops of 575c/kg cwt, while Merino lambs remained unchanged. Light and medium weight mutton carcase rates were slightly higher week-on-week.

Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 560-570c/kg cwt, +10c; 18-24kg, 560-590c/kg, +17-18c; 24-26kg, 550-560c/kg, +15c; 26kg+, 550c/kg, +30c; Merinos 16-22kg, 550c/kg, +30c. The rates for 2-4 score mutton are: 14-18kg, 280-350c/kg, +5c; 18-24kg, 300-360c/kg, +4c; 24kg+, 280-340c/kg, nc.

In SA, the NLRS said the majority of contributors made upward adjustments to lamb over-the-hook rates this week, with trade and heavy weight carcases an average of 23c/kg cwt dearer. Light and heavy weight mutton rates lifted 8c/kg cwt.

SA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 560c/kg, +20c; 18-24kg, 560-590c/kg, +23c; 24-26kg, 550-560c/kg, +23c; Merinos 16-22kg, 520c/kg, +20c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 210-340kg, +8c; 18-24kg, 270-340c/kg, no quote; 24kg+, 310-350c/kg, +8c.

The NLRS quoted WA’s OTH rates for lambs and mutton as unchanged this week. The OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 420-510c/kg; 18-22kg, 480-540c/kg; 22-26kg, 490-540c/kg; 26kg+, 440-510c/kg. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 230-240c/kg; 18-24kg, 240-280c/kg.

In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted OTH lamb rates as higher, especially on 22kg+ lambs, which were up to 40c/kg cwt higher. Sheep rates were also quoted higher, especially for mutton over 18kg cwt, which is up 35-40 cents.

Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-16kg, 460-480c/kg; no change; 16-18kg, 480-500c/kg, +20c; 18-22kg, 510-50c/kg, +30c; 22-26kg, 520-540c/kg, +40c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 0-14kg, 280-320c/kg, +30c; 14-18kg, 290-330c/kg, +30c; 18-24kg, 310-330c/kg, +40c; 24kg+, 300-330c/kg, +35c.

Dubbo lambs cheaper

In NSW at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 24,700 lambs, 700 more than last week, and 12,770 sheep, 5440 more.

The NLRS said it was a mixed quality yarding, with some top heavy weight lambs yarded, along with a fair supply of trade weights. A good number of light weight lambs was penned.

Light weight lambs were $5 cheaper, with 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $65-$102. Trade lambs were $12 cheaper, with the 18-22kg 3 scores making $86-130 to average 535c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $7-$13 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $121-$183. Merino lambs were up to $13 cheaper, with trade weights selling from $76-$110. The heavier weight Merinos were $5 cheaper, selling to $128.

It was principally a good quality yarding of mutton. Light weight Merino ewes were $3 cheaper, while the better medium and heavy weight ewes and wethers sold $5 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $40-$86, while the 3 and 4 scores sold from $71-$112 for crossbreds and to $128 for Merinos. The 3 and 4 score wethers sold from $82-$126.

Tamworth’s heavy lambs drop $7-$10

On Monday in the Tamworth saleyards, the agents yarded 3650 lambs, 460 fewer than last week, and 1750 sheep, 275 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to good. The yarding included lines of store condition young lambs. There was a good supply of trade weights and fewer heavy weight lambs. The usual buyers attended, but the extra trade competition of last week was absent.

Market trends in the trade and heavy weight lamb classes were generally cheaper. Trade lambs were least affected, down $2-$4 with some buyers commenting that domestic demand is weaker. Heavyweight lambs sold cheaper by $7-$10.

Restockers were active on the large run of young lambs, with prices showing little change but quality related week-on-week.

The fair to good quality penning of sheep contained better quality and condition lots in the medium and heavyweight classes that sold to a dearer trend, up $3-$5 on average.

Forbes lambs $6-$10 cheaper, mutton dearer

In the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 32,100 lambs, 8500 more than last week, and 9200 sheep, 1300 more.

The NLRS said the lamb and mutton yardings were affected by the continuing dry season. Lamb quality was similar to the previous sales, with good numbers of finished lambs along with a slight increase in the number of plainer lambs. The usual buyers competed in a cheaper market.

Light lambs sold from $95-$105. Trade weights were $6-$8 easier, with prices ranging from $103-$129. Heavy and extra heavy weights were $10 cheaper. Heavy lambs sold from $127-$149 and extra heavy weights made $138-$198. Carcase prices averaged from 523c/kg-588c/kg cwt.

The sheep yarding was mostly Merinos and quality was very mixed. Prices were firm to slightly dearer. Merino ewes sold from $74-$117. Crossbreds made from $74-$119 and Dorper ewes sold from $78-$104. Merino wethers ranged from $77-$122.

Bendigo’s trade and heavy lambs lift $5-$10

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 19,911 lambs, 7922 fewer than last week, and 11,543 sheep, 1064 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was very good with large numbers of well-presented trade weight and heavy lambs yarded.

The usual buyers operated strongly when compared to the market of two weeks ago, with trade and heavy lambs improving $5-$10 and more in places. An outstanding pen of extra heavy lambs reached a market top of $202.

Restockers and feeders paid from $89-$120 for lambs and from $40-$70 for lighter lots. Well-presented Merino lambs sold to keen competition from $105-$138 and from $78-$97 for the lighter lots, averaging around 530c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $72-$94.

Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $89-$122. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $117-$139 and from $125-$150 for the heavier drafts. These ranged from 520c/kg-610c/kg cwt, to average around 570c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $138-$181 to also average around 570c/kg cwt. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $170-$202.

The sheep offering included several runs of heavy crossbred ewes, and well-presented Merino wethers and ewes. When compared to the sale of two weeks ago, lighter sheep sold firm to a few dollars dearer. Most other sheep sold at similar levels, though the Merino were wethers a little easier.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $50-$87. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $62-$104, and they ranged from 300c/kg-410c/kg cwt to average around 350c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $78-$127.60. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $92-$128 with the medium weights selling from $73-$95, to average around 360c/kg cwt.

Trade and heavy lambs $6-$15 cheaper at Ballarat

In the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 28,582 lambs, 5704 more than last week, and 18,538 sheep, 1873 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was again good, with large numbers of trade weight and heavy lambs yarded. The usual buyers attended, although not all operated fully.

Most trade weight and heavy lambs generally sold $6-$15 easier compared to last week’s high levels. Extra heavy export lambs reached a market top of $192.

Restockers and feeders were active and they paid from $90-$132 for lambs, while the plainer lots sold from $60-$80. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $80-$100.

Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $90-$122. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $111-$142, and they ranged from 500c/kg-610c/kg cwt to average around 540c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $130-$173 to average around 550c/kg cwt. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $180 to $192/head, or around 540c/kg cwt.

The sheep offering included all weights and grades, with some big runs of Merino and crossbred sheep. Merino wethers sold to very strong competition to be up to $10 up on last week. Merino ewe mutton prices also started strongly but eased as the sale progressed to finish similar to last week. Some of the crossbred sheep sold a few dollars easier. Restockers were very active paying from $68-$99.60 for some large runs of Merino wethers, both recently shorn and carrying a good skin.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $45-$80. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $63-$101, and they ranged from 300c/kg-400c/kg cwt to average around 350c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $81-$107.50. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $95-$134 at around 395c/kg cwt, with the medium weights selling from $65-$108.

Lamb demand dips at Dublin

In SA at the SA Livestock Exchange in Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,449 lambs, 2376 more than last week, and 3000 sheep, 874 more.

The NLRS said the generally very good quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to declining demand from the usual trade and processor buyers. Feeder and restockers were active on suitable lambs and shorn crossbred lambs in the light weight category attracted animated bidding from feeders.

Light weight 2 score crossbred lambs sold to feed from $69-$118 with shorn lambs selling dearer than those unshorn. Heavier 3 score lambs sold to feed on made $103-$117. Light weight 3 score lambs to trade buyers were relatively unaffected by the price easing, ranging from $100-$120 to average 541c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 3 score lambs eased $5 to sell from $110-$126 and average 530c/kg cwt.

Heavy trade weight 4 score lambs eased up to $15 selling from $112-$140 and averaging 518c/kg cwt. Lambs in the heavy weight division eased up to $20 and more in places, selling from $130-$164 and returning 523c/kg-537c/kg cwt. Extra heavy weight lambs sold for $172-$179.

Restockers paid $43-$92 for light weight Merino lambs and trade weight 3 score Merinos sold from $100-$102, averaging 441c/kg cwt. Heavy weight Merino lambs followed the easing trend, selling from $115-$130 to average 456c/kg cwt.

The good quality sheep yarding sold to fluctuating processor competition. Light weight 2 score ewes eased $6, to sell from $58-$70 and average 283c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 score Merino ewes lifted $3, ranging from $78-$98 or around 319c/kg cwt. Heavy weight wethers were in plentiful supply and prices eased up to $15, selling for $84-$104 to return an average of 297c/kg cwt. Heavy weight rams were in demand and made $77-$118.

Lamb prices ease at Naracoorte

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4548 lambs, 53 fewer than last week, and 1196 sheep, 1326 less.

The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers and a small restocker presence attended the sale. Overall lamb prices were easier, while sheep sold firm on last week’s rates.

Light weight 2 score lambs ranged from $66-$98 while the lightweight trade lambs ranged from $102-$105. Restockers mainly paid from $48-$50 for lightweights and from $99-$108 for lambs with more condition. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $108-$129 at an average of 565c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $120-$155 with the few heavy export weight lambs making from $148-$168. Lambs sold up to $10 easier and more in places. Numerous pens of Merino lambs came forward and mainly ranged from $63-$90 with a high of $120 for a pen of heavy trade weight types.

Most of the sheep were Merino ewes. Lightweight 1 and 2 scores sold from $62-$73 with the medium weights ranging from $68-$98 at an average of 360c/kg cwt. Heavy ewes ranged from $94-$120. Rams sold mainly from $60-$75.

Trade lamb prices lift at Muchea

In WA at the Muchea saleyards, the agents yarded 9754 lambs, 3117 more than last week, and 6634 sheep, 2366 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed with more trade and heavy lambs. However, most lamb drafts were either secondary quality or light weight.

Prices for better lambs increased $3 with most other categories firm. Very light and store lambs, including Merino’s, were available in large numbers with prices mostly dearer at $25-$65. Light lamb to feed, suitable for air freight processors and for restockers were marginally dearer and made $60-$97.

Trade lamb sold from $90-$120, up $4, to average close to 520c/kg cwt for better drafts. Heavy lambs were also dearer by $4 and made $117-$135 for lines estimated at 25kg cwt.

Ewe mutton supplies included some good heavy weight drafts, but most were of plainer condition. Buyers were active from all sectors with live export active on wether and select ram drafts. The majority of ewes from firm to $3 dearer, after an easier start.

Light ewes made $35-$58, with 2 score mutton ranging from $46-$78, also firm at 290c/kg cwt. Better conditioned ewes including heavy weight drafts made $65-$90, up $4 for close to a 300c/kg cwt average.

Restockers purchased light and longer wool ewe drafts at similar prices to last week. Wether prices lifted under strong live export and processor competition. Heavy wethers sold from $90-$119, with live export sales from $80-$105. Lighter wethers and store drafts were also firm, making $45-$90 to restockers and feeders. Ram sales were solid with ram lambs from $60-$90 and other young drafts to live export and feeders from $30-$80. Old rams again sold from $10-$55.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.

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