Prices for quality trade and heavy lambs started to rise in saleyards across Australia mid-week as supplies of well-finished lambs with weight fell nationally.
Mutton prices also gained ground again on the back of rapidly declining yardings at most saleyards, with the Eastern States Daily Indicator at 357c/kg cwt, up seven cents.
After Thursday’s saleyards sales, MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Tarde Lamb Indicator as up five cents to 554c/kg cwt and the heavy lamb indice at 565c/kg, up three cents.
Only the restocker lamb indicator lost ground despite continuing restocking demand at most saleyards. The ESD restocker lamb indicator was down six cents to 544c/kg cwt and the light lamb indice was unchanged at 546c/kg cwt.
Carcoar heavy lambs $7-$10 dearer and up to 600c/kg cwt
In NSW at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5500 lambs, 4000 fewer than last week, and 3900 sheep, 800 fewer.
The NLRS said the improved quality yarding of lambs had outstanding heavy weights and a fair number of heavy trade weights. There were fewer light weight lambs than last week.
Light weight lambs were $3 dearer to restockers, who paid from $56-$112. Trade lambs were $6-$9 dearer, with 18-22kg new season lambs selling from $96-$139 to average 560c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $7-$10 dearer, with the over 22kg old lambs selling from $134-$176 to range from 575c/kg-600c/kg cwt.
The good quality yarding of mutton had some properly finished crossbreds and Merinos. Heavy weight crossbred ewes were firm and the heavy weight Merinos sold up to $5 dearer. Light and medium weight Merinos were around firm. The 2 score ewes sold from $45-$77, while the better 3 and 4 scores sold from $75-$121 for crossbreds and to $115 for Merinos. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $70-$118.
Plainer Goulburn lambs $4-$5 cheaper
In the Goulburn saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2000 lambs, 200 more than last week, and 1500 sheep, 200 more.
The NLRS said it was a generally plainer yarding. The longer wool young lambs lacked condition, but there were a few better-finished shorn lots. Restocking lambs were scarcer, while Dorpers were again well-supplied.
The plainer quality and the absence of a few regular buyers produced a market cheaper by $4-$5. Restockers paid $91-$114, while the light processing lots, 16-18kg cwt, made $88-$100. Trade weights, including some well-finished Dorpers, ranged from $104-$120. A few heavy and extra heavy weights made $110-$133 for most of the slaughter lambs to range from 510c/kg-550c/kg cwt.
Sheep quality was also mixed, but there were some good lines of younger Merino sheep that met strong restocker competition in a generally firm to slightly cheaper market. Young Merino ewes to restockers made $103-$121. Light 2 score ewes to process ranged from $50-$76, while medium and heavy ewes and wethers made $62-$110 for most of the better-covered slaughter sheep to range from 320c/kg-360c/kg cwt.
Strong demand for Wagga trade lambs
In the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 21,000 lambs, 2000 fewer than last week, and 7600 sheep, 3400 less.
The NLRS said quality was very good overall in the trade and heavy weight categories. Trade lambs were in shorter supply with fewer supplementary-fed young shorn lambs. Well-shaped trade lambs were keenly sought by several domestic processors, while plainer lambs lacking finish were keenly contested by local restockers. The usual domestic and export buyers competed in a dearer market.
Bidding intensified for well-finished heavy trade lambs, aided by stronger demand from export and domestic buyers. The bulk of the heavy trade lambs averaged 589c/kg cwt, reaching a top price of $149. Trade lambs, 20-22kg cwt, were keenly sought by several domestic processors with lambs to slaughter averaging $132.10. Light weight plain lambs sold to stronger price trends with all export processors struggling to capture adequate supplies, due to very strong restocker demand.
The plainer conditioned lambs returning to the paddock made from $69-$86, while well-bred secondary lambs averaged $110.50, lifting $7. Light lambs to the processors ranged from $84-$108.
Heavy export lambs were well-supplied with plenty weighing more than 32kg cwt. Heavy lambs made from $146-$169, to average 584c/kg cwt. The bulk of the extra heavy lambs sold from $154-$198.50, ranging from 535c/kg-579c/kg cwt.
Mutton quality was quite mixed, with all weights and grades represented. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were in reasonable supply and made from $54-$86. Heavy sheep were well-supplied and prices generally weakened $3-$7, due to not all major northern export processors operating fully. Heavy Merino wethers made from $87-$120, to average 357c/kg cwt. There were more heavy crossbred ewes and they sold from $108-$119.
Hamilton lambs dearer
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 13,592 lambs, 5082 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said while one of the usual processor buyers was not operating, the three remaining competed strongly, lifting prices in all weight ranges and regaining last week’s falls. Restockers were also consistently active, with at least five agents from South Australia, some local order and some from the Shepparton area, paying from $56-$107. Less young lambs with length in skins were yarded and half the yarding were light to light trade lambs that averaged $7-$10 dearer. Medium trade weights averaged $4-$5 dearer and the fewer heavy to extra heavier lambs, sold $5-$6 better.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs made from $60-$102. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs mainly made from $100-$114, ranging from 530c/kg-640c/kg cwt to average around 580c/kg cwt. Medium trade 3 score lambs sold from $112-$130. Heavy trade 3 and 4 score lambs made $124-$140 and the extra heavy 4 score export lambs sold from $146-$160, estimated to be 28kg cwt with a $5 skin value and working out to average 555c/kg cwt. Most heavy and extra heavy lambs made from 550c/kg-580c/kg cwt.
The best of the hoggets made $100-$120, ranging from 370c/kg-450c/kg cwt. The best of the young Merinos sheep made $61-$74, at around 330c/kg-365c/kg cwt with a $5 skin value.
Horsham trade lambs to 610c/kg cwt, sheep to 400c/kg cwt
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6332 lambs, 4927 fewer than last week, and 1926 sheep, 2136 fewer.
The NLRS said the quality of the lamb penning was good. Most of the regular buyers operated strongly in a dearer market, with quality lambs lifting up to $10 and more in places. Outstanding, extra heavy shorn lambs reached a market top of $195. Restockers paid to $74 for lambs and $106 for young crossbred ewes.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $74-$91. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $80-$129. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $118-$148, ranging from 550c/kg-610c/kg cwt, to average around 570c/kg cwt.
Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $145-$179 to average around 580c/kg cwt. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $178-$195. Heavy hoggets sold from $90-$110.
The plainer sheep offering included many good runs of Merinos and crossbred sheep, selling to strong demand to be to $10 dearer.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $50-$74. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $79-$90, and they ranged from 370c/kg-400c/kg cwt to average around 385c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $84-$124 with Merino wethers sold from $82-$101 at around 350c/kg cwt. Rams sold from $50-$87.
Ouyen lambs sell to $186
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 12,000 lambs and 2600 mutton.
OLE superintendent Kate Polhner said the regular buyers attended, but not all were active. Following market trends, prices for quality export lambs reached $186 or 550 c/kg cwt and a quality pen of Dorper lambs sold to $155.
Export lambs sold from $139-$186 or 530c/kg-570 c/kg cwt, the trade lambs made $104-$158 or 560c/kg-580c/kg cwt and store lambs sold for $64-$110. Light Merino lambs sold from $50-$110 and the heavy lines made $105.60-$128.
Merino wethers made up to $145 and Merino ewes sold to $140.60. The light mutton sold from $52-$93.60 or 380c/kg-410c/kg cwt and the heavy sheep made $93-$135 at 340c/kg-390c/kg cwt.
Mt Gambier lambs dearer for less weight
In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards, the agents yarded 2417 lambs, 989 fewer than last week, and 342 sheep, 245 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed with less weight available for buyers. Lambs sold to dearer rates in all categories to restockers and to the usual trade and processor buyers.
Light weight lambs to the trade ranged from $92-$100, to be $5 dearer. Light weight trade lambs returned $106-$116 to the trade, while restockers mainly paid from $75-$105 for lambs to turn out. The trade weight 3 score lambs made mainly $111-$127, to average 570c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $125-$148, to average 550c/kg cwt. The extra heavy 4 score lambs sold from $137-$167.
Light weight hoggets sold to $54 while the heavier types made $96-$110. The medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep ranged from $72-$100, with the heavier selection sold from $90-$105 at an average of 370c/kg cwt. The few pens of wethers sold from $104-$120 and rams ranged from $25-$53.
Katanning prices firm
In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3703 lambs, 1967 fewer than last week, and 5000 sheep, 4800 less.
The NLRS said ewe mutton dominated the yarding with moderate supplies of trade lambs and solid supplies of light Merino lambs available. All the usual buyers were active, with most categories firming. Wether drafts suitable for live export were strong as were light lambs suitable for feeders and air freight processors. Trade lamb and ewe mutton lifted largely due to limited supplies.
Light store lambs sold from $20-$65, mostly $3 dearer and dominated by light weight Merino drafts. Light lambs to processors, live export and feeders also lifted more than $5, to $65-$99.50.
The trade lambs were mainly plain and in 2 score condition, selling from $88-$115 to be firm to $3 dearer and average close to 490c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs made from $113 to a top of $130 for lambs estimated to weigh 27kg cwt.
Ewe mutton sold from firm to $5 dearer, with the light weight drafts making from $38-$65, to average $5 dearer. The 2 score mutton to processors made $55-$75, to be up slightly at 305c/kg cwt. The 3 and 4 score mutton, including heavy weight crossbred drafts, made from $72-$90, close to equal week-on-week. Restockers were active on ewe hogget and suitable mature ewes with most sales firm and from $50-$71.
Wether prices lifted under live export pressure and export weight drafts rose $10, to $79-$100. Processors paid up to $110 for extra heavy drafts. Lighter weight and store wethers were $5 dearer making $50-$92. Rams sold well, with ram lambs making to $100 and young drafts from $30-$75 to export and feeders. Old rams sold from $10-$50 to processors.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, Ouyen Livestock Exchange.
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