Domestic Lamb

Lamb and mutton prices climb on back of reduced offering

Sheep Central, February 25, 2015
These 18kg cwt White Suffolk cross lambs at Rylestone, NSW, sold for $112.50  on AuctionsPlus this week.

These 18kg cwt White Suffolk cross lambs at Rylestone, NSW, sold for $112.50 on AuctionsPlus this week.

Lamb prices climbed up over 600c/kg cwt and mutton topped 400c/kg in some eastern states saleyards as processors bid on generally reduced offerings at major centres early this week.

Despite processors general dropping over-the-hook lamb rates this week and keeping mutton rates firm, the impact of producers holding back supply until prices improve showed in saleyard price movements.

The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted light trade lambs at Ballarat making up to 630c/kg cwt and trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs ranged from 520c/kg-600c/kg cwt. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made from 310c/kg-410c/kg cwt.

At Bendigo, domestic buyers bought heavier lambs and paid an estimated 540c/kg-570c/kg cwt for lead drafts of trade lambs, while exporters were still quiet. The centre’s quality mutton ranged from an estimated 340c/kg-400c/kg cwt.

Saleyard lamb cwt indicators on the move again

After the close of Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS quoted all of its Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs as moving up. The category indicators and changes were: restocker, 571c/kg cwt, up 10 cents; Merinos, 484c/kg, up 5 cents; light, 524 cents, up 12 cents; trade, 534 cents, up 8 cents. The national trade lamb indicator was up 2 cents to 536c/kg and the heavy lamb indice was up 7 cents to 541c/kg.

The ESDI for mutton closed up two cents at 353c/kg and the national indice finished on 354c/kg, up three cents.

Processors drop lamb grid rates

In NSW, the NLRS said over-the-hook rates continued to ease in all lamb categories this week, with trade weight lambs averaging from 521¢/kg-531¢/kg cwt, in line with saleyard trends. Mutton prices remain unchanged.

NSW’s 2-4 score OTH lamb rates are: 18-20kg, 48-560c/kg cwt, down 13 cents; 20-22kg, 490-560c/kg, down 13c; 22-24kg, 510-560c/kg, down 14c; 24-26kg, 510-520c/kg, down 20c; Merinos 16-22kg, 400-480c/kg, down 37c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 250-310c/kg; 18-24kg, 280-360c/kg; 24kg+, 320-360c/kg.

In Victoria, the NLRS said most contributors eased OTH rates across all lamb categories this week, with trade weight carcases averaging 565c/kg cwt. Mutton rates were firm to slightly dearer week-on-week.

Victoria’s 2-4 score OTH lamb rates are: 16-18kg, 560c/kg cwt, down 5c; 18-24kg, 560-570c/kg, down 8c; 24-26kg, 530-560c/kg, down 5c; 26kg+, 530c/kg, down 10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 500c/kg, down 10c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 280-340c/kg, no change; 18-24kg, 310-350c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 300-340c/kg, up 3c.

In SA, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates declined across all categories this week, with trade and heavy weight carcases an average of 23c/kg cwt lower week-on-week. Mutton rates remained unchanged.

SA’s 2-4 score OTH lamb rates are: 16-18kg, 530c/kg, down 30c; 18-24kg, 530-570c/kg, down 23c; 24-26kg, 530c/kg, down 23c; Merinos 16-22kg, 490c/kg, down 30c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 210-310c/kg; 18-24kg, 270-310c/kg; 24kg+, 310-350c/kg.

In WA, the NLRS quoted higher OTH lamb rates and mutton prices unchanged. WA’s 2-4 score lamb rates are: 16-18kg, 450-530c/kg, up 10c; 18-22kg, 510-580c/kg, up 20c; 22-26kg, 520-580c/kg, up 20c; 26kg+, 470-530c/kg, up 7c. The 2-4 score sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 230-240c/kg; 18-24kg+, 240-280c/kg.

In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted then OTH rates for lamb and mutton as unchanged. The 2-4 score lamb rates are: 0-16kg, 460-480c/kg; 16-18kg, 480-500c/kg; 18-22kg, 510-540c/kg; 22-26kg+, 520-540c/kg. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 0-14kg, 280-320c/kg; 14-18kg, 290-330c/kg; 18-24kg, 310-330c/kg; 24kg+, 300-330c/kg.

Dubbo lambs lift $4-$8

In NSW at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 13,160 lambs, 7710 fewer than last week, and 10,070 sheep, 410 more.

The NLRS said it was a mixed quality yarding of lambs with some good runs of heavy weights and only limited numbers of ideal trade weights. There were also fair numbers of lightweight crossbreds and Merinos.

Lightweight lambs were $5 dearer with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $54-$107. Trade lambs were $4-$6 dearer with the 18-22kg 3 scores making $87-$132, to average 514c/kg cwt.

Heavy weight lambs were $3-$5 dearer with over 22kg 4 scores selling from $115-$175. Trade weight Merinos were $5-$8 dearer selling from $88-$113, while the heavier weights sold to $122. Restockers paid to $93 and the best hoggets sold for $112.

It was a fair to good quality yarding of mutton and most grades were $3 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $25-$76, while the better 3 and 4 score ewes sold to the processors from $53-$110 for Merinos and to $111 for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $85-$125.

Solid demand for quality at Tamworth

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3750 lambs, 250 more than last week, and 1810 sheep, 440 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fairly mixed with some good trade and heavyweights penned, but quality did tail off. The regular buyers attended.

Demand for good quality lambs in all categories was solid. Good quality trade and heavy weights remained firm. There was weaker demand for secondary quality lambs and these sold to cheaper trends. There was good restocker competition for lambs forward in condition and carrying a bit more weight.

The plainer quality light and very light weight lambs sold to a cheaper trend, with quality variations accounting for a large price change in the lightest weight category.

There was good demand for heavy weight sheep, with the market trending dearer. The light and medium weight sheep sold to a slightly cheaper trend, with some quality related price change also.

Forbes lamb prices improve

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 29,350 lambs, 8150 more than last week, and 10,550 sheep, 1800 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to the previous sale, with good numbers of finished lambs and plainer secondary types. The usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market that varied with the quality offered.

Light lambs sold from $92-$99. Trade weights were firm to $3 better with prices ranging from $105-$126. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were also fairly steady with heavy lambs selling from $125-$139. Extra heavy weights ranged in price from $132-$188. Carcase prices averaged from 514c/kg-567c/kg cwt.

The sheep yarded were mostly Merinos and quality was again very mixed. Prices remained fairly firm with Merino ewes selling from $71-$115. Crossbred ewes ranged from $74-$117 and Dorper ewes sold from $75-$102. Merino wethers ranged from $76-$125.

Bendigo lamb rates lift

In Victoria, at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 13,007 lambs, 2637 fewer than last week, and 4825 sheep, 2607 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was generally of a plainer standard compared to a week ago, with less well-finished trade weight pens offered. There was little price change for heavy lambs with not all the usual export companies operating.

The market reached a top of $172 for lambs estimated to weigh about 32kg cwt with an $8 skin. There were only a few pens sold above $160. However, bidding did intensify for trade and light weight slaughter lambs and these categories were dearer, with the lightest and smallest lambs recording the biggest price gains.

Bidding for light lambs weighing less than 18kg cwt was very strong from processors and restockers, with most sales $10-$12 dearer. Most light lambs sold from $85-$100, averaging over $90 at very high carcase prices. The main restocking orders were from Swan Hill, Finley and Kerang, with some local Bendigo competition.

The better bred and finished trade lambs averaged $2-$5 dearer at $130-$145, with some of the major domestic buyers stepping up in weight this week. The lead drafts of trade lambs were estimated at 540c/kg-570c/kg cwt. Bidding for secondary trade lambs was more consistent and most also sold dearer, from $106-$125. In contrast, exporter bidding remained subdued and heavy lambs weighing 28-32kg cwt were firm to $2 cheaper at $153-$163, or an estimated 500c/kg-530c/kg cwt.

The lower number of sheep yarded combined with strong processor demand resulted in a much dearer mutton market compared to a week ago. Most sales averaged $7-$12 dearer, with some lines recording greater price gains. Pens of extra heavy crossbred ewes sold from $90-$134 and a stand-out pen of big longer wool Merino wethers estimated to have a carcase weight of 38kg topped at $139. Medium weight ewes generally made from $70-$90. Quality mutton ranged from an estimated 340c/kg-400c/kg cwt.

Ballarat’s best trade and heavy lambs $5 dearer

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 18,136 lambs, 2383 fewer than last week, and 1094 sheep, 1014 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was again good, but there was a smaller offering of heavy lambs. The usual buyers operated keenly on the better-presented trade weight and heavy lambs selling from firm to $5 dearer on last week’s sale.

Several lots of quality light weight trade lambs sold to $125, at around 630c/kg cwt. Feeders and restockers were again active and paid mostly from $82-$116 for suitable lambs. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $64-$91. Lighter trade weight 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $92-$125. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $112-$148.50, and they ranged from 520c/kg-600c/kg cwt, to average around 550c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $139-$162.

The sheep offering included all weights and grades, and quality was average, with more light weight mutton. Not all the usual buyers operated fully. However, most sheep sold to a dearer trend to be a few dollars up on last week. In places selected lots made to 410c/kg cwt.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $44-$84, with very light 1 scores selling from $23-$63. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $63 to $106.50/head, and they ranged from 310c/kg-410c/kg cwt to average around 360c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $75-$113. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $103-$114 and the medium weights made $75-$103, to average around 380c/kg cwt.

Naracoorte lambs and sheep dearer

In SA at the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3765 lambs, 1315 fewer than last week, and 1287 sheep, 519 more.

The NLRS said more store lambs were yarded. The usual trade and processor buyers were present and prices fluctuated throughout the market. A larger restocker presence caused prices for lighter lambs to rise. The heavier lambs were fully firm to the trade while unknown seed status again caused significant price falls in some pens.

Light weight 2 score lambs to the trade ranged from $73 to mainly $97. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold to $107, as restockers bid freely to purchase at $58-$104, making prices $5-$8 dearer. A number of pens of Merino lambs ranged in price from $44-$101 for some trade weight 3 score types while the trade purchased from $110-$125, at an average of 525c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs mainly ranged from $120-$136, with an isolated high of $162. Hoggets sold from $72-$110.

Sheep prices rose by $8-$10. Light weight ewes ranged from $50-$68, while the medium weights made $65-$92, at an average of 350c/kg cwt. Heavy weight ewes sold from $91-$112. Rams mainly ranged from $40-$76.

Heavy trade lambs dearer at Dublin

At the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,862 lambs, 10 more than last week, and 2641 sheep, 513 more.

The very mixed quality offering of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to erratic demand from the usual trade and processor buyers. Feeder and restocker buyers continue to operate strongly on suitable light weight lambs.

Light weight Merinos to restockers sold from $70-$86, while light weight Merinos to processors sold from $90-$105, averaging 467c/kg cwt. Light weight, bare shorn crossbreds to feeders were keenly sought and lifted $6, selling from $68-$99, and heavier crossbreds to feed on sold up to $110. Light weight 3 score crossbreds to trade buyers lifted $7, selling from $99-$108 and averaging 495c/kg, and light trade weight 3 scores lifted $4, selling from $107-$117, averaging 510c/kg cwt.

Trade weight 3 score Merinos eased $4, selling from $90-$109, to average 439c/kg and heavy weights fluctuated around last week’s values, selling from $110-$130, at 457c/kg-483c/kg cwt. Heavy trade weight 4 scores lifted $3, selling from $112-$139, to average 511c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs sold from $125-$156 at around 509c/kg cwt. Extra heavy weights made $150-$173.

The generally good quality sheep sold to easing competition. Despite the addition of an extra processor buyer, restockers had little influence. Light weight 2 score ewes eased up to $10, selling from $58-$78, to average 280c/kg cwt and heavy weight ewes eased $7, making from $85-$98, to average 309c/kg cwt. Heavy weight wethers were scarce and lifted $2, selling from $92-$108, to average 327c/kg cwt. Heavy weight rams made $75-$106.

Muchea lamb demand solid

In WA at the Muchea saleyards, the agents yarded 4870 lambs, 5578 fewer than last week, and 4400 sheep, 600 fewer.

The NLRS said there was a reasonable number of crossbred lambs and a solid supply of store Merino lambs, many of which were very light weight. Quality was mixed, with reasonable numbers prime lambs. Competition remained solid from a full field of buyers with prime lamb prices lifting.

The better store lamb and wether drafts remained firm. Very light store lambs were mostly Merino drafts and made $10-$65 to be $5 dearer. Light lamb to processors, restockers and live export made $55-$101 and were $3 dearer. Trade lambs lifted $2, with most sales from $90-$122. The prime drafts averaged 520c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold from $112-$142.

Mutton prices varied but finished firm to slightly cheaper on last week. Hogget, wether and ram supplies were moderate and there was a reasonable number of heavy ewes. Ewe prices were lower week-on-week.

Light weight ewes made $20-$55, mostly to restockers and down $3. The 2 score mutton to processor orders made $44-$72, to be down $3. Better conditioned 3 and 4 score mutton sold from $68-$80, to be $5-$8 cheaper and close to 280c/kg cwt.

Wether prices were solid, driven by live export demand. Better export wethers sold from $70-$100, to remain firm, while store drafts made $60-$81. Rams again sold to solid competition with ram lambs ranging from $70-$90 and young drafts to live export and feeders making $30-$57. Old rams sold for $5-$53 to processors.

Source: NLRS, MLA, AuctionsPlus.

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