Domestic Lamb

Lamb and mutton prices falter in some saleyards

Sheep Central, January 23, 2015
White Suffolk cross lambs AuctionsPlus Boorowa Jan23-15

These 14.6kg cwt White Suffolk cross lambs sold for $110.50 at Boorowa on AuctionsPlus this week

Increased offerings and some mixed quality lamb and sheep offerings at eastern state saleyards helped processor buyers pull back overall prices mid-week, with most daily indicators losing ground to more closely match grid prices.

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service said the Eastern States Daily Indicator for trade lambs closed at 546c/kg cwt, down four cents, with heavy lambs also losing three cents to finish on 554c/kg cwt.

The ES daily restocker lamb indicator also closed lower, down five cents to 559c/kg cwt and the light lamb indice is at 535c/kg cwt, a drop of four cents. Only the Merino lamb indicator lifted, by two cents to 491c/kg cwt. The ES mutton indicator is down four cents to 344c/kg cwt.

The national indicators were also all down, with the trade indice down five cents to 547c/kg cwt, the heavy lambs down by three cents to 556c/kg cwt and mutton off by four cents to 344c/kg.

Market hasn’t opened as strong as it finished

Kerr and Co Livestock manager and auctioneer at Hamilton Craig Pertzel said the lamb market hasn’t opened with the same gusto that it finished with prior to Christmas, nor has recent rain lifted the market significantly.

“I still think the market price is trading between 520-560c/kg cwt, with isolated sales where the price has touched 600c/kg.”

Mr Pertzel said shorn lambs are starting to come back into the market and he expected the lambs would be yielding better than lines earlier this summer.

“Probably in a lot of cases they are coming back in a little bit earlier than what they normally would, with a little less pelt on them, purely and simply because their agents is advising them to take the money while it is on with their first run and then go again in March-April.”

Mr Pertzel said croppers who have put lambs back onto stubble can tend to dump lambs and flatten markets.

He said although many lambs were bought by restockers last year, a lot more lambs were killed earlier last year due to the season.

“All the processors have all got this MK (Middle Eastern kill 12-18 kg cwt) order and we are not seeing a lot of those (lighter) lambs again this year.

“Our company generally sells 40,000 lambs in November – this year we sold 115,000.”

“Of those 70,000-odd extra lambs, probably 60,000 of them have been killed so they are not going to come back into the market again.”

Unlike in other areas with lucerne, Western District producers are less willing to buy back lambs to finish in pasture, but Mr Pertzel said many clients will shear their own secondary lambs for later marketing.

He has been happy with the solid sheep markets at Hamilton over the past two weeks.

“I think sheep might have more room to get even a little bit dearer as we go into the autumn.”

Carcoar’s trade lambs $7-$9 cheaper

In NSW at Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9500 lambs, 16 more than last week, and 4700 sheep, 396 more.

The NLRS said the plainer quality yarding had a more young lambs lacking finish along with good numbers of Merino lambs and hoggets. There were a few good lines of heavy weight new season lambs, some excellent heavy weight old lambs and a fair number of trade weights.

Lightweight lambs were firm with solid support coming from the restockers. Restocker paid from $57-$120 for young lambs. Trade lambs were $7-$9 cheaper with the 18-22kg new season lambs selling from $96-$132, to average 533c/kg cwt. Trade weight old lambs sold from $90-$124. The 22-24kg lambs were $6 cheaper while the heavier weights were firm. Over 22kg 4 score lambs sold from $126-$165 while the heavy weight new season lambs sold to $164. Trade weight Merino lambs sold from $85-$90 while heavy weight Merinos sold to $120. The best hoggets sold for $115.

The good quality yarding of mutton had some outstanding lines of crossbred ewes and a good mix of Merinos. Merino ewes and wethers were $3-$7 cheaper and the crossbred ewes sold $5 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $27-$75, while the 3 and 4 scores sold from $55-$108 for Merinos and to $125 for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $76-$115.

Goulburn restockers active

At the Goulburn saleyards, the agents yarded 1800 lambs and 1300 sheep.

The NLRS said the mixed quality yarding included a fair portion of young lambs but most showed dryness in the wool with increased levels of seed infestation. A good run of Dorper lambs provided the best finished lots. A few extra buyers produced a generally dearer market of around $3-$4.

Restockers were also active and paid from $78-$105 for 12-16kg cwt lambs. Light processing lots weighing 16-18kg cwt made $89-$100, while trade weights ranged from $96-$122. A small number of heavy and extra heavy lambs made from $125-$139 for most of the slaughter lots to average 520c/kg-560c/kg cwt, with an odd sale up to 600c/kg cwt.

It was a stronger mutton market for the generally good quality offering that included some larger runs of Merino wethers. Medium and heavy ewes made from $62-$100, while most of the Merino wethers ranged from $78-$118. Most of the mutton averaged 330c/kg-390c/kg cwt.

Strong restocker competition at Wagga

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 23,000 lambs, 300 fewer than last week, and 11,000 sheep, 1650 more.

The NLRS said quality slipped. Trade lambs were in reasonable supply with a good number of young supplementary fed shorn lambs. Well-shaped trade lambs were keenly sought by all processors, however plainer lambs lacking finish were overlooked by some buyers. The usual domestic and export buyers competed in a cheaper market for trade lambs. Secondary lambs suitable to restock or feed were in greater numbers and all types sold to solid competition from a large contingent of local restockers.

Bidding was strongest for well-finished heavy shorn trade lambs from export and domestic buyers. Most of the heavy trade lambs made 550c/kg-570c/kg cwt, reaching a top price of $148. Trade lambs 18-20kg were keenly sought by both restockers and processors with lambs to slaughter averaging $112.70. Light weight plain lambs sold to varying price trends with some export processors struggling to capture adequate supplies owing to strong restocker competition. The plainer conditioned lambs returning to the paddock made from $62-$72, while well-bred secondary lambs averaged $111. Lambs to the feedlots made from $106-$122.

Heavy export lambs were in reasonable supply and sold to strong northern competition. Heavy and extra heavy lambs sold from $155-$196, with a single pen estimated to weigh 38kg cwt reaching a top price of $198. Most heavy lambs ranged from 540c/kg-570c/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 $56-$91 to range from 301c/kg-330c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep were well-supplied and prices were generally a few dollars dearer for Merino ewes and wethers. Heavy Merino wethers made from $92-$130, to average 329c/kg cwt. Restockers operated plainer conditioned Merino ewes at $83-$92.

Hamilton lambs lose ground

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 18,674 lambs, 7370 more than last week.

The yarding comprised 75 percent new shorn lambs and some late new season lambs, most being spring drop light to light trade 2 to 3 score types. Some very good quality 22-27kg cwt shorn lambs were penned. Most processor buyers attended but not all operating fully and prices came back in all classes. Restockers were very active, seeing good opportunities as the market fluctuated, and rates continued to trend downward towards the end of the market. Store buyers came from Naracoorte, Millicent and many from the local area after the recent rains in the district.

Light 1 and 2 score lambs made from $50-$95, to be $3-$4 cheaper. Light trade 2 and 3 score trade lambs made from $88-$105, to be $8-$10 cheaper and mostly range from 480c/kg-550c/kg cwt.  Some larger shorn pen lots made up to 580c/kg cwt.

Medium trade 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $108-$125, to be $4-$6 cheaper. Heavy trade 4 score lambs made from $121-$135 and the extra heavies ranged from $140-$158, to be $6-$7 cheaper and make from 530c/kg-560c/kg cwt. Hoggets sold from $62-$110, ranging from 276c/kg-432c/kg cwt.

Horsham‘s best heavy lambs firm

At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 11,259 lambs, 3871 more than last week, 4062 sheep, 1863 more.

There was a big jump in lamb numbers this week with another good quality yarding offered to the usual buyers plus some extra competition. Well-presented extra heavy shorn lambs sold to firm competition and reached a market top of $182.

Lighter weight lambs sold a little dearer with the trade and heavy lambs a few dollars down on last week. Restocking activity was strong on suitable lots and they paid mostly from $69-$105.

Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $55-$88. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $87-$122. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $114-$136 and they ranged from 500c/kg-570c/kg cwt, to average around 540c/kg cwt.

Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $129-$168 to average around 530c/kg cwt. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $162-$182, at around 510c/kg cwt.

Sheep quality was good with most selling firm on last week’s levels, though some heavy crossbred ewes sold a few dollars easier. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $52-$70. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $65-$102, and they ranged from 305c/kg-390c/kg cwt to average around 340c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $78-$112, with heavy Merino wethers making $88-$100. The medium weights sold from $76-$90 to average 340c/kg-350c/kg cwt. Rams sold to $86.

Hamilton sheep cheaper

At the Hamilton saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 15,989 sheep, 3390 fewer than last week.

The NLRS said the offering was mostly very good quality heavy weight and lighter conditioned ewes with about 25pc of the yarding Merino wethers. All buyers were present but one processor was not operating which seemed to have an adverse effect on the sale, with mutton selling at slightly lower prices. There was no restocker activity.

Light sheep 1 and 2 score sold from $37-$68, around $2-$3 cheaper. The medium trade 2 and 3 score mutton made between $56-$86 to be around $3-$4 cheaper, as prices ranged from 310c/kg-340c/kg cwt.

Heavy crossbred 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $77-$94 to also be $3-$4 cheaper, as the extra heavy export mutton ranged from $95-$118 to be generally remain firm week-on-week, although at times some sales were $3-$4 cheaper. The heavier sheep ranged in price from 350c/kg-380c/kg cwt. Best of the prime Merino wethers made from $96-$115, from 360c/kg-400c/kg cwt. The best Merino ram sales were from $52-$55.

Mt Gambier’s best trade lambs lift $7

In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3406 lambs, 477 more than last week, and 587 sheep, 346 more.

The NLRS said large runs of good quality shorn lambs came forward and sold to solid competition from the usual trade and processor buyers. Restockers were also active. Prices for the lambs were dearer across all categories while sheep were slightly easier.

Light weight lambs to the trade ranged from $81-$100, to be $5 dearer in places. The few light weight trade lambs ranged from $103-$110, to rise by up to $7, while restockers paid from $42-$103. The trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $112-$130, to also rise by $7 and average 540c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs rose by up to $10 and ranged from $126-$150, to average 550c/kg cwt. The few pens of extra heavy 4 and 5 score types ranged from $146-$155, to rise by $3.

The few hoggets offered sold from $83-$96.  The light weight 1 and 2 score sheep ranged from $50-$72 and medium weight 2 and 3 scores made $84-$100, to finish $5 easier and average 390c/kg cwt. The few heavy 4 score types ranged from $100-$119.

Katanning prices improve during sale

In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5670 lambs, 2217 fewer than last week, and 9800 sheep, 700 fewer.

The NLRS said the very hot conditions possibly affected deliveries. Ewes were the largest category and there was a reasonable number of crossbred lambs. Merino lambs and wethers were in moderate supply. Quality was fair with some good lines of Merino ewes and a small number of prime trade and heavy lambs. Many of the ewes were in lighter condition and the majority of the lambs were secondary and store conditioned lighter weight drafts. Competition varied throughout the sale with prices improving as the sale progressed and some buyers sought to secure numbers. Most prices were back marginally with quality the main contributor.

Very light store lambs made $25-$55 and close to firm. Light lamb to air freight, live export, and feed and restocker orders sold from $55-$90 and remained close to firm. Trade lambs sold from $85-$105, with the better prime drafts firm at 480c/kg cwt and the secondary drafts mostly $2 easier. Heavier lambs sold from $107-$135 and averaged close to 490c/kg cwt.

Ewe prices started the sale $5 easier but lifted as the sale progressed and restocker demand lifted, to finish close to firm.

Light store drafts made $25-$54 and were $2 cheaper due to weight and quality. The 2 score mutton to processors made $41-$85, to be $1 cheaper and average close to 288c/kg cwt. Better ewes including heavy weight drafts made $60-$88 and were firm for a 287c/kg cwt average. Restockers purchased most light mature ewes at $30-$54, with better ewes including ewe hogget drafts making $53-$86.50 to be firm on last week.

Wethers sold at similar prices with processors purchasing the very heavy and crossbred drafts for $78-$105. Live export paid $68-$96 for suitable drafts, also similar, with light and store wethers selling from $45-$83 to be firm on last sale. Ram lambs sold to a top of $92.50, with most young drafts making $30-$65 and older lines to processors selling from $5-$50.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus

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