BREEDING sheep continued to feature in online sales last week, while lamb and mutton prices in saleyards were mostly firm to cheaper on Friday, except where numbers and quality lifted buyer competition.
Quality trade lambs for domestic consumptions continued to attract the most competition at around 600c/kg cwt with rates for plainer and heavy export lambs mostly around 530-580c/kg.
Sheep and lamb numbers firmed to 39,255 head on AuctionsPlus last week with a large offering of woolly lines from southern NSW, market operations officer Anna Adams said.
Merino ewes and ewe lambs offered across all age ranges dominated the sales week, she said.
Ewe lambs made $72-$108.50, averaging $86.30. Proven Merino breeders made $110-$166, with an average of $133 as the market firmed on last week.
The top price of $166 was paid for a big line of 57kg lwt hoggets with a 10cm fleece and joined to Cottage Park and Hazeldean Merino Rams from Tarago NSW.
Ms Adams said Merino wether lambs sold from $35.50-$91.50 and averaged $68, as buyers also favoured woolly wethers. The top priced lot of wethers was a mob of 40kg lwt Tyrone blood lambs with a 6.5cm fleece from Moree NSW.
First cross ewes lambs sold from $114-$123, while proven and aged breeders made $145-$200, averaging $180. The top priced mob was a line of 58kg lwt hoggets scanned in lamb to Poll Dorset rams from Dobie, Victoria.
Click here to view AuctionsPlus highlights from last week.
NLRS lamb and mutton indicators fall slightly
The National Livestock Reporting Service Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb and mutton mostly fell slightly last Friday, finishing off a week of rate drops. The exception was the light lamb indicator, which closed at 567c/kg, up 4 cents after Friday, and down one pone cent for the week.
After Friday’s sales, the other lamb ESDI’s daily and weekly movements were: restocker 576c/kg, down 6 cents, down 16c; Merino 534c/kg, no change, down 15c; trade 583c/kg, down 4c, down 5c; heavy 589c/kg, down 1c, down 4c. The national trade lamb indicator fell 3 cents to 582c/kg on Friday and the heavy lamb indice was back 1 cent to 588c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton closed down 3 cents to 392c/kg on Friday, giving an 8-cent drop for the week. The national mutton indicator was back 3 cents to 391c/kg.
Griffith lambs up $3
In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8743 lambs, 4507 fewer than last week, and 2363 sheep, 587 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to the previous sale and there were good numbers of well-finished and grain assisted lambs. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a firm to dearer market.
Light lambs lifted $3 to sell from $102-$115. Trade weights were firm to $3 better, with prices ranging from $115-$147. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were also firm to $3 dearer. Heavy lambs sold from $141-$163. Extra heavy weights made $158-$196. Carcase prices ranged from 607-623c/kg cwt. Dohne and Merino lambs sold from $107-$146.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was mixed. Prices remained strong, with Merino ewes selling from $87-$149. Crossbred ewes sold from $89-$143. Dorper ewes made $85-$118.
Cowra heavy lambs $2 cheaper
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5000 lambs, 300 more than last week, and 800 sheep, 650 fewer.
The NLRS said quality was good for the heavy and better trade lambs. Mainly heavy and trade weights were penned, with a limited number of store lambs. All the buyers operated, with competition a little softer for the heavy lambs and firm for the trade weights. Light lambs to the processors averaged $107 and stores averaged $92. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were firm and made from 565-575c/kg cwt. The heavy trade weight lambs sold from $125-$135.
Heavy weight lambs were $2 cheaper and made from 553-560c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $153-$173.
Mutton quality varied. Medium Merino ewes sold to a dearer trend and averaged $92.50, or 358c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were $5 cheaper and averaged $118, or 353c/kg.
Shepparton buyers come for quality
In Victoria, at the Shepparton saleyards the agents yarded 2400 lambs, 1297 more than last week, and 610 sheep, 39 more.
The NLRS said the increased yarding of lambs led to a few more of the regular meat buyers attending the sale and prices were firm to dearer. The lead pens of trade weight lambs sold to the best demand, although some of the price improvement was due to their better quality.
The market reached a top of $185 for a pen of heavy export lambs. Bidding for light weight slaughter lambs improved and most made $72-$100. Very small lambs sold from $46-$69, with odd pens selling to local restockers. The lead pens of trade weight lambs made $134-$153, with the best of these making an estimated 590-620c/kg cwt. Bidding for secondary bred and finished domestic lambs was still selective at times, especially on small pen lots of just a few head. Prices for these plainer lambs generally ranged from $106-$129, or from 530-580c/kg. A limited offering of heavy export lambs mostly sold from $160-$185.
The quality of the sheep was mixed. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $95-$135, while medium and lighter weight ewes made $60-$92. Carcass prices varied due to the limited numbers and quality, with the general run of mutton estimated at about 340-350c/kg cwt.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.