Domestic Lamb

Lamb and mutton prices lift in saleyards

Sheep Central, October 31, 2014
These four-month-old 21.8kg cwt Poll Dorset-Merino cross lambs sold for $99 on AuctionsPlus this week.

These four-month-old 21.8kg cwt Poll Dorset-Merino cross lambs sold for $99 on AuctionsPlus this week.

Processors took opportunities to re-supply with quality lambs and secure sheep supplies in most saleyards mid-week, lifting rates for mutton and across most lamb categories.

Producers benefited most at centres where processors returned to saleyard buying, and quality meshed with the clearing of OTH lamb and mutton bookings. A drop in supply, especially of mutton in NSW, and new orders for heavy mutton also helped to improve prices.

MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator up six cents after Thursday’s saleyards sales, to 456c/kg cwt, with the heavy lamb indice up four cents to 459c/kg cwt. The ES mutton indicator lifted 10 cents to 288c/kg cwt.

All the national indicators rose after Thursday, except for restocker lambs, which was unchanged at 456c/kg cwt. The other lamb national indicators today are: Merinos 393c/kg cwt, up 13 cents; light 423c/kg, down 3c; trade 454c/kg, up 5c, and; heavy 456c/kg, up 3c. The national mutton indicator is at 288c/kg, up 10 cents.

Heavy lambs up $6-$8 at Carcoar

In NSW at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9250 lambs, 4130 more than last week, and 3150 sheep, 1590 more.

The NLRS said the very good quality yarding of both trade and heavy weight new season lambs along with some good pens of heavy weight old lambs. Lightweight lambs were in limited supply.

Lightweight lambs were firm to $2 dearer, with 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $46-$86. Trade weight lambs were $4 dearer, with 18-22kg 3 score new season lambs selling from $86-$118, to average 492c/kg cwt. Trade weight old lambs sold from $70-$108. Heavy weight lambs were $6-$8 dearer, with the over 22kg new season lambs selling from $111-$140, while the heavy weight old lambs sold to $159. Restockers paid to $80 for young lambs and hoggets sold to $92.

It was a mixed quality yarding of mutton, where most grades were $3-$6 dearer compared to the previous week’s smaller yarding. The 3 and 4 score Merino ewes sold from $66-$77 while the crossbred ewes sold from $70-$84. Merino wethers sold to $77.

Restocker lambs firm at Goulburn

At the Goulburn saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1800 lambs, 400 more than last week, and 700 sheep, 400 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb supply improved in a generally good quality yarding. Most of the young lambs were light and trade weights with a fair run of mostly shorn old lambs. Most of the young lambs were presented in good condition although odd lots were dry in the skin, reflecting the drying pasture conditions.

A couple of additional processor orders created a lift in prices for the lighter young lambs, while trade and heavy weights averaged around $5 cheaper. Most of the young lambs to restockers sold at close to firm prices, making $77-$92 to feed and up to $109 for first cross ewe lambs. Light processing lots ranged from $74-$100 with buyers favouring condition and finish. Trade weights made $88-$108, while a few heavy weights made from $104-$124. Most of the young lambs averaged 430c/kg-480c/kg cwt.

In the old lamb section, light weight Merinos made $52-$80 or 340c/kg-400c/kg cwt. The trade weight lambs, mostly freshly shorn, made $77-$94, to average around 410c/kg cwt.

A plain quality run of mutton met solid competition to be mostly unchanged, with a few odd sales trending dearer. Light 2 score ewes made $41-$52 while medium and heavy ewes and wethers ranged from $52-$80, to average 220c/kg-300c/kg cwt.

Merino trade lambs lift $8 at Wagga

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 31,500 lambs, 4350 more than last week, and 8000 sheep, 4200 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was very good, however skin quality slipped with more lambs showing dryness and seed contamination. Not all major domestic processors operated, however the usual group of export buyers competed in a dearer market.

Lambs suitable to turn-out were well-supplied and sold to solid demand. A smaller turnout of buyers purchased lambs above 18kg cwt to average $97. Lighter weight younger lambs were keenly contested ranging in price from $70-$87. Store orders were in place from Queanbeyan, Forbes, Cowra and the local area.

Trade lambs were well-supplied and prices strengthened over all categories. Light trade weight lambs were well-supplied and steady competition from restockers contributed to the better-finished lambs averaging $102.90. Medium and heavy trade lambs were in greater numbers with increased supplies of shorn young lambs. Prices were generally $2-$4 dearer to average 483c/kg cwt.

Trade weight Merino lambs were in short supply and the better-finished drafts suitable for the trade lifted $8, and sold from $94-$111.60. Heavy and extra heavy young lambs sold to strong northern competition with northern processors the market drivers on the better-finished pens. Heavy and extra heavy lambs sold from $118-$135.20 with the extra heavy lambs averaging 473c/kg cwt.

Mutton numbers were significantly lower and quality was mixed with all weights and grades represented. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were in reasonable supply, and prices were generally $8-$9 higher. Trade sheep made from $65-$88 to average 294c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep were well-supplied.

Elders Wagga livestock manager Glenn Fordyce said there was more processor interest on one of Wagga’s best quality lamb yardings for the season.

“It is much appreciated.”

Mr Fordyce said the market lift was due to a number of factors including yarding quality, a drop in numbers elsewhere and the clearing of OTH orders.

“Quality had a fair bit to do with our lamb job.”

Best quality lambs unchanged at Horsham

In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 16,784 lambs, 650 more than last week, and 4764 sheep, 214 more, for the usual buyers, plus some extra feeder and restocker competition.

The NLRS said quality was again average to good with reasonable numbers of trade and heavy lambs penned, although a lot of lambs showed dryness in the skins. Best quality lambs sold mostly unchanged with others generally $2-$3 easier than last week. Feeder and restocking activity was again strong, with lighter drafts selling from $46-$64 and heavier lots selling from $69.50-$87.50. Lambs sold to local, Kaniva, Ballarat, Finley, Corowa, Rainbow and Mallee areas. Several pens of shorn young lambs were offered and sold mostly to restockers from $55-$78.

Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $65-$70, while light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $77-$102. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $93-$115 and ranged from 410c/kg-460c/kg cwt, to average around 445c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $114-$128, to average around 435/c kg cwt.

The sheep offering included many pens of well-presented Merino and crossbred ewes. Sheep sold to strong competition to be from $2-$10 up on last week and more in places, with a run of medium weight sheep, averaging around 290c/kg cwt.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $36-$58.50. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $53-$88 and ranged from 220c/kg-340c/kg, to average around 290c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $61-$93.50, with heavy Merino wethers selling from $82-$88 and medium weights from $69-$81.50.

Best new season trade lambs lift $2 at Hamilton

At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8045 lambs, 5478 more than last week, and 5694 lambs, 3255 more.

The NLRS said about 80 percent of the lambs were new season lines. An increase in buyer attendance saw strong competition on the average to good quality lambs and the mixed sheep selection showing the effects of the season.

The better-conditioned 3 and 4 score trade lambs mainly sold equal to $1-$2 dearer with the lighter 2 score lambs being $2-$3 cheaper.

Local restockers were quite active throughout the sale as the light lambs ranged in price from $46-$68.50 to a high of $80. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made from $75-$85, with the better medium trade 3 score lambs making from $83-$105. The heavier trade 3 and 4 score lambs made $106-$118 as they ranged between the 22-24kg cwt.

Old lambs, 2 and 3 score, made from $55-$92 and mostly at 350c/kg cwt, while hoggets made up to $82.

Sheep sold to stronger demand to be $3-$5 dearer than at last week’s improved sale, ranging between 240c/kg-280c/kg cwt. Light sheep made from $27-$54, while medium weight sheep made $55-$63. The heavy sheep sold from $65-$72. The best Merino wethers made up to $73, while rams made up to $34.

Heavy ewes up $18 at Bendigo

At the Bendigo saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 7821 sheep, 1656 more than last week.

The NLRS said medium and heavy weight Merino ewes dominated the yarding. All the regular buyers attended, and several exporters had strong orders for heavy slaughter mutton which created a much dearer market for the top pens of crossbred and Merino sheep. Heavy Merino sheep were $13 to $15 dearer, with the best ewes making $80 to a top of $102 and averaging close to $87. On a carcass basis most sales averaged between 300c/kg-315c/kg cwt.

Heavy 4 and 5 score crossbred ewes, which had been discounted in recent weeks, were $18 dearer and sold to a top of $95, averaging close to $90. There weren’t many quality lines of Merino wethers in the yarding, with the best at $89 to a market top of $103 to also average over 300c/kg cwt.

Prices for medium weight sheep, were mostly $5-$6 dearer at $60-$84. Bucking the dearer trend were plain and light weight sheep, with feedback from buyers suggesting meatworks have good supplies of light mutton at present. Light sheep were a few dollars cheaper at $15-$45. Restockers paid up to $50 for rams, while those sold to slaughter made $5-$39.

Trade lambs slump $5-$8 at Mt Gambier

In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8754 lambs, 3426 more than last week, and 377 sheep, 560 fewer.

The NLRS said there was a small restocker presence that bid on selected pens of light lambs. However, the majority of the market sold to the usual following of trade and processor buyers at an easier trend.

Lightweight lambs sold mainly from $57-$80 to be up to $4 easier and 2 and 3 score trade lambs were also marginally down. Trade lambs saw the worst of the downward trend to be $5-$8 easier and more in places. Heavy lambs also followed the easier prices. However, they were not affected as much and ranged from $112-$125, to average 422c/kg cwt. Heavy export 4 score lambs sold from $124-$132.

Very few hoggets were offered and these made from $55-$80, while lightweight ewes sold from $43-$50. Medium and heavy weight ewes ranged from $50 to a high of $73.

Lamb restockers pay up to $4 more at Katanning

In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 4843 lambs, 386 fewer than last week, and 12,000 sheep, 4900 more.

The NLRS said most lamb were lighter weight and store crossbred drafts, with reasonable supplies of young Merinos. Quality across the mutton yarding continued to slip with more plain conditioned drafts, but the lamb quality remained quite good but lacked prime trade and heavy lamb numbers. Restockers kept the market for light lambs very solid and paid up to $4 more. However other categories lacked adequate demand and prices eased around $2-$5.

Light lambs to restockers lifted by up to $6 with better drafts making $66-$81 and lighter drafts including most Merino supplies making $36-$66. Light lambs to processors, including air freight markets, made $68-$82, up $4 but trade lamb slipped $2 with most sales from $80-$85. Heavy lambs sold to a top of $90.50.

Ewe prices were affected by supply and quality with most prices easing around $3. Light and plain lines sold from $35-$48, to be close to firm with most 2 score processor mutton slipping $3 with sales from $40-$62, for a $54 average.

Better 3 and 4 score ewes, including heavy weight drafts, made $52-$80 to be $2 easier and close to 240c/kg cwt. Restocker interest in ewe hoggets was firm with most sales from $45-$70 and firm. Mature ewes to restockers made from $43-$74, slightly dearer week-on-week. Wether prices were easier with export weight drafts slipping $5, from $60-$76, mostly to processors. Lighter conditioned and store drafts were purchased by restockers made from $60-$81, to be $4 cheaper. Rams sold at firm prices with most going to restocker orders at $25-$50. Old rams to processors made from $5-$40, to be firm on last week.

Source: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.

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