Lamb and mutton prices lift with stronger competition

Sheep Central, October 19, 2015
These April-May drop White Suffolk cross lambs, 19.4kg cwt, sold for $101.50 at Hallett, South Australia, on AuctionsPlus last week.

These April-May drop White Suffolk cross lambs, 19.4kg cwt, sold for $101.50 at Hallett, South Australia, on AuctionsPlus last week.

LAMB and sheep prices lifted in saleyards on Friday, with yardings generally lower in the few New South Wales and Victorian centres selling.

Prices lifted up to $7 for light lambs, up to $4 for trade weights and up to $6 for heavy lambs, with increased processor and restocker competition.

NLRS lamb indicators improve

On Friday last week, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs lifted for all but restocker lines, although all categories recorded overall losses for the week.

The lamb ESDIs, daily and weekly movements were: restocker 508c/kg, down 1 cent, down 14c; Merinos 386c/kg, up 2c, down 46c; light 431c/kg, up 5c, down 31c; trade 472c/kg, up 3c, down 18c; heavy 468c/kg, up 2c, down 13c. The national trade lamb indicator lifted 3 cents to 473c/kg on Friday and the heavy indice also gained 3 cents, to 469c/kg.

The ESDI for mutton gained 2 cents to 284c/kg on Friday, down 8 cents for the week, and the national indicator also lifted 2 cents, to 285c/kg.

AuctionsPlus offers nearly 100,000 sheep and lambs

On AuctionsPlus last week, sheep and lambs lifted 29,030 to 98,438 as dry conditions continued across Australia, forcing earlier marketing of lambs, ewes with lambs and dry sheep.

AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said young Merino ewes sold to $160 and Merino wether lambs made up to $94. Continuing dry conditions and early turnoff of lambs had an effect on clearance rates, though less so on price, she said.

Maiden Merino ewes sold from $94-$139 online, to average $117. The top price was paid for 15-16 month-old April shorn Wealla blood ewes weighing 58kg lwt at Gilgrandra, central NSW. Young Merino ewes sold from $150 to top at $160 for 17-30 month-old September shorn ewes weighing 61.8kg lwt at Keith, South Australia.

First cross ewe maidens sold from $120 to a top of $190 for a line of August shorn 13-14 month-olds at Wagga, NSW. Ewe lambs made $89.50-$125. Proven breeders sold from $140-$160.

Crossbred store lambs continue to hit the market in big numbers, and prices are holding well. The 29-30kg lwt lambs made $73-$87.5, 32-34kg lambs sold from $78.50-$94 and 35-36kg lines sold for $79-$93.50. The 37-38kg lambs sold from $82-$95.50, 39-41kg lines made $89.50-$95 and the heaviest lambs at 42-44kg ranged from $93-$101.50.

Merino wether lambs in South Australia were a large portion of the Spring Store Lamb sale on Thursday and made from $50.50-$80. Elsewhere, wether lambs sold from $32-$94 to average $70, down $4 on last week.

Cowra’s trade lambs $3-$4 dearer

In New South Wales at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 7100 lambs, 2000 fewer than last week, and 820 sheep, 480 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was very good across all grades, with plenty of well-finished lines. Mainly trade and heavy weight new season lamb were penned, along with fewer store lines. There were fewer old lambs. All the usual buyers operated except one and competition was stronger, resulting in a dearer market.

Light lambs sold to the processors were up to $7 dearer and averaged $102, while store lambs made from $88-$99. Medium and heavy trade weight new seasons were $3-$4 dearer at 500-514c/kg cwt. Most of the better heavy trade weight new season lambs sold from $115-$121. Heavy new season lambs sold $4-$6 dearer at 480-490c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight new seasons lambs mostly sold from $132-$137 and up to $143.

Sheep quality was generally very good. Medium weight Merino ewes were $3 dearer and averaged $60.70 or an estimated 260c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were firm and averaged $68.40 or an estimated 230c/kg cwt.

Griffith lambs firm to dearer

At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 6650 lambs, 2650 fewer than last week, and 1800 sheep, 1050 less.

The NLRS said 4800 mixed quality new season lambs were penned. More lambs showed dryness in their skins, though there were still some better pens available. The usual buyers competed in a firm to dearer market.

New season lambs sold to restockers for $50-$106. Light lambs averaged $97. Trade weights were firm to $4 dearer at $101-$120. Heavy and extra heavyweights were $5 better. Heavy lambs sold from $120-$129 and extra heavy weights from $125-$141, at around 485-500c/kg cwt.

Old trade weight lambs sold from $94-$110. Heavy weights made $107-$128 and extra heavy weights $125-$148.

The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality continues to be very mixed. Merino ewes sold from $76-$97. Crossbreds made $81-$85. Merino wethers sold from $86-$90.

Shepparton lambs lift $3-$6

In Victoria, at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 6900 lambs, 1100 fewer than last week, and 1250 sheep, 1750 less.

The NLRS said lamb numbers remained seasonally high, with the dry weather forcing more light weight lambs onto the market. Only limited lines of quality export and trade lambs were in each agent’s run, before quality quickly fell away to store lambs.

There was more processor and restocker competition this week, and prices were mostly $3-$6 better than last week. The market reached a top of $135 for export weight young lambs. The supply of well-finished young lambs with weight was limited, and there was only four pens of export lambs that made $130-$135. The heavy trade weights sold from $122-$128. Most of the trade weight lambs sold to domestic orders at $102-$116. On a carcase basis, most slaughter lamb categories averaged 450-480c/kg cwt.

There was store lamb orders from Ballarat and Bendigo which pushed into light trade lambs at $101- $110. Most light lambs sold to the paddock made $68-$94, to average around $80.

The sheep market was stronger, with lightweight and trade sheep recording the best price gains. A small pen of longer wool Merino ewes sold for $90, while heavy crossbred ewes to slaughter sold from $63-$75. The general run of ewes sold from $45-$60.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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