Lamb and sheep rates in eastern states saleyards trended firm to cheaper late last week.
Some markets were affected by the impact on processors of today’s Labour Day holiday in Victoria and Tasmania.
However, overall the National Livestock Reporting Service’s indicators generally trended weaker for trade, heavy and restocker lambs, with some exceptions for quality trade and restocker lines.
After Friday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS eastern states and national mutton indicators held firm at 366c/kg carcase weight, after falling about 3 cents for the week.
The NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for restocker lambs lifted one cent on Friday, but fell 18 cents for the week and heavy lambs lost another cent, but had a 14-cent drop for the week. The ES trade lamb indicator lost one cent on Friday and five cents for the week.
The other ESDI daily and weekly changes for lambs were: Merinos, 483c/kg, down 4c, down 11c; light, 529c/kg, down 2c, down 2c. The national trade lamb indicator slipped one cent on Friday to 533c/kg and the heavy indice was down four cents to 529c/kg.
Strong interest on AuctionsPlus for breeding ewes
AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said sheep and lamb numbers dropped by 10,000 this week to 65,476 head.
She said more proven breeding ewes drew buyer attention this week, with a large offering of aged Merino ewes averaging $75.
“The highlight being a line of six-year-olds from Corowa NSW, with a 3cm skin, joined to White Suffolks at $132.
“Mixed aged Merino ewes ranged from $112.50 to $162, with a line of 3-5 year-old 86kg liveweight ewes with a 6cm skin, scanned in lamb to White Suffolks from Nhill in Victoria topping the market.”
Merino ewe lambs made $64-$111.50 and averaged $85. Merino wether lambs ranged from $33.50-$90.50 and grown Merino wethers averaged $87, ranging from $62.50-$105, she said.
First cross ewe hogget and lambs continued to meet strong competition. Ewe lambs averaged $115, with the top line being unjoined 9-11 month old, 58kg lwt lambs from Narrandera NSW, which made $180. First cross ewe hoggets made from $130.50-$154 and averaged $142, Ms Adams said. Young composite ewes from Tocumwal NSW and SIL to composite rams made $151.
Store lambs weighing 32-34kg lwt made from $80-$91.50 and 37-38kg lines sold from $80-$99.50. The heaviest lines of store lambs weighing 39-45kg made $91.50-$111. The top line was a small run of White Suffolk-Merino mixed sex lambs, 7-9 months-old, from Hay NSW.
Griffith’s heavy lambs slip $4-$8
In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agent yarded 8400 lambs, 5700 fewer than last week, and 1950 sheep, 350 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to the previous sales, with good numbers of finished lambs, though more showed signs of dryness. Most of the lambs were heavy and extra heavyweights. Not all the usual buyers were present or competed in the cheaper market.
Light lambs slipped $5, selling from $90-$104. Trade weights were firm to $2 easier with prices ranging from $100-$127. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs showed the biggest change, slipping $4-$8. Heavy lambs sold from $127-$141 and extra heavy weights made $138-$176. Carcase prices averaged from 517c/kg-548c/kg.
Most of the sheep were mixed quality Merinos. Merino ewes sold from $83-$116. Crossbred ewes made $86-$103 and Dorper ewes sold from $72-$112.
Cowra lambs firm to cheaper
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 7420 lambs, 370 more than last week, and 815 sheep, 535 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was good for the heavy lambs and a little mixed for the remainder. Mainly heavy weights were penned, along with fewer trade weights and a few store lambs suitable for the restockers. All the buyers operated, but competition was weaker in the cheaper market, except for the trade lambs which sold firm.
Light lambs to the processors were firm and averaged $93.90, while stores averaged $85. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were firm to a couple of dollars cheaper and averaged from 513-540c/kg cwt. Most of the better heavy trade weights sold from $110-$118.
Heavy weight lambs were $4-$6 cheaper for the lighter grades and up to $15 cheaper for the extra heavy weights and averaged 492-516c/kg cwt. A pen of extra heavy lambs topped at $165 with an estimated carcase weight of 33kg.
Mutton numbers fell for a limited yarding and quality was mixed. Medium Merino ewes were slightly cheaper and averaged $82.20 or 345c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were firm and averaged $105.20 or 329c/kg.
Shepparton slaughter lambs $1-$5 cheaper
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 1530 lambs, 164 more than last week, and 352 sheep, 250 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed and competition from meat buyers was weaker with only a few of the regular orders operating.
Lambs weighing above 18kg cwt and sold for slaughter were generally $1-$5 easier. However, the softer trend was not as evident on store and lightweight lambs. Light weight lambs generally sold from $42-$93, with some of the smallest lambs still selling reasonably well to restockers. Local agents did pay up to $106.60 for lambs displaying good frame-size to go back to the paddock. There was only a token offering of heavy lambs, weighing about 24-27kg cwt, and these sold from $126-$150. The better quality trade lambs, 20-22kg cwt, sold from $100-$116. On a carcase basis a range of 500-540c/kg covered most sales of the better-finished slaughter types. Plainer lambs including some Merinos and Dorpers made around 460-490c/kg.
The mixed sheep yarding was too limited for an accurate quote and comprised mainly small pen lots. A few pens of heavy crossbred ewes sold from $90-$100, while medium and lightweight sheep mostly made from $48-$76.
Sources: NLRS, AuctionsPLus