Lamb and mutton prices continued to improve in eastern states saleyards last week.
Most variations in prices for lambs and sheep seemed to be based on quality, but despite this the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted all lamb and mutton daily indicators as either firm or rising.
Apart from big movements in Merino lamb prices earlier in the week, the largest rises were for trade and heavy lambs late last week.
Griffith’s extra heavyweight lamb prices were the highlight of the week ranged from $154-$196, or 570c/kg-615c/kg cwt. Reflecting the lower numbers of heavy lambs available, after Friday’s sales, the NLRS quoted the ES and national daily indicators as up four cents to 569c/kg cwt. The ES heavy lamb indicator rose 17 cents last week.
The ES trade lamb indicator finished the week on 556c/kg, up two cents, or up 14 cents for the week. The national indicator is at 560c/kg, up three cents. The ES daily light lamb indicator finished up one cent to 547c/kg cwt, recording a 13 cent rise for the week, and the Merino lamb indice was unchanged, but rose 25 cents over the week.
The ES and national mutton indicators finished the week up one cent to 358c/kg cwt.
Scanned first cross ewes sell to $240 on AuctionsPlus
Sheep and lamb numbers tightened by 5952 head to 44,999 on AuctionsPlus last week, market operations officer Anna Adams said.
Store lamb prices continued to creep upward, while breeder prices appeared softer, she said. “There were a higher proportion of unjoined ewes on offer this week and the small number of scanned ewes achieved similar rates.”
Ms Adams said store lambs firmed slightly at the lighter end while heavier lambs were steady on last week. The 27-28kg liveweight lambs sold from $81-$95.50 and 29-30kg lines made $92-$101. The 31-33kg lambs made $87-$100.50 and 35-37kg lines sold from $90.50 to a top price of $107 for 37kg lwt (16.2kg cwt) second crosses at Armidale, a price also achieved by 41kg lwt (17.2kg cwt) lambs off Kangaroo Island.
“Maiden Merino ewes this week sold from $90 to a top of $151 for 16-month-olds at Cooma
and young joined ewes made $141.
“Older unjoined ewes made $76.50-$100 and five-year-olds at Narromine scanned to White Suffolk sold for $137.50.”
Ms Adams said first cross ewes topped at $240 for scanned in-lamb rising two year olds joined to White Suffolk and Poll Dorset rams at Wagga. Unjoined young ewes made $170-$186.
Griffith heavy lambs hit 615c/kg cwt
In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 10,600 lambs, 3300 more than last week, and 2800 sheep, 400 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was again fair with good numbers of well-finished lambs available. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs made up the majority of the yarding. The usual buyers and an extra domestic buyer competed in a dearer market.
Light lambs sold from $98-$102. Trade weights were $6 dearer at $114-$135. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs were $8-$10 dearer and more in places. Heavyweight lambs sold from $130 to $156 and extra heavyweights ranged from $154-$196. Carcase weight prices ranged from 570c/kg-615c/kg cwt.
The mutton was mostly mixed quality Merinos. Prices remained similar to the previous sales. Merino ewes sold from $75-$115. Crossbred ewes ranged from $77-$98. Dorper ewes sold from $74-$100. An outstanding line of Merino wethers reached $130.
Cowra competition strong
In the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 6270 lambs, 3210 more than last week, and 2300 sheep, 780 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality continued to be good, particularly for the heavy grades which were very well-finished. Mainly heavy lambs were penned along with a limited supply of trade weights. Store lambs were in reasonable numbers. All the usual buyers operated and competition was strong, resulting in a generally dearer market.
Restocking lambs were dearer and averaged from $84-$117. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were $6 dearer and averaged around 590c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weights sold from $125-$140. Heavy weight lambs were up to $9 dearer for the 24kg cwt lines and firm for the extra heavy weights to range from 575c/kg-590c/kg cwt. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $170-$180 and topped at $190 with an estimated carcass weight of 32kg.
Mutton quality was mixed. Medium Merino ewes were $10 cheaper and averaged $73, or 324c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were $6 cheaper and averaged $104, or 360c/kg cwt. Heavy wethers averaged $95.
Shepparton lamb quality mixed
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards, the agent yarded 1550 lambs, 550 more than last week, and 1350 sheep, 650 more.
The NLRS said quality was fairly mixed and prices from the small field of processors and steady restocker competition reflected this. Not all processors operated fully, one not at all, with prices best for heavy weight lambs and sheep.
The better quality lambs cost processors around 560c/kg-580c/kg cwt, Average quality trade weight lambs were mainly 480c/kg-550c/kg cwt. The light weight 2 score lambs mostly went to restockers from $45-$98, while the light trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold to processors from $80-$98. The trade weight 3 score lambs were mainly shorn and sold from $100-$125. Heavy 4 score export weights made $142-$162 and extra heavy weights estimated at 30kg cwt sold up to $175. The few heavy weight hoggets made $90-$115.
Mainly medium and heavy weight ewes were penned, plus a few wethers. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $55-$85, and the heavy and extra heavy weight 3 to 5 scores made $80-$110. Good quality 2 to 4 score sheep made from 340c/kg-400c/kg cwt, and the plainer and lighter weight lines sold from 240c/kg-330c/kg cwt. Rams made $40-$56.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus