LAMB prices fell in some saleyards mid-week, especially for plainer yardings, but prime trade and heavy drafts continued to make 560-640c/kg cwt.
New season lambs were yarded at Carcoar and Wagga in New South Wales, and at Horsham in Victoria.
At Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted 18.1-22kg new season lambs with $8 skins making $126-$128, or $536-600c/kg cwt. Some 22.1-24kg lambs ($8 skins) made $138 or 565c/kg.
Wagga’s 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $4-$8 skins ranged from $85-$115, or 537-701c/kg. The trade weight 18.1-22kg lambs ($2-$10 skins) made $118-$147, or 560-640c/kg, and 22.1-24kg lambs with $10 skins sold for $151, or 588-613c/kg.
Horsham agents yarded a pen of 20.1-22kg new season lambs with $8 skins that made $138.50 or 593c/kg.
NLRS lamb indicators firm to cheaper
The NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb categories were firm to cheaper this week, especially for light and trade lambs. After Thursday’s sales, the ESDIs for lambs were: restocker 499c/kg, down 3 cents; Merino 525c/kg, no change; light 533c/kg, down 5c; trade 577c/kg, down 5c. The national trade lamb indicator closed at 577c/kg, down 5 cents and the heavy indice is on 578c/kg, down two cents.
The ESDI for mutton finished down 5 cents on 384c/kg and the national indicator is at 383c/kg, down 6 cents.
Carcoar trade lambs $12 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange, Carcoar, on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7200 lambs, 900 more than last week, and 2800 sheep, 600 more.
The NLRS said it was a much plainer quality yarding with a large percentage of tail-end lambs. Not all the regular buyers attended, resulting in a cheaper market.
Light weight lambs were $9 cheaper with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $49-$94. Trade lambs sold $12 cheaper with 18-22kg 3 scores making $76-$132. Heavy weight lambs were $5-$9 cheaper with 4 scores selling from $111-$168 to average 567c/kg cwt. Restockers paid to $110 and hoggets sold to $120.
It was a mixed quality yarding of mutton. Most grades were firm to $3 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $40-$78, while the better medium and heavy weight Merinos made $78-$80 and very heavy crossbred sold to $135. The better medium and heavy weight wethers sold from $81-$150 for an exceptional line of heavy weight wethers.
Wagga trade lambs average 610c/kg
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 25,000 lambs, 900 more than last week, and 2800 sheep, 600 more.
The NLRS said quality was mixed with more secondary lambs showing the effects of the wintry conditions. Just over 2000 new season lambs were penned, along with was a few extra pens of younger supplementary-fed shorn lambs. Theses drafts offered buyers weight and yield which helped lift prices a few dollars higher for the better finished drafts. There was a slight drop in weight across the extra heavy lamb category with fewer lambs weighing above 26kg cwt.
The usual domestic and export buyers competed in a solid market. Secondary lambs suitable to restock or feed on were in short supply, with only limited restocker activity and no lot feeder competition.
Bidding was strongest for well-finished trade and new season lambs, with prices unchanged to a few dollars cheaper in places. Medium and heavy new season trade lambs made from $132-$151 to average 610c/kg cwt. Medium and heavy old trade lambs were well-supplied and averaged 600c/kg. The better finished heavy trade lambs ranged from $144-$168.
Several drafts of exceptional Merino lambs were bid on by export and domestic processors. Well-finished Merino trade lambs made from $121-$154 and a pen of extra heavy Merino lambs made $168.20. Light lambs sold to processors for $6-$7 less, at $72-$114. Heavy export lambs were in shorter supply, aiding the slightly dearer trend. Heavy and extra heavy lambs sold from $154-$197 to average 585c/kg.
Mutton quality was mixed to quite good, with plenty of weight across the offering. Ewe mutton suitable for the trade made $72-$104 or 380-426c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep were well-supplied and demand was solid. Heavy mutton sold from $113-$139.20, or 390-420c/kg. Several producers looking to rebuild ewe flocks paid $125.60-$137 for drafts.
Hamilton trade lambs $3-$6 cheaper
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5125 lambs, 2903 more than last week, and 2654 sheep, 1158 more.
The NLRS said it was better quality yarding of mainly medium trade weight lambs with more finish in an overall mixed offering. More buyers attended although not all operated at times. These included an extra domestic processor and a restocker from Ballarat, creating more competition on light weight and light trade 2 score lambs.
The restockers included local buyers who paid $32-$110, firm to $2 dearer. Medium trade and heavy trade weight lambs sold from unchanged to $3-$6 cheaper at times in a fluctuating market. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $79-$111, averaging 600c/kg cwt. Medium trade weight 3 score lambs made $115-$135 and heavier drafts sold from $138-$163, or 580-590c/kg. The top pen of lambs estimated at 32kg cwt sold for $188.
The plainer sheep yarding included some good drafts of crossbred ewes and Merino wethers. Sheep prices were cheaper $5-$10, though mainly for light weight mutton and heavy crossbred ewes. Prices for medium weight score 3 Merino wethers were unchanged. The light 1 score sheep sold from $23-$48 and the light weight 2 scores making $58-$75. Medium mutton 2 and 3 score sold from $74-$99, or 330-390c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 4 score sheep made $85-$120 and the best Merino wethers sold from $82-$95, to average around 400c/kg. The better rams sold from $50-$70.
Horsham lambs generally easier
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1808 lambs, 1213 fewer than last week, and 2230 sheep, 193 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with most weights and grades on offer. Most of the usual buyers attended, but with the limited numbers available, not all were fully active. Lambs generally sold a few dollars easier, with the better presented light trade weight lambs a few dollars better in places.
A pen of new season young lambs sold to $138.50. Restockers paid to $96 for lambs. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $60-$95. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $104-$119 and averaged around 590c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $122-$140, or 560-610c/kg to average around 585c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $166-$173. Heavy Merino lambs sold to $120 and the lighter weights made $106-$108.
Most sheep sold to an easier trend, though heavy Merino wethers were a few dollars dearer. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $52-$69. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $71-$111, or 330-420c/kg, with Merinos averaging around 395c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $90-$116, with heavy Merino wethers making $114-$122, or around 400c/kg. The lighter weights sold from $72-$95.
Katanning ewe prices lift $5-$10
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3000 lambs, 3360 fewer than last week, and 3589 sheep, 580 more than last week.
The NLRS said it was a very mixed quality yarding of mostly store lambs that sold firm. One processor did not attend the sale, but graziers bid strongly on store lines.
Light store lambs sold from $20-$45. Air freight lambs made $60-$95, to average $83. Crossbred lambs weighing 18-22kg cwt made from $85-$109, averaging $98. Merino lambs to restockers sold from $20-$81, to average $55. Store crossbred lambs sold to feeders for $25-$75.
Prices lifted $5-$10 for some good lines of ewes. Young Merino wethers sold to restockers and feeders for $37-$94, averaging $80. Light ewes and the 2 score processor mutton made $25-$70 and better 3 score sheep sold from $75-$109, averaging $90. Restockers paid from $53-$90, or an average of $80, for the younger ewes. Wether prices eased slightly with suitable live export lines making from $78-$100. Restockers and feeder buyers paid $80-$85. Rams sold for $5-$35 to processors and from $50-$90 for younger lines suitable for live export. Feeders and restockers paid $15-$71.
Warwick lambs sell firm
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1990 lambs and hoggets, and 370 sheep.
The Warwick Livestock Selling Agents Association said the market was firm on last week’s rates for all descriptions. The top-priced lambs weighing 58.6kg lwt made $149 for Clifton producer, Gerard O’Leary.
In the crossbred lamb pens, the 45-55kg lwt lambs sold from $124-$138; the 42-45kg lambs sold for $120-$132; the 36-42kg lines made $108-$117 and the 35-40kg lots ranged from $100-$111. Crossbred hoggets sold to $115.
In the mutton pens, trade wethers ($20 skin) sold to $146 or 420c/kg cwt; light wethers ($6 skin) made $70 or 350c/kg; heavy crossbred ewes ($20 skin) sold to $123 and light ewes ($6 skins) sold to $74 or 335c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.