Lamb prices come back, but best new season drafts making 550-650c/kg

Sheep Central, July 22, 2015
These April-May 2015-drop Dorset cross lambs, 12.4kg cwt, sold for $104 at Temora NSW on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

These April-May 2015-drop Dorset cross lambs, 12.4kg cwt, sold for $104 at Temora NSW on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

LAMB prices eased back this week as more new season drafts, Merinos and plainer old lambs came into saleyards.

New season drafts are still making up less than 10 percent of saleyard offerings, but the light new season lambs are selling mainly from 500-650c/kg and trade weights are making mostly 550-650c/kg cwt in eastern states saleyards.

The National Livestock Reporting Service said the first significant new season drafts were sold at Bendigo this week, with the 18.1-24kg cwt lambs with $8-$10 skins at $118.60-$146 or 582-604c/kg. A line of 24.1-26kg lambs with $10 skins sold for $162 or 628c/kg and 12.1-18kg lines ($6-$8 skins) sold from $78.20-$116, or 481-600c/kg.

At Dubbo on Monday, 18.1-22kg new season lambs with $1-$10 skins made from $112-$148, or 573-652c/kg, and heavier (22.1-24kg) lines with $8 skins sold from $140-$148, or 563-600c/kg.

Tamworth’s first significant trade weight new season drafts with $6-$8 skins sold from $130-$140, or 600-620c/kg and a heavier (22-24kg) line with $8 skins made $145 or 596c/kg.

At Forbes on Tuesday, trade weight (18.1-22kg) new season crossbred lambs with $7-$9 skins sold from $122-$148, or 567-652c/kg, and heavier 22.1-24kg lambs ($9 skins) made $145-$150, or 591-613c/kg. The 12.1-18kg lambs with $6-$10 skins at Forbes sold from $77-$114, or 507-612c/kg.

At the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the new season lamb numbers were swelled by the first Merinos that sold from $48-$70. Dublin’s 12.1-18kg crossbred new season lambs ($5-$7 skins) sold from $88-$108 and the trade weights ($7-$8 skins) made $124-$134, or 552-635c/kg.

NLRS lamb and mutton indicators fall

After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS quoted falls in all Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb and mutton, especially for the light and restocker lamb categories.

The lamb ESDI levels and changes are: restocker 482c/kg, down 12 cents; Merino 527c/kg, down 11c; light 536c/kg, down 5c; trade 587c/kg, down 6c, and; heavy 582c/kg, down 5c. The national trade lamb indicator fell five cents to 589c/kg and the heavy indice is at 582c/kg, down 4c.

The ESDI and national indicator for mutton both fell two cents to 391c/kg as the overall national saleyard offering increased.

Over-the-hook rates lift in South Australia

In NSW this week, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates were mainly firm week-on-week and no quote has been given due to a regular contributor not quoting. Mutton rates were unchanged.

NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs this week are: 18-20kg, 500-600c/kg; 20-24kg, 540-600c/kg; 24-26kg, 540-580c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 430-520c/kg. The 2-4 score sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 290-360c/kg; 18-24kg, 350-420c/kg; 24kg+, 370-430c/kg.

In Victoria, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates were firm to cheaper across most weight categories as some plants will soon shut for maintenance breaks, affecting demand. Mutton rates were unchanged.

Victoria’s 2-4 score OTH lamb rates are: 16-18kg, 600c/kg, no change; 18-24kg, 590-620c/kg, down 5-7 cents; 24-26kg, 580-600c/kg, down 5c; 26kg+, 580c/kg, down 10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 520c/kg, down 10c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 18-24kg, 350-370c/kg; 24kg+, 340-350c/kg.

In South Australia, the NLRS said OTH lamb rates were firm to dearer across all categories, except extra heavy weight lines. Mutton rates were unchanged and a no quote is given due to a regular contributing not quoting at this time.

South Australia’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 570c/kg, up 10c; 18-24kg, 570-620c/kg, up 3c; 24-26kg, 570-580c/kg, up 3c; Merinos 16-22kg, 540c/kg, up 10c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 290-380c/kg; 18-24kg, 360c/kg; 24kg+, 290-340c/kg.

In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted OTH lamb rates as lifting 10-20c/kg this week, up to 570c/kg for trade weight lambs. Mutton rates were unchanged.

Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-16kg, 520-550c/kg, up 15c; 16-18kg, 540-570c/kg, up 10c; 18-26kg, 560-580c/kg, up 20c; 26kg+, 550-580c/kg, up 10c. The 204 score sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 310-350c/kg; 14-18kg, 320-350c/kg; 18-24kg, 340-360c/kg; 24kg+, 330-350c/kg.

Western Australia’s updated OTH rates were not available when this report was published.

Dubbo trade lambs firm to cheaper

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 29,650 lambs, 13,638 more than last week, and 6900 sheep, 2218 more.

The NLRS said following the previous sales rain-affected market, numbers were up considerably. It was a pretty good quality yarding with a good mix of trade and heavy weight lambs and fair numbers of lighter weights and new season lambs.

Lightweight lambs sold $2-$4 cheaper, with 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $54-$106. Trade weight lambs were firm, with the 18-22kg 3 scores making $96-$142, to average 587c/kg cwt. Trade weight new season lambs sold firm at $112-$148. Heavy weight lambs were firm to $3 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $126-$190.

Merino lambs were $1-$3 cheaper, with trade weights selling from $89-$130, while the heavier weights sold to $138. Restockers paid to $99 and hoggets sold to $130.

The mixed quality mutton yarding had some top lines of sheep and a fair percentage of lightweights. Most grades sold firm to $3 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $40-$78, while the better medium and heavy weights made $79-$127 for Merinos and to $122 for crossbreds. Medium and heavy weight Merino wethers sold from $86-$127.

First Tamworth new season lambs yarded

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 4500 lambs, 2775 more than last week, and 1500 sheep, 725 more.

The NLRS said the lamb yarding included the first new season drafts. The overall quality of the lambs was good, though a number of secondary quality and restocker lambs were penned. Market trends through the lambs were generally firm to cheaper and a drop in weight was reflected in prices for heavyweights. The improved quality of the trade lambs was a factor in the higher average prices. The sheep market was firm to dearer with some better quality sheep penned.

Forbes trade lambs slip $4-$5

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 34,208 lambs, 14,167 more than last week, and 7776 sheep, 3545 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair with good numbers of well-finished lambs and some plainer types. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a cheaper market. Agents penned 5400 new season lambs and quality was good.

Prices slipped $4, with trade weights selling from $125-$148 and heavies ranging from $145-$150. Light old lambs eased $2 selling from $102-$118. Trade weights sold $4-$5 easier, from $115-$146. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were also $4-$5 easier. Heavy lambs sold from $138-$160, with extra heavies making $150-$191. Carcase prices ranged from 565-601c/kg. Merino lambs sold from $104-$133.

The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was very mixed. Prices remained strong, with Merino ewes selling from $76-$140. Crossbreds ranged from $80-$136. Merino wethers sold from $86-$125.

Inverell trade lambs firm to $8 cheaper

At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3912 lambs, 994 more than the last sale, and 1410 sheep, 42 fewer.

The NLRS said the lamb yarding included more trade and heavy weights. Quality was good, with fewer light weight lambs and most drafts coming off crop. Trade lambs sold firm to $8 cheaper and heavy weights were down by $6-$10.

The sheep yarding consisted of several pens of well-finished ewes and wethers, mainly heavy and medium weights, with several lots in full wool. The market changed little, with most mutton selling firm compared to the sale two weeks ago.

Bendigo new season lambs sell to $146

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 9412 lambs, 48 more than last week, and 9331 sheep, 1595 more.

The NLRS said the usual buyers attended, but once again not all operated at capacity and some exporters did not follow through to the mutton sale.

Lamb prices varied on quality and carcase finish, with the best export and trade lambs mostly firm to $3 dearer. Secondary types were often a few dollars easier. Export competition was more animated this week and three pens of extra heavy lambs over 30kg cwt sold from $190-$194.

The sale included the first notable draft of new season lambs, with 90 lambs off irrigation country and estimated to have a carcass weight of about 24kg with a $10 skin selling for $162 to a domestic order. After this there were just a few pens of new season lambs scattered throughout the yarding, and the majority were lighter types which sold from $78-$116.

The bulk of lambs were plainer trade weight types which sold from $103-$130 at varied carcase rates depending on quality and fat cover. Light weight slaughter lambs generally made from $67-$96. Prices for Merino lambs fluctuated, with the better presented pens off feeders selling to a top of $118.60, though most sales were from $87-$107, or 520-530c/kg cwt. Some pens of very small Merino lambs in 1 score condition sold to restockers at $32-$47.

The lead drafts of trade lambs suiting top-end domestic and supermarket orders sold from $140-$169, or an estimated 600-630c/kg. The selection of heavy export lambs was limited, with the general run making $168-$185, and just odd pens of extra heavy types to $194.

The sheep sale included several pens of extra heavy crossbred ewes which sold from $115 -$145 to be dearer week-on-week. There was a good selection of recently-shorn Merino sheep, and the main lines of heavy wethers sold from $96-$123, to average over 400c/kg cwt. Heavy Merino ewes in a big skin sold to $131.60, with the general run of bare-shorn ewes making $68-$105. Most mutton sales sold from 350-400c/kg.

Ballarat quality trade and heavy lambs firm

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 7118 lambs, 1774 more than last week, and 2826 sheep, 1134 fewer.

The NLRs said lamb quality was plain to average. Most of the regular buyers attended, although not all operated fully.

The market was generally firm on the better presented trade weight and heavy lambs, with the plainer and lighter lambs selling $2-$3 easier. Restockers and feeders were again active and paid from $77-$118 for lambs going mostly onto feed crops. They also paid from $63-$75 for shorn Merino wethers. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $52-$98. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $88-$126, and averaged around 580c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs made $121-$132, with the heavier drafts making $128-$152, to range from 530-610c/kg or an average around 570c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $145-$182. Merino lambs made $93-$102 and averaged around 520c/kg.

Sheep quality was average. Prices were mostly similar to the previous week, with some of the heavier sheep a little dearer. Not all the regular buyers operated. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $52-$75, with very light 1 scores making $34-$48. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $68-$100, or 330-410c/kg cwt to average around 390c/kg for the Merino’s and 365c/kg for the crossbreds. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $75-$142. Heavy Merino wethers made from $113-$115 and the medium weights $74-$105, to average around 390c/kg. Rams of all weights sold from $45-$82.

Dublin crossbred trade weight lambs firm

In South Australia at the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,634 lambs, 3134 more than last week, and 993 sheep, 507 fewer.

The NLRS said the plainer quality crossbred and Merino lambs sold to erratic competition from the usual trade and processor buyers. The sale started slowly before recovering as it progressed. However, except for a small percentage of the very best quality lambs available, prices eased. Feeders and restockers were only occasional participants.

More new seasons lambs were yarded and the first Merinos of the season sold from $48-$70. Feeder buyers paid $86 for a few light weights, while 4 scores sold to trade buyers for $100-$134, or 572-622c/kg cwt. Light weight old crossbreds were in abundance and eased $5, to $95-$122, or an average of 506c/kg. Light trade weight 3 scores eased marginally, making from $109-$126 and averaging 506c/kg. Heavy trade weight 4 scores remained unchanged at $122-$150 and averaged 542c/kg. The few heavy weights yarded lifted $6 to $140-$156, to average 561c/kg, and extra heavy weights sold from $150-$173.

Light weight Merino lambs to restockers sold from $42-$66, while the longer wool Merinos sold to $119. Light weight lambs to processors eased by up to $4, selling from $95-$106 and averaging 484c/kg. Trade weights eased $5 to $110-$128 and averaged 476c/kg. Heavy weights sold from $122-$152 to average 526c/kg, with one outstanding draft selling at $157.

The mixed quality sheep yarding sold to easing processor demand. Light weight 2 score ewes sold from $45-$92 to average 300c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 score ewes eased $5 to $86-$100, or 323c/kg. Heavy weight wethers eased $8, making $82-$112 to average 322c/kg. Rams sold from $60-$97.

Muchea lamb prices ease $3-$4

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 5000 lambs, 342 more than last week, and 3000 sheep, 600 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed with most being 2 score Merinos, plus a few good heavy trade and airfreight types.

Lamb prices eased $3-$4 with reduced trade interest. Light store cross bred lambs to graziers made $51-$72. The airfreight lambs 16-18kg cwt sold from $70-$90. Trade lambs sold from $80-$112 and heavy lambs over 23kg sold to $127. Most of the trade lambs sold from 450-490c/kg cwt.

Graziers provided the competition on Merino lambs. Ewe lambs averaged $62 and sold to $100, while keenly sought wether lambs made to $107 and averaged $81.

Ewe mutton met reduced competition due to ongoing maintenance in one major processing plant. Heavy ewe prices were back by $3-$5 and light weight rates eased $2-$4. Light ewes sold from $35- $45. Medium weight score 2 ewes sold from $54-$77, and heavy score 3s made $79-$96, to average $86 or 305c/kg cwt. Wethers sold firm at $65-$115, aided by a live shipment due at the end of the month. Rams also sold firm, with older types making $25-$44 to the trade and export types selling from $60-$100.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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