Saleyard lamb prices fall as supply issues ease

Sheep Central September 30, 2016
These Jube-July drop White Suffolk cross new season lambs, 18.8kg and score 3, sold for $118 at Hillston, NSW, on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

These Jube-July drop White Suffolk cross new season lambs, 18.8kg and score 3, sold for $118 at Hillston, NSW, on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

INCREASED supplies of new season lambs contributed to further price falls at saleyards mid-week.

As more new season lambs were offered in New South Wales at Carcoar, Yass and Wagga this week, light lamb prices eased by as much as $3 and trade weights lost up to $8-$10.

Light, Merino and store lamb prices were the least-affected by the supply situation, with strong restocker demand in most markets prepared to pay over 700c/kg for suitable, often Merino, lines with fleece potential.

Quick action by processor buyers battling with unreliable trucking conditions and forced to buy lambs and sheep as booked supplies fail to eventuate with short notice, or not needing supplies as consignments are secured, is leading to wide price fluctuations within some sales and between centres.

At the Wagga sale on Wednesday, some processors left mid-way through the sale, causing the market to lose momentum, while in other cases agents indicate the reverse has occurred, indiscriminately boosting spot prices for lambs and mutton.

Agents report that large numbers of lambs in New South Wales are ready to be consigned to saleyards and direct to works if weather conditions improve, but many producers are also deciding to put extra weight into lambs – from trade to export weight — while pasture feed is available and it is expensive to restock with cattle.

NLRS slaughter lamb indicators slump

After Thursday’s sale, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were: restocker 640c/kg, up 1c; light 588c/kg, down 2c; trade 599c/kg, down 9c; heavy 594c/kg, down 3c. The national trade lamb indicator lost 10 cents to close on 600c/kg and the heavy indice fell 3 cents to 596c/kg.

The ESDI for mutton finished 1 cent down to 400c/kg and the national mutton indicator fell 1 cent to 397c/kg.

Some buyers left the market

Carcoar’s trade lambs $3-$7 cheaper

In New South Wales, at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar, the agents yarded 7800 lambs, 4450 more than last week, and 2250 sheep, 1300 more.

The NLRS said the sheep and lamb numbers increased considerably with the fine weather. The mixed quality yarding had some good runs of well-finished new season lambs, but old lamb quality was only fair. Hoggets were well-supplied.

Light weight lambs sold firm to $3 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $57-$115. Trade lambs were $3-$7 cheaper, with the 18-23kg 3 score new season lambs selling from $100-$148, or mostly 580-600c/kg cwt. Trade weight old lambs sold from $90-$140. The limited number of heavy weight new season lambs were up to $8 cheaper, with the over 22kg lines making $146-$156. Restockers paid to $121 and hoggets sold to $126.

The good quality yarding of sheep had some top runs of well-finished Merino ewes and wethers. Crossbreds were in limited supply. Merino sheep sold firm, but the few crossbred ewes were $10 cheaper. The 2 score ewes made $52-$78. The better 3 and 4 score Merino ewes sold from $77-$130 and crossbreds made to $155. Merino wethers sold to $114.

Yass’ best young lambs $8-$10 cheaper

At the South Eastern Livestock Exchange at Yass on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2500 new season lambs, 1550 old lambs, 1400 Merino lambs and 2750 sheep.

Agstock agent Stephen Scroop said the overall quality of the yarding was slightly back on last week and the market for the better sucker lambs was $8-$10 easier. Most other categories firm on last week. Most regular buyers attended.

New season lambs sold to $160 and averaged $118.43. Old lambs made to $162 and averaged $116.40.

Wethers sold to $128 and averaged $101.67, and ewes made to $129, averaging $91.22.

Wagga’s young trade lambs ease $3

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 28,000 lambs, 4000 more than last week, and 6700 sheep, 2700 more.

The NLRS said the number of lambs lifted despite considerable rain across the region. New season lambs were well-supplied and quality was quite good in the trade and export weights. There was a very good selection of well-bred store lambs.

The usual export and domestic buyers attended. However, competition was sporadic, with some processors leaving mid-way through the sale, causing the market to lose momentum. There was strong restocker competition from two states over all light weight categories.

A surge in supply resulted in lower prices for new season trade lambs. New season trade lambs were well-supplied and prices fluctuated widely causing a significant price spread. The general run of trade lambs sold $8-$10 cheaper to average from 546-594c/kg cwt. The number of heavy new season lambs was limited and they sold from $154-$172 to average 606c/kg.

Store lambs were keenly contested with the lighter weights selling $4 dearer to average $101.30. Old trade lambs lacked buyer support over all classes to sell $9-$16 cheaper and average 542c/kg. Old heavy lambs made $154-$174.

There was a good number of heavy sheep in the mixed quality yarding. The latest rainfall outlook for the region created stronger competition, with Merino sales $3-$12 dearer and averaging 414c/kg. Crossbred ewes were mostly unchanged at $90-145. Light mutton averaged 350c/kg.

Horsham lambs sell to $186

In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 11,735 lambs, 6 fewer than last week, and 3212 sheep, 256 more.

The NLRS said new season lines now made up most of the lamb offering. Quality was very good, with consistent runs of well-finished trade and heavy types. A full field of buyers operated in the easier market.

Most young lambs over 21kg cwt eased by $2-$8, but with the improving weights of young lambs as a result of the good season, dollar per head returns for producers remained solid and a new seasonal price high of $186 was achieved. Extra heavy young lambs sold to $186, with the next best price $175. The lead drafts of heavy trade weight lambs consistently sold from $140-$160 and the best score 3 and 4 22-24kg lambs averaged about $145.

Prices for lighter weight lambs were firm, supported by restocker and export slaughter orders. Some Ballarat restockers did step up into bigger young lambs, paying from $113-$120. Pens of small store lambs, 16kg and less, sold very well at $96-$113, to average $106, with the volume buyer being a stock agency from Tasmania.

Sheep numbers remained tight at 3200 head and bidding was very strong, despite not all the major export companies operating. Mutton prices were dearer, with some categories gaining $10-plus. Local restockers paid to $147 for woolly Merino ewes and to $139 for wethers to shear. Processors paid $104-$130 for heavy crossbred ewes and $117-$134 for heavy weight shorn Merino wethers. The best prices, in carcase terms, were for leaner trade weight Merino mutton which made up to more than 450c/kg, or $88-$119.

Hamilton lamb prices ease $5-$10

At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 685 lambs, 154 fewer than last week, and 1732 lambs, 689 less.

The NLRS said a limited selection of lambs and fewer sheep were yarded for the usual buyers. The quality of the lambs ranged from average to plain in mostly clean-up pen lots. Very little restocker interest was shown during the sale.

Lamb prices were $5-$10 easier across the market while sheep prices varied, with heavy-medium weight crossbred mutton $2-$4 dearer while the Merino sheep sold from unchanged to $1-$4 cheaper. Merino lambs sold from $72-$92, averaging 510c/kg. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold to processors for $62-$82. Light trade 2 score lambs made $86-$90, averaging 480c/kg, and the medium weight 2 and 3 score old lambs sold from $94-$125 to average an estimated 523c/kg. The few pens of heavy lambs sold from $112-$130 and hoggets made to $108. Two pens of new season lambs made $110 and $130, selling from 550-600c/kg.

The sheep were a mix of good-plain quality Merinos and crossbreds of all weights and grades. Very light weight 1 score mutton sold from $32-$45. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep made $54-$75, and medium weight 2 and 3 score mutton sold from $75-$102, or 355-427c/kg. Merino ewe mutton averaged 410c/kg. Heavy crossbred sheep, 3 and 4 score, sold from $101-$135, averaging 385c/kg.

Medium Merino wethers made $75-$96. Heavier drafts of 3 and 4 scores sold from $112-$128 or close to 415c/kg. The best of the rams of all breeds made $108-$126.

Katanning’s new season trade lambs fall $6

In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3077 lambs, 1323 fewer than last week, and 2900 sheep, 2100 less.

The NLRS said light weight and trade weight lambs sold easier, while medium and heavy weights gained on last week’s prices. New season light weight lambs finished down $6 at $52-$73. Lambs suitable for air freight gained $2, making $72-$90. The trade weight lambs also fell by $6 to $90-$100. Heavy weight new season lambs improved in quality and weight, selling from $111-$125.

The sheep were mainly good quality. Competition was strong on ewes, which sold $3 dearer. Young plain blue tag ewes sold from $40 up to $130 for the better quality lines. Light mutton ewes gained $3 and those with a full fleece made $49-$79. Prime 3 and 4 score sheep with a fleece sold from $65-$99.

Wethers finished down $2-$5. Processors paid $50-$60 for light store wethers, and restockers and feeder buyers paid $60 for plain wethers and up to $95 for large frame types. Wethers suitable for live export sold for $81-$110.

Young rams sold to strong competition. Ram lambs made $37-$114 depending on size, while older rams suitable for live export sold for $82-$95 and restockers paid $30-$89. Older rams sold to processors for $10-$30.

Warwick’s extra heavy lambs sell to $220

In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1330 lambs and hoggets, and 248 sheep.

The market was quoted as firm to a shade dearer for all descriptions in the larger yarding of sheep and lambs. The top price of $220 was paid for 71.2kg lwt lambs sold by I.T. & S.L. Cuthbert of ‘Kynejoole’, Yetman.

Crossbred lambs weighing 51-55kg lwt sold from $154-$172, the 46-50kg lambs made $136-$150, 41-45kg lambs sold for $129-$140 and 35-40kg lwt lines made $120-$133.

Shorn crossbred hoggets 56.3kg lwt sold to $129. Trade wethers with $15 skins made to $137, or 375c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes with $10 skins made to $138, or 380c/kg, and light ewes with $6 skins sold to $72, or 310c/kg.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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