Markets

Lamb prices falling as more new season drafts hit saleyards nationally

Sheep Central, August 17, 2016
These early March shorn September-October drop Merino lambs, 18kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $98 at Bourke, NSW, on AuctionsPlus.

These early March shorn September-October drop Merino lambs, 18kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $98 at Bourke, NSW, on AuctionsPlus.

LAMB prices continued to fall in saleyards this week as more new season lambs were offered nationally.

Some processors were not operating fully in several markets, lowering prices for trade weight new season lambs in New South Wales by $5-$12, according to the National Livestock Reporting Service. Young lamb prices also fell by up to $10 in Victoria, but held firm for quality in South Australia.

Prices for trade weight heavy and extra heavy old lambs also slipped this week, by up to $10-$15 in New South Wales, especially for secondary and plain lines. On Tuesday at Forbes in New South Wales and at Muchea in Western Australia, about 35 percent of the lamb yardings were new season drafts.

Restocker interest in light and lighter trade weight lambs remains strong, with buyers paying over 700c/kg for some lines.

In New South Wales, light 12.1-18kg cwt new season lambs with $1-$7 skins made $69-$128, or 523-720c/kg. Young light-medium trade weight lambs with $4-$7 skins made $112-$161, or 548-710c/kg. The 22.1-24kg lambs with $5-$7 skins sold for $145-$167, or 604-696c/kg. Heavy new season lambs 24.126kg with $6-$7 skins made $150-$180, or 554-678c/kg.

In Victoria, the 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $4-$6 skins at Bendigo made $94-$113, or 558-594c/kg. The 18.1-22kg young trade lambs with $5-$7 skins sold for $114-$153, or 568-684c/kg. Heavy and extra heavy new season lambs 24.1kg-plus with $5-$7 skins sold from $154-$175, or 606-652c/kg.

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $2-$4 skins made $70-$118, or 425-731c/kg. The light-medium trade weights with $2-$4 skins sold from $108-$138, or 536-642c/kg, and the heavy trades with similar skins made $138-$150, or 583-635c/kg. Heavy and extra heavy new season lambs with $4 skins made $142-$170, or 515-615c/kg.

Light new season lambs with $1-$2 skins at Muchea in Western Australia sold for $70-$95, or 482-553c/kg. The light-medium trade young lambs with $1-$3 skins made $95-$133, or 471-591c/kg, and heavy trade weights with $2-$3 skins sold from $116-$130, or 491-552c/kg. Heavy new season lambs with $3 skins made $134 or 524c/kg.

NLRS restocker indicator lifts

After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the only Eastern States Daily Indicator that rose was for restocker lambs, up 13 cents to 605c/kg. The other lambs ESDIs are: Merino 530c/kg, down 13c; light 554c/kg, down 11c; trade 609c/kg, down 10c and heavy 609c/kg, down 8c. The national trade lamb indicator fell 10 cents to 607c/kg and the heavy indice dropped 7 cents to 617c/kg.

The ESDI and national indicators for mutton fell 5 cents to 387c/kg.

Over-the-hook lamb rates unchanged

In New South Wales, the NLRS said there were no changes made to over-the-hook lamb and mutton indicators this week. Due to the high prices, saleyard supply is expected to be higher this week, which may impact prices.

New South Wale’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 540-670c/kg; 20-24kg, 580-670c/kg; 24-26kg, 580-620c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 470-550c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 100-340c/kg; 18-24kg, 220-380c/kg; 24kg+, 320-400c/kg.

In Victoria, the NLRS said lamb over-the-hook indicators were unchanged week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 650c/kg cwt. Light and medium weight mutton indicators moved higher, while heavy weights eased on last week’s levels.

Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 630-650c/kg; 18-22kg, 630-670c/kg; 22-24kg, 610-670c/kg; 24-26kg, 610-630c/kg; 26kg+, 630c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 600c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 330-360c/kg, up 2 cents; 18-24kg, 350-380c/kg, up 13c; 24kg+, 300-340c/kg, down 7c.

In South Australia, the NLRS said lamb over-the-hook indicators were unchanged across all categories week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 620c/kg cwt. Light and medium weight mutton lifted an average of 8c/kg cwt, while heavy weights eased slightly on week-ago levels.

South Australia’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 570c/kg; 18-24kg, 570-670c/kg; 24-26kg, 570-630c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 530c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 280-380c/kg, up 8c/kg; 18-24kg, 300-380c/kg, up 8c; 24kg+, 300-340c/kg, down 4c.

Up-to-date Western Australian and Tasmanian over-the-hook rates were not available from the NLRS when this report was published.

Dubbo’ new season trade lambs $8-$12 cheaper

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 33,250 lambs, 7400 more than last week, and 8100 sheep, 2200 more.

The NLRS said the plainer quality lamb yarding had more Merinos and White Dorpers, though there was still a pretty good selection of trade and heavy weight lambs. Not all the regular buyers operated in the cheaper market.

Light weight lambs sold $8 cheaper to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $55-$108. Trade weight new season lambs were $8-$12 cheaper, with the 18-23kg 3 scores selling from $112-$157, to average 610-630c/kg cwt. Trade weight old lambs were $8 cheaper, with the 18-23kg 3 scores making $95-$149. Heavy weight lambs were $7-$9 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $137-$207.

Merino lambs were $6-$9 cheaper, with the trade weights making $91-$148. The heavy weight Merinos sold to $165. Hoggets made to $132 and restockers paid to $118.

The good quality sheep yarding had very few plain lines. Light and medium weight sheep were $3-$5 dearer and the heavy weights were around firm. The 2 score ewes sold from $40-$85. The better 3 and 4 score Merinos sold from $80-$130 and the crossbreds made to $140. Merino wethers sold to $138.

Corowa trade lambs $5-$10 cheaper

At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 8430 lambs, 5570 fewer than last week, and 2450 sheep, 450 more.

The NLRS said 3100 new season lambs were penned. The quality was mixed and prices fluctuated. There were quite a few secondary lambs in the yarding of mainly trade weight lambs, which had a limited number of heavy weights and good young lambs. All the usual buyers attended but not all operated fully.

Prices were back $5-$10 on most trade weight lambs. New season trade weight lambs sold from $120-$167. Lighter trade weight lambs made $120-$143, medium trade weights sold from $136-$158 and heavy trade lambs made $160-$167. Heavy lambs sold from $155-$179. The limited number of extra heavy lambs sold firm at $192-$208. The 2 score 12-16kg Merino lambs sold from $75-$108.

It was a mixed quality sheep offering. Heavy weight Merino ewes sold to $129 and heavy crossbred ewes made to $131.

Tamworth lambs firm to cheaper

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3350 lambs, 350 more than last week, and 300 sheep, 800 fewer.

The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was fair to good. The yarding included a few pens of well-finished trade and heavy weight young lambs. Restockers were also well catered for. Market trends were generally firm to cheaper, with young lambs showing only weight-related price changes. Prices for the heaviest old lambs varied on quality. Trade weight old lambs were up to $3 cheaper. Restocker lambs remained firm. There were insufficient grown sheep for a reliable market quote.

Forbes’ new season lambs slip $6-$7

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 28,100 lambs, 6700 more than last week, and 5870 sheep, 1130 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed, with well-finished and plainer lambs yarded. Not all the usual buyers were present nor competed in the cheaper market. There were 10,100 new season lambs penned, and quality was mixed with some well-finished lambs and drier types.

New season lamb prices slipped $6-$7, with trade weights selling from $118-$147 and heavy weights reaching $150.

Old light lambs slipped $13 to $95-$117. Trade weights were $10-$15 easier at $115-$135. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were also $10-$15 cheaper. Heavy lambs sold from $131-$149 and extra heavies made $144-$182. Carcase prices averaged 576-602c/kg.

The sheep were mostly mixed quality Merinos. Prices were again strong, with Merino ewes making $77-$128. Crossbreds sold from $86-$141 and Merino wethers made $83-$119.

Inverell yards first new season lambs

In the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3230 lambs, 1153 more than two weeks ago, and 1120 sheep, 549 more.

The NLRS said the lamb penning included a good supply of well-finished trade and heavy weights off crop and supplementary feed. The quality of the offering was fair to good and included the first pen of new season lambs, 22.1-24kg cwt lambs with $7 skins that made $157, or 625c/kg.

Demand was weaker for heavy weight lambs, with prices up to $10 lower. Well-finished trade weight lambs sold firm to $7 cheaper. Restockers were active on plainer condition lambs.

The sheep were mostly trade weights, with a few pens of heavy weights and a couple of pens of full wool Merino sheep. The market trends was generally dearer, as processors struggle to fill requirements. Increased skin values also contributed to higher prices in some cases.

Bendigo’s young lambs slip $2-$8

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 8786 lambs, 342 more than last week, and 2427 sheep, 883 fewer.

The NLRS said the number of new season lambs increased to nearly half the yarding. The market was erratic and two regular export buyers didn’t operate on lambs. Young lamb quality was very good, but the old lambs were mostly plain, with more lacking fat cover and with secondary skins.

The market was cheaper, with young lambs $2-$8 easier. The line-up of old season slaughter lambs suffered bigger price discounts, partly due to the major domestic buyers now showing a preference for young lambs.

Bidding for new season lambs reached $175 for a pen estimated at 27kg cwt in a $7 skin. There were just five sales over $170. The lead drafts of neat young trade weight lambs sold from $138-$167, or mostly 630-645c/kg cwt. Some pens of lighter weight young lambs under 18kg cwt sold from $94 up to $108 for a draft sold to a local restocker. Carcase prices for young lambs ranged from 580-680c/kg, depending on weight and condition, with pens lacking maturity and finish tending to be at the lower end of the range.

Old season lamb quality was very mixed and buyers picked their way through the offering, resulting in a cheaper market. The best of the export weight lambs sold to $175 and the better quality trade weights made $130-$165. However, most of the old lambs were plainer types lacking carcase finish and these made $96-$126. Carcase results varied for the old lambs, with the better quality types estimated at around 560-610c/kg.

Demand for mutton intensified to push rates for good trade weight Merino sheep back over 400c/kg cwt. Most Merino ewes and wethers sold from $88-$126, depending on size and skin. Heavy crossbred ewes were also dearer at $100-$128, with local agents operating on some pens.

Ballarat’s plain lambs dip $10

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4792 lambs, 1400 fewer than last week, and 328 sheep, 668 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed. Most of the regular buyers attended, but not all operated fully.

Heavy lambs made to $173, with the better covered trade weights selling from $132-$158 and averaging around 600c/kg. A pen of new season young lambs sold to $136 or around 680c/kg. Buyers were selective with their purchases, with the plainer types selling up to $10 easier and more in places.

Heavier Merino lambs sold from $85-$105. Restockers were active and paid from $87-$116 for lambs. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $72-$86.20. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $88-$128, or around 590c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $122-$158, or 560-630c/kg to average around 600c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs made $160-$173.

The average quality sheep yarding generally sold a few dollars dearer. All weights and grades were offered. Heavy shorn Merino wethers sold to $103 and heavy crossbred ewes made to $120. Restockers paid $66-$90 for shorn Merino wethers.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $50-$74. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $68-$112, or 320-430c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 390c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $84-$120. Heavy Merino ewes made $102-$110. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $100-$103 and the medium weights made $81-$100, or around 410c/kg.

Dublin’s best new season lambs sell firm

In the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agent s yarded 2500 lambs, 6918 fewer than last week, and 10,000 sheep, 7636 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed, with a wide range of type and quality offered as more new season lambs came forward. These sold to the usual trade, processor and restocker buyers.

Despite more restocker orders, prices eased across most categories, although the new season lambs with weight sold at similar rates to last week. Light weight new season lambs sold for $70-$110 to the trade and to restockers. Trade weight 3 score new season lambs sold from $110-$138, with the few pens of heavy types making $138-$170 to be firm.

Light weight old lambs sold to the trade for $58-$102. Light weight Merinos made $56-$90, up to $8 cheaper. Restockers paid $54-$104. Light weight 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $70-$112. Trade weight 3 score lambs mainly made $96-$133 at an average of 510c/kg to be up to $6 cheaper. Similar weight Merinos sold from $90-$125, back $10-$12 and more in places. Heavy lambs sold mainly from $122-$156.

Light weight ewes sold to $50 and medium weights made $60-$74, averaging 300c/kg. The heavier lines sold from mainly $70-$126, with an isolated sale at $140. Light weight wethers made $36-$55, medium weights $77-$90 and the best of the heavy weights sold to $124. Rams made to $108.

Naracoorte’s lambs sell cheaper

In the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 867 lambs, 164 fewer than last week, and 1553 sheep, 435 more.

The NLRS said lambs sold cheaper, despite the small offering. Mainly medium weight lambs in 2 and 3 score condition were yarded. The usual buyers attended and most operated fully.

Trade lambs sold from unchanged to mainly $5 cheaper, but heavy weights were $4-$8 lower. Light trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $88-$95. The 3 score trade weights made $105-$137 and averaged an estimated 535c/kg. The heavy 4 score lambs sold from $128-$160 and averaged 600c/kg. More heavy weight 3 and 4 score hoggets came forward and made $105-$121.

The sheep were mostly medium to extra heavy weights in 3 and 4 score condition. The medium weights sold $5-$10 dearer and prices were $8-$15 higher for the heavy and extra heavy weights. The few pens of 1 and 2 score light weight ewes made $57-$72. The 2 and 3 score medium weights sold from $80-$105 and the heavy and extra heavy weight 3-5 score ewes made $100-$138. A run of medium and heavy weight ewes averaged an estimated 410c/kg. There was a good run of 2 and 3 score heavy weight rams and they sold dearer at $74-$116.

Muchea’s new season lambs lift $2

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3772 lambs, 2041 fewer than last week, and 3230 sheep, 1350 less.

The NLRS said wet conditions reduced numbers this week. Quality overall was better than last week, with fewer very plain drafts offered. New season lambs made up more than 35 percent of the lamb yarding. The heavier weight drafts were in excellent condition, but some lighter drafts lacked finish. Old season lambs were mixed in quality, but the market firmed with the return of air freight competition.

New season lamb prices lifted $2, with light lines making $45-$95, mostly with processors. Trade and heavy weight new season lambs sold from $95-$134. Trade weight and heavy new season lambs made close to 520c/kg on average. Light old season lambs sold up to $6 dearer at $40-$100, with processors and live exporters active on suitable drafts. Trade weight old season lambs made $83-$112 and heavy weights sold from $110-$130, or close to 500c/kg on better drafts.

Ewe and wether prices remained firm for quality lines and rams were strongly sought by live export buyers. Ewe prices were firm to marginally dearer with more restocker competition. Light weight ewes were $2 dearer at $47-$70 and most medium weight ewes made $70-$90, up to $4 dearer. Heavy weight ewes sold firm at $79-$101, or close to 315c/kg. Restockers paid from $70 up to $118, for large framed young ewes in full wool.

Wethers sold to solid export feeder competition, with most sales firming on last week. Heavy wethers made $90-$112. The lighter and store drafts were firm to $5 dearer at $80-$104, depending on frame and wool length. Rams were in demand, with export feeders and processors keen to secure numbers. Better ram lambs sold to processors for $95-$114, and exporters and feeders paid $75-$120 for suitable young drafts. Old rams sold to processors for $45-$88.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.

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