Lamb prices generally held firm in saleyards late last week as supplies of quality trade and heavy lambs tighten in all states.
Quality heavy export lambs with finish continued to sell over $200 in the few saleyard sales held on Friday, reaching $213 at Griffith.
Rawlinson and Brown client, Ashley Douglas from Kikoira, 125 km north-east of Griffith, sold the top priced lambs on Friday; a draft of 74 late June-drop White Suffolk lambs with an estimated carcase weight of 42kg and a skin value of $4-$5. The second top price in the sale were Palmyra Investments’ $208.60 lambs, estimated 38kg cwt, with a $5-$6 skin.
Rawlinson and Brown agent Callum Stewart said most producers were winding up their lamb marketing with most drafts starting to show some dryness. The first new season suckers are expected late July, with the main run starting in mid-August.
Mr Douglas also topped the sale the previous week with some 44kg cwt lambs that made $215. He has had to finish lambs from his self-replacing White Suffolk flock on oats and hay this year after a very difficult past 18 months. About 25 mm of rain seven weeks ago enabled him to sow some early oats. Another 13mm of rain recently saved that crop and enabled him to continue sowing.
“Another 3-4 weeks without rain and it would have been getting a bit late.”
He is now looking more worried about spring rain than more in winter.
“That’s a real concern.”
Mr Douglas’ White Suffolk suckers averaged $137.60 this season and his Dorper cross lambs averaged $111.10.
NLRS indicators firm to dearer
The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted most lamb and mutton indicators as firm to slightly improved after Friday’s saleyard sales.
The NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs, their daily and weekly movements are: restocker 542c/kg, no daily change, down 25 cents weekly; Merino 529c/kg, nc, up 20 cents; light 540c/kg, up 2c; nc; trade 576c/kg, nc, down 2c; heavy 584c/kg, nc, up 6c. The national trade lamb indicator is up one cent to 577c/kg and the heavy lamb indice is firm on 585c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton and the national mutton indicator closed up two cents on 374c/kg.
Griffith lambs sell to $213
In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 6550 lambs, 1950 fewer than last week, and 450 sheep, 500 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality declined slightly from the previous sales, with fewer finished lambs on offer. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were again well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a dearer market. Light lambs lifted $4 to sell from $100-$111. Trade weights were $6 dearer with prices ranging from $111-$145. Merino lambs sold from $95-$135. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs lifted $5-$7. Heavy lambs sold from $144 to $164 with extra heavy weights selling from $150-$213. Carcase prices averaged from 580-626c/kg cwt.
Mutton quality was very mixed. Merino ewes sold from $85-$125. Crossbreds reached $131 and Dorper ewes sold to $115.
Cowra trade lambs $1-$4 cheaper
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 4500 lambs, 575 fewer than last week, and 700 sheep, 350 more.
The NLRS said the extra heavy weight lambs were of very good quality. Trade lambs were also well presented and mainly heavy and trade weights were penned. Store lambs were limited in supply. Most buyers operated in a generally firm market, except in the case of the heavy grades, which sold to a dearer trend.
Light lambs to the processors were dearer and averaged $105, while store lambs made from $76-$115. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were $1-$4 cheaper at 583-596c/kg cwt. Most of the better heavy trade weights sold from $128-$140. Heavy weight lambs were firm to $3 dearer and sold from 583-591c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $190-$208.50.
Mutton quality was mixed. Heavy first cross ewes were slightly cheaper and averaged $117.50, or 355c/kg cwt. Medium Merino ewes averaged $101, or 387c/kg.
Shepparton lambs plainer
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards, the agents yarded 1880 lambs, 749 more than last week, and 650 sheep, 206 fewer.
The NLRS said the overall plainer quality yarding that was offered to a similar small field of buyers. One less and one additional buyer operated in a market that sold at mainly unchanged prices.
Heavier weight lambs similar to last week were not offered and top prices only reached $155. The light weight 2 score lambs were of plain to average quality and sold from $61-$98. The light trade weight 2 and 3 scores were in moderate supply and made $75-$112. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $110-$134, with heavy weight 3 and 4 scores making $137-$155. Most better quality trade and heavy weight lambs sold from 545-595c/kg cwt.
The odd few light weight 2 score sheep sold from $50-$67, with the 2 and 3 score medium weights at $62-$89. Heavy 3 and 4 score sheep sold from $80-$117. Restockers paid $34-$47.50 for 1 score Merino wethers while 2 score medium weight wethers made to $75 with processors. Heavy weight 2 and 3 score rams were from $35-$65.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, Rawlinson and Brown.
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