LAMB prices generally improved in saleyards mid-week with reduced yardings and many producers able to withhold lambs for rates to firm.
More light 12.1-18kg cwt and trade weight 18.1-22kg new season lambs sold from 550-625c/kg, with increased restocker interest underpinning weaker processor demand.
After Thursday’s saleyard sale, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for the lamb categories were mostly improved, except for light lambs which lost 3 cents to close on 487c/kg.
The restocker lamb ESDI showed the most movement after the release of Thomas Foods International forward price contract into January 2016, lifting 7 cents to 568c/kg. The trade lamb ESDI firmed 2 cents to 514c/kg and the heavy lamb indicator lifted 1 cents to 508c/kg. The Merino lamb ESDI rose 4 cents to 440c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton closed down 2 cents to 343c/kg and the national indice was 1 cent lower, on 342c/kg.
NSW lamb producers have pasture feed “on their side”
Delta Ag livestock manager and auctioneer at Wagga Aaron Mackay said producers held back lambs when saleyard prices dropped last week. Agents initially drew for 18,000 lambs at Wagga this week, with the NLRS quoting an eventual yarding 20,000, 3000 lower due to the Henty Field Days.
The Wagga lamb market was anywhere from $5 to $10 better in patches and “everyone was happy”, he said.
Mr Mackay said NSW lamb producers were generally able to hold lambs back for better rates if necessary. Processors might have to offer more than the current saleyard price to get lambs, he said.
“We’ve got feed on our side, they’ve forgotten that; its spring and everything is just really good here at the moment.
“Lambs have actually put on a lot of weight here in the last two weeks, so I reckon it is going to come to bite them a little bit.”
But he said at prices “anywhere above mid-500c/kg, we’re in action.”
“600c/kg is the magical mark, the icing on the cake, but historically anything above 500c/kg is bloody good.
“So at the end of the day, if you can sell suckers and get $10 bucks for them, take it I reckon; before you shear, feed and drag them through a hot summer,” Mr Mackay said.
“It’s not too bad, it is just we’ve been a bit spoilt, that’s the trouble.”
Mr Mackay said a few processors are starting to put out forward prices now. TFI’s contract for 16-34kg cwt fat score 2-5 lambs for delivery to its Murray Bridge and Lobethal plants from November 2 2015 to January 29 2016 opened on September 23 and will close at 10am Monday, September 28.
TFI is offering 520c/kg for crossbred lambs, and 490c/kg cwt for Merinos, delivered from November 2 to December 11. For delivery from December 14-28, the price is 530c/kg for crossbreds and 500c/kg for Merinos, then 545c/kg for crossbreds and 515c/kg for Merinos up to January 15, 2016. The crossbred price then drops to 535c/kg and 530c/kg for the next two weeks, and to 505c/kg and 500c/kg for Merinos.
A penalty of 50c/kg applies to lambs over 34kg cwt, all lambs of fat score 1 will be discounted 30c/kg and stock containing seed will be discounted $1/kg.
Cootamundra trade lambs $3-$6 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Cootamundra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3566 lambs, 1034 fewer than last week, and 3068 sheep, 1950 less.
The NLRS said about 1700 new season lambs were offered. Quality was good, with a good percentage of the lambs light and light trade weights. There was a small run of trade weight lambs, but a limited offering of heavy new season lambs. Old lambs were very mixed. All the usual buyers attended, but not all operated.
Light new season lambs sold to a dearer trend at $82-$106. Trade weights averaged $3-$6 cheaper at $117-$133, or 560-570c/kg cwt. The small run of heavy weights eased $12-$13 and sold to $144, averaging 535c/kg. The better supplied medium and heavy old lambs eased $8-$11 to $91-$124, or 460-490c/kg. Heavy old lambs made to $139.
Sheep quality was fair to good. Prices eased $7-$14. Ewes were best supplied and the medium weights ranged from $60-$91. Heavy weights made to $110, with most making 300-325c/kg cwt.
Carcoar trade lambs firm to $2 cheaper
At the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3300 lambs, 500 more than last week, and 1700 sheep, 100 fewer.
The NLRS said it was a fair quality yarding with some good pens of new season lambs. Old lamb quality was only fair. Lightweight lambs were firm to $2 dearer, with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $55-$93. Trade weight new season lambs were firm to $2 cheaper, with 18kg to 23kg 3 scores making $95-$127 and heavier weights to $132. Heavy weight lambs also sold firm, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $102-$135. Restockers paid to $108 for lambs to fatten and hoggets sold to $90.
Most grades of sheep sold firm to $4 cheaper in the mixed quality yarding. The 2 score Merino and crossbred ewes sold from $31-$66 and the better 3 and 4 scores made $60-$100. Restockers paid $104 for a pen of Merino ewes. The few better finished Merino wethers sold from $85-$99.
Wagga trade lambs average 567c/kg
At the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 20,000 lambs, 3000 fewer than last week, and 5000 sheep, 2500 less.
The NLRS said lamb numbers decreased due to the Henty field days. Most were excellent quality new season lambs. A smaller group of buyers attended and not all export buyers operated. New season trade lambs were well-supplied and competition increased over all trade weight categories.
Well-finished trade lambs made $125-$146 to average 567c/kg cwt. Light trade lambs weighing 18-20kg cwt averaged $118.70, with restockers putting a floor in prices for well-bred lines. Lighter weight store lambs sold to weaker demand and prices eased $8 to average $95.90. Old trade lamb quality improved, with limited numbers of longer wool lambs. The better finished lambs weighing 21-24kg sold from $108-$127, with heavy trade lambs averaging 497c/kg. The reduced selection of heavy and extra heavy lambs sold to a smaller group of buyers for $127-$160.
Sheep quality was quite good, with plenty of weight. A fair percentage of sheep were shorn or with little skin value. Merino trade sheep made from $63-$90.20, or 313-352c/kg cwt. Heavy ewes sold unchanged to $4 dearer at $100-$113 and averaging 314c/kg. Merino wethers were well-supplied, with the heavier pens making $72-$96. Two pens of advertised young crossbred ewes sold to strong restocker demand from $116-$130.20.
Horsham best trade and heavy lambs $2-$6 dearer
In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8727 lambs, 1054 more than last week, and 3944 sheep, 1096 fewer.
The NLRS said the lambs were mostly new season drafts. Quality was average to good considering the tough feed conditions in the supply region. Most of the regular buyers operated in a market which was dearer on the better covered trade weight and heavy lambs by $2-$6.
Trade weight and heavy lambs were in reasonable numbers and reached $148. Restockers sourced lambs for $80-$102 and from $54-$77 for lighter lots. They went to Ballarat, Mallee and south east South Australian buyers at improved levels on last week. Old lamb numbers declined and the few heavier drafts made $95-$115.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $80-$98. Lighter trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $91-$126, to average around 540c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $118-$128, with heavier drafts making $124-$144, ranging from 520-580c/kg to average around 550c/kg. Heavy 4 score lambs sold to $148 at around 560c/kg.
Sheep quality was average to good, with all weights and grades offered. Restockers paid from $44-$67 for light Merino ewes and to $113.50 for young crossbred ewes.
Light and medium Merino trade sheep sold around last week’s levels, with the heavy Merino and crossbred sheep cheaper. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $98 to be a few dollars back on last week. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $63-$76. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $62-$94, or 300-400c/kg. The Merino mutton averaged around 370c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $77-$93. Heavy Merino wethers made $88-$98, or around 370c/kg.
Hamilton old lambs $6-$10 cheaper
In the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1273 lambs, 324 fewer than last week, and 1405 sheep, 303 less.
The NLRS said the quality of the old lambs, mainly tail-end drafts, was mixed. Fewer processors attended the cheaper sale.
Restockers bought 1 and 2 score Merino lambs for $45-$71. Old lambs sold $6-$10 cheaper and there was a significant drop in competition for light, trade and medium trade 2 and 3 scores, with the heavier trade weight old lambs less affected. A pen of new season lambs sold for $108 or about 510c/kg cwt. The 2 score light weight trade old lambs sold from $64-$88 or an estimated 460c/kg. The medium 3 score lambs made $88-$110, averaging around 500c/kg. The 4 score old lambs sold from $115-$120.
All grades and weights of sheep were yarded. Sheep prices came back, with medium sheep $4-$6 cheaper and heavier weights $8-$10 easier. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $43-$54. Medium 2 and 3 score sheep made from $56-$85 and the heavy 3 and 4 scores sold from $78-$95, or 250-350c/kg, averaging 320c/kg cwt. Merino wethers sold $6 to $7 cheaper to the trade at $73 to $86/head at an estimated average of 355c/kg cwt. Restockers bought Merino wethers for $77-$86. The best hoggets sold from $85-$100 and all breeds of rams made $44-$80.
Ouyen lambs firm to $5 cheaper
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 3438 new season lambs, 1159 old lambs and 3383 sheep.
Prices for lambs of all weights and grades were firm to $5 cheaper. Sheep sold $5-$8 easier.
Export weight new season crossbred lambs sold from $125-$155, or 480-510c/kg, trade lambs made $93.60-$135, or 500-540c/kg, and store lines ranged from $74-$91.50.
Light sheep sold from $76-$86, or 290-330c/kg, and heavy lines made $85-$102, or 300-340c/kg.
Katanning new season lambs sell cheaper
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5000 lambs, 1000 fewer than last week, and 7385 sheep, 529 less.
The NLRS said it was a mixed quality yarding. New season lamb prices were down on quality to $109. All the usual buyers attended. Trade weight new season lambs sold from $99-$109 and medium weights made from $70-$95. New season store lambs sold from $24-$65. Old season crossbred trade weight lambs made $85-$100. Air freight lambs sold from $50-$79. Crossbred store lambs sold to restockers for $45-$65. Merino store lambs sold from $25-$49.
Young store wethers and ewes dominated the yarding and met strong competition from restockers. Young Merino ewes sold to restockers for $35-$55 and store wethers made $20-$87.
Ewe prices eased $2-$3. Light bare shorn ewes sold for $35 and those ewes with a full fleece made to $69. The 2 score bare shorn sheep sold to processors for $20 and lines with a 75mm fleece made to $80. The better 3 score bare shorn sheep made $49 and lines with a fleece sold to $82.
Wether and ram prices were back $2-$5, with processors paying to $86 for wethers. Restockers and feeders paid $50-$106, depending on quality and weight. Bare shorn live export wethers sold from $60 up to $105 for lines with a fleece. Young rams sold to $85 and aged rams made $5-$40. Young rams suitable for live export sold for $50-$85, depending on weight.
Warwick lambs firm
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the Warwick Selling Agents yarded 1557 lambs and hoggets, and 444 sheep.
The lamb market was quoted firm, with lighter lambs a shade dearer. The mutton market was cheaper. The top-priced lambs estimated to weight 70kg lwt made $142.50 for the Glenshaw Partnership of Tara.
Crossbred lambs 46-55kg lwt sold from $124-$136, 42-45kg lambs made $122-$130, the 36-42kg lines ranged from $110-$119 and the 35-40kg lambs made $98-$105.50.
Shorn crossbred hoggets weighing 68.7kg sold to $105. Trade wethers with a $10 skins sold to $84, 370c/kg cwt, and light wethers with $7 skins made $49, or 285c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes with $8 skins sold to $84, or 350c/kg, and light lines with $5 skins made to $45, or 255c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.