Domestic Lamb

Lamb prices firm, but saleyard rates push up to 550c/kg

Sheep Central, December 5, 2014

lambs - tags1Lamb prices held relatively firm in Australian saleyards mid-week with domestic processors dominating bidding for quality trade lambs, pushing carcase rates up to 520c/kg-550c/kg at several centres.

Mutton rates also were relatively unchanged, though heavy sheep carcase weight prices ranged up to 310c/kg-340c/kg.

After Thursday’s sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Trade Lamb Indicator as unchanged on 509c/kg cwt and the heavy lamb indice at 515c/kg cwt, up three cents as competition for quality export lines intensified. The other ESD lamb indicators are: restocker, 497c/kg, down two cents; Merino, 447c/kg, down 2c; light, 475c/kg, no change. The ESD Mutton Indicator is firm at 307c/kg cwt.

The National ES Trade Lamb Indicator is at 511c/kg, the heavy indice is at 513c/kg and mutton is at 307c/kg.

Carcoar’s 18-22kg cwt lambs at 530c/kg

In NSW at Carcoar’s CTLX on Wednesday, the agents yarded 18,300 lambs, 450 fewer than last week, and 7830 sheep, 4780 more.

The NLRS said it was a good yarding of trade and heavy weight lambs though there were more lightweight lambs offered due to the continuing dry conditions.

Lightweight lambs were $2 dearer, with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $65-$77. Trade weight lambs were $4-$5 dearer with the 18-22kg new season lambs selling from $88-$126 to average 530c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $4 dearer with over 22kg new season lambs selling from $117-$169, while the heavy weight old lambs sold to $156. Restockers paid from $41-$94 and hoggets sold to $90.

It was a mainly good quality yarding of mutton. Most grades were $5-$7 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $30-$70, while the 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $60-$96 for crossbreds and $90 for Merinos. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $59-$92.

Restocker lambs up $15 at Goulburn

In the Goulburn saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2900 lambs, 800 more thn last week, and 2200 sheep, 900 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to good. There were a few more shorn young lambs with skins and condition deteriorating as the season progresses. Mostly light and trade weight lambs were offered, along with a few heavy weights.

Most of the usual trade buyers and some strong restocker orders operated in a mostly dearer market. Slaughter lambs were $3-$7 dearer, while lighter weight store lambs going to restockers lifted by up to $15. Light lambs returning to the paddock, up to 18kg cwt, made $66-$91, with heavy weights up to $115. Light processing lots, 16-18kg, made $78-$99, while trade weights ranged from $85-$110. Heavy lambs made $105-$121. Most slaughter lambs averaged 440c/kg-490c/kg cwt.

Most sheep showed plenty of weight and condition. It was a mostly dearer market, with prices generally lifting $6-$7 and more in places. Light 2 score ewes made $38-$57, while medium and heavy weights ranged from $54-$88. Heavy wethers reached $91 for Merinos and $115 for very heavy crossbreds. Most of the well-covered mutton averaged 270c/kg-340c/kg cwt.

Trade lambs to 549c/kg cwt at Wagga

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 30,000 lambs, 5600 more than last week, and 12,000 sheep, 2200 more.

The NLRS said quality was quite good, with fewer numbers of secondary lambs in plainer condition.

Shorn young lambs were in greater numbers, along with increased supplies of supplementary fed lambs. The usual domestic and export buyers competed in a solid market.

Major domestic buyers dominated sales of well-finished trade lambs, helping push prices $4 higher, while shorn young lambs were firm to $3 cheaper. Medium and heavy trade lambs averaged 549c/kg cwt. The better-finished medium and heavy trade lambs sold from $120-$142.20. Young shorn trade lambs averaged 538c/kg cwt, selling from $108-$136. Light young Lambs to turnout were keenly sought and prices lifted $8 to average $63.50. Well-bred secondary lambs carrying more weight sold from $78-$103.

Heavy export lamb numbers increased marginally, with shorn lambs making up the bulk of the offering. Shorn lambs were aided by strong export and domestic competition, with prices firm to $4 higher. Heavy and extra heavy lambs sold from $142-$162 to average 535c/kg cwt. A single pen of extra heavy shorn young lambs with an estimated weight of 32kg cwt, reached a top price of $163.20.

Mutton quality was mixed, with all weights and grades represented. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were well-supplied and prices were $7-$11 dearer. Trade sheep made from $64-$92 to average from 317c/kg-332c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep were in reasonable supply and a northern processor dominated this category. Heavy wethers weighing 32kg cwt sold to a top price of $108, while other sales of heavy wethers ranged from $80-$98. Heavy ewe mutton sold from $75-$104 to average 315c/kg cwt.

Light lambs up to $15 dearer at Hamilton

At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 49,229 lambs, 7080 more than last week.

The NLRS said there were more southern lambs in the very good yarding, with trade weights and well-bred lighter lambs showing a touch of dryness. A full field of buyers with more restockers from the Wimmera, Mallee, Murray and SA border districts pushed light lamb prices generally up $5-$10, and up to $15 in places. Trade weights sold $3-$4 dearer. The heavy export lambs were firm to $3 dearer.

Light 1 and 2 score lambs made from $65 to $87, while light trade types sold from $88-$$98, to average around 480c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $93-$128 and the heavy trade weights ranged between $123-$142, to sell at an estimated 500c/kg-520c/kg cwt. Heavy export lambs sold from $148 to a top again of $160, selling from 515c/kg-530c/kg cwt.

Shorn trade lambs average 520c/kg at Horsham

At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2718 lambs, 1399 fewer than last week, and 5004 sheep, 1621 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was plain to average as the selling season winds up. Most of the usual buyers attended, but not all operated.

Lambs mostly sold similar to last week. A few pens of quality shorn young lambs were penned, with the heavier weights selling to $135 and the trade weights making from $95-$130 to average around 520c/kg cwt. Restocking activity was limited to a few pens of shorn lambs selling from $78-$85.50.

Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $74-$78. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $77-$99, with odd sales to $114. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $102-$126, and they ranged from 460c/kg-500c/kg cwt to average around 485c/kg cwt.

Sheep quality was good, with several pens of heavy Merino wethers selling to $90 and heavy Merino ewes selling to $98. Sheep generally sold around last week’s levels, with odd sales a few dollars dearer. Restockers paid $82 for a pen of Merino ewes.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $42-$63. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $57-$88.50, or from 270c/kg-340c/kg cwt to average around 300c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $74-$98. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $77-$90 and the medium weights made $62-$80.50 at around 310c/kg cwt.

Heavy sheep average 320c/kg cwt at Hamilton

At the Hamilton saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 18,389 sheep, 5110 more than last week.

The NLRS said the sheep supply continued to rise as producers offloaded old and cull ewes which made up almost 75pc of the yarding. Quality overall was mixed, from very good prime Merino 3 and 4 score wethers and 4 score ewes down to light 1 score ewes showing less condition and weight. There was a strong field of buyers, although one export buyer was only operating on the heavier sheep and restocker activity was limited. Prices for the lighter sheep were firm to $1-$2 easier and the medium trade mutton seemed to be equal to last week. Heavier sheep gained some ground to be firm to average $1-$2 dearer.

Light 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $27-$59, while medium weight mutton made between $55-$82, to range from 260c/kg-300c/kg cwt, averaging 280c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score ewes mostly made $72-$90, with the best crossbred ewes making up to $95 and the best Merino ewes selling to $94.

Prime Merino wethers, 26kg plus, sold from $84-$96, with the heavier sheep ranging from 290c/kg-340c/kg cwt to average an estimated 320c/kg cwt.

The few pens hoggets sold from $62-$89 to average 310c/kg cwt. Merino rams made $28-$59, while other rams sold from $15-$25.

Restockers pay $50-$98 for lambs at Mt Gambier

In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 13,426 lambs, 2427 more than last week, and 457 sheep, 531 fewer.

The NLRS said a large number of trade, processor and domestic buyers attended the sale. Restocker competition was more evident on the large numbers of light lambs penned. Overall quality fell slightly, however the market generally was firm on last week’s improved prices.

Light weight lambs ranged from $34-$88, to be firm, with the lightweight trade 2 and 3 score lambs making $85-$98, a marginal $2 better. Restockers secured more numbers this week with solid bidding from $50-$98 for lambs to turn out. The remainder of the lamb market was firm with trade weight 3 score lambs ranging from $97-$118, at 490c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $116-$140, also at 490c/kg cwt, and the extra heavy export weight lambs ranged from $136-$160.

The lightweight 1 and 2 score ewes ranged from $45-$68 and medium weight 3 score lines sold from $52-$88 at an improved 325c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 and 5 score ewes made $86-$91 and the few hoggets ranged between $85-$95. Rams sold from $22-$28.

Most trade lambs 500c/kg cwt at Katanning

In WA at Katanning on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6339 lambs, 661 fewer than last week, and 9200 sheep, two more.

Most sheep and lamb categories were dearer across the market, with a dearer finish as buyers competed to secure numbers.

The NLRS said the majority of lambs were suitable for light weight processor and restocker orders. Live export activity was stronger on wether lambs. Processor and restocker demand was also strong. Price for light lambs to restockers were up, with most making $40-$87. Lambs to processors and live exporters lifted $1-$5, with light weight drafts to air freight orders making $65-$99 and trade weight drafts selling from $90-$120. Heavy lambs sold to a top of $125, with most trade lambs making close to 500c/kg cwt.

Sheep quality remained reasonable, but ewe weights were lower, with more low-conditioned drafts. Ewe prices were marginally dearer as processors and restockers competed for supply. Light ewes made $35-$66, with 2 score processor mutton from $59-$79, $1 dearer. The 3 and 4 score ewes, including heavy weight drafts, made from $50-$85, to be firm to $1 dearer, with heavy cross-bred ewes up $4, to make $59-$86.

Wether and wether lamb prices lifted on increased live export activity, with most drafts up $4. Live export activity was stronger on export weight wether drafts Heavy wethers made from $77-$93, with lighter and store drafts selling from $50-$89 to live export and export feeders. Rams were strong again, with rams to live export making $50-$67 and old rams to processors $10-$55. Ram lambs sold to a top of $93.

Source: MLA, NLRS.

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