Lamb and mutton prices held firm on Friday after a big week of rises for all categories.
Restockers seeking lambs to run-on and processors filling pre-Christmas orders – export and domestic – continued to dominate saleyard bidding, pushing national indicators to new levels over the past week.
After Friday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service put the National Trade Lambs Indicator at 511c/kg and the heavy lamb indice at 517c/kg. The mutton indicator was on 309c/kg.
The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator finished the week down one cent to 508c/kg, but had lifted 26 cents in the past week, and the ES heavy lamb indicator closed firm at 515c/kg, but had a weekly rise of 28 cents. The ES mutton indicator ended the week on 309c/kg, up two cents, but with an overall 15-cent increase during the week.
The other ES lamb indicators with their daily and weekly changes were: restocker 497c/kg, no change, up 22 cents; Merino 447c/kg, no change, up 32 cents. Light 474c/kg, down 1 cent, up 26 cents.
AuctionsPlus sheep and lamb listings increase
Sheep and lamb numbers increased on AuctionsPlus by 9955 to 57,070 last week, helped by the North East Victorian Lamb Background and Finishing Sale.
AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said restockers favoured lines with wool in a large offering of Merino ewe hoggets during the week. Prices averaged $93 and ranged from $70 to a top of $118 for a line of 55kg ewes with an average 1.75’’ skin.
The trend continued onto Collinsville blood Merino wether lambs from Ivanhoe with a 1.25’’ skin that sold for $84. Merino wether lamb prices ranged from $58-$84, with an average of $66. Older unjoined Merino ewes sold from $74.50-$90 with an average of $83, she said.
Processors paid $65 or 285c/kg cwt for a line of six and seven-year-old Merino ewes at Dubbo, but 550 late-June shorn Merino ewes at Cressy in Tasmania topped the slaughter prices, selling
for 378c or $80.50.
Ms Adams said first cross ewe prices rose across the board last week. Ewe lamb prices ranged from $97-$175, up $18 on last week’s top price. Unjoined 3 to 4 year old ewes continued their strong prices with an average of $151.
The Cashmore Park (Cashmore, VIC) and Oaklea (Mt Gambier, SA) Maternal Ewe Sale set a strong
pace for composite ewes and ewe lambs. Ewe lamb prices averaged $120, with the sale’s top price being $155 for 50kg liveweight six-month-old lambs from Mt Gambier. Unjoined composite ewe hoggets ranged from $137-$171.
Ms Adams said prime lamb buyers and finishers showed insatiable demand last week, across the Tuesday, Thursday and the NE Victorian lamb sales, with a 93 percent clearance of lambs offered during the week.
Light lambs weighing 28-29kg liveweight ranged from $66-$74, down $3 on last week. Nonetheless, lambs weighing 30-32kg were up on last week by $12, and ranged from $70 to a top of $92.50 for a line of mixed sex Poll Dorset cross suckers weighing 30kg lwt. Store lambs 36-38kg averaged $89 or 566c/kg dressed weight, up $9. Heavy lambs 40-42kg lwt made $89 to $110.50, up $10, Ms Adams said.
Heavy shorn lambs $1-$8 dearer at Cowra
In NSW at the Cowra saleyard on Friday, the agents yarded 7650 lambs, 140 fewer than last week, and 2560 sheep, 1070 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very good, particularly for the heavy shorn lines. Mainly trade and heavy weight lambs were penned, with more shorn and store lambs. All the usual buyers operated and competition was strong, especially for the heavy shorn lambs, which sold dearer.
Light lambs to restockers were $4 dearer and averaged around $83 for most grades. Medium and heavy trade new seasons were firm to slightly easier and averaged from 496c/kg-500c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weight new seasons sold from $104-$116. Heavy weight shorn new season lambs were $1-$8 dearer and averaged from 487c/kg-535c/kg cwt. A few pens of extra heavy weight shorn lambs sold from $140-$149, with one pen topping at $167.50 that had an estimated carcass weight of 34-35kg.
Mutton numbers increased and quality was good. Medium Merino ewes were $9 dearer and averaged $73 or 319c/kg cwt for the 3 scores. Heavy first cross ewes were $5 dearer and averaged $95 or 297c/kg cwt.
Lambs 505-531c/kg cwt at Griffith
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 6450 lambs, 3564 more than last week, and 4650 sheep, 3105 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to the previous sales, with good numbers of well-finished lambs. A large percentage of the yarding was shorn lambs. The usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market.
Trade weight new season lambs sold from $110-$118. Heavy lambs made $125-$136. A few pens of extra heavy weights ranged in price from $137-$147. Old trade weight lambs held fairly steady, with prices ranging from $94-$118. Heavy and extra heavy weights were firm to $3 easier. Heavy lambs sold from $120-$136, with extra heavy weights making $134-$155. Carcase prices averaged from 505c/kg-531c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos. Prices reflected the slight improvement in quality. Merino ewes sold from $74-$100. Crossbred ewes received from $74-$86 and Dorper ewes averaged $63.
Shepparton lamb prices firm for limited quality
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 2643 lambs, 284 more than last week, and 1578 sheep, 287 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average. Most of the usual buyer attended, but there was a limited supply of good trade and heavy lambs. Lambs generally sold around last week’s levels, with a few pens of well-presented shorn young lambs making $117-$129 to average close to 500c/kg cwt. Restocking activity was again keen on the pens of suitable light lambs and they competed with processors, paying mostly from $55-$83.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $65-$76. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $86.60-$108. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $107-$125 and ranged from 470c/kg-520c/kg cwt to average around 490c/kg cwt.
The sheep yarding included many crossbred ewes and most sheep sold generally firm. A few pens of young Merino ewes and wethers sold to restockers from $44.50-$68.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $30-$69.50. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $50-$75, and they ranged from 240c/kg-310c/kg cwt to average around 290c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $60-$90.
Source: NLRS and AuctionsPlus