LAMB prices generally firmed slightly in saleyards mid-week, although underpinned by restocker and feeder buyers as processors continue to limit purchases and rates paid.
Increasing numbers of lambs’ skins are showing dryness and seed contamination, and many processors with adequate direct consignments are still able to limit saleyard purchases to closer intra-state centres.
Restockers and feeders in Victoria and NSW are buying up into new season trade weight lamb ranges at current rates, which according to indicative National Livestock Reporting Service daily carcase weight indicators were yesterday 26-40 cents lower than a week ago for all but heavy lambs.
Most light 12.1-18kg new season lambs sold from 415-590c/kg cwt in eastern state saleyards over the last two days, with restockers paying over 600c/kg for some drafts at Wagga on Thursday. Rates for sub-12kg lambs were dearer, up to 740c/kg to restockers at Horsham.
Light and medium trade weight young lambs 18.1-22kg, and heavier 22.1-30kg+ drafts, generally sold from 430-550c/kg in eastern state centres.
NLRS indicators recover slightly
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were: restocker 528c/kg, up 1 cents; Merinos 446c/kg, up 10c; light 465c/kg, up 3c; trade 495c/kg, up 2c; heavy 488c/kg, up 6c. The national trade lambs indicator rose 3 cents on Thursday to 496c/kg and the heavy indice lifted 6 cents to 488c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton fell 2 cents to 295c/kg and the national indicator is also down 2 cents to 296c/kg.
Cootamundra’s new season lambs $13-$15 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Cootamundra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6300 lambs, 2734 more than the last sale, and 3700 sheep, 632 more than two weeks ago.
The NLRS said the quality of the trade and heavy lambs was good. About 4000 new season lambs were penned, including more light store and Merinos. Some of the new season lambs were starting to dry in the skin and there were few shorn lambs. The main core of buyers operated in a cheaper market than two week ago.
New season lambs were $13-$15 cheaper and the restocking lambs were up to $20 cheaper. Restocking lambs ranged from $45-$93. The medium and heavy trade weights sold from $93-$121. Heavy weights sold from $115-$140. Most carcase weight prices ranged from 480-520c/kg.
Old lambs eased at a similar rate, with the trade weights ranging from $76-$106 and the heavy weights making to $126.
The quality of the sheep was not to the standard of the previous sale and prices eased $20. Medium weight ewes made $45-$73 and heavy weights to $83. Heavy Merino wethers reached $93. Most ranged from 250-280c/kg cwt.
Carcoar lamb prices firm
At the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6250 lambs, 750 fewer than last year, and 4200 sheep, 1375 less.
The NLRS said quality was very good in the heavy new season and better trade weight lambs, while the remainder tended to be mixed. Mainly trade and heavy lambs were penned, along with more store lambs suitable for restockers. All the usual buyers operated and competition was reasonable, resulting in a generally firm market.
Light lambs generally sold to restockers from $87-$102. Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs sold about firm at 500-515c/kg cwt. Most of the better heavy trade weight new season lambs sold from $113 to $118/head. Heavy new season lambs were firm to a couple of dollars better at around 490c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weights sold from $131-$142. Trade weight old lambs were cheaper at $90-$108. Heavy weight lambs sold slightly better in places at $120-$139 or around 450c/kg.
Sheep quality was reasonable, with some larger lines offered. Medium Merino ewes averaged $63 for the 3 scores, or 250c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were $12 cheaper and more in places, averaging $70 or 220c/kg. Medium weight wethers just shorn averaged $61.
Wagga competition limited to NSW buyers
At the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 26,800 lambs, 3200 fewer than last week, and 8000 sheep, 2000 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality slipped from the previous market, with more beginning to show dryness. Skin quality has declined with a fair percentage of new season lambs presenting with seed contamination. The regular NSW buyers attended, but very few southern processors operated. New season trade lambs were well-supplied and competition was steady over all trade weight categories.
Well-finished trade lambs made from $110-$140.20 to average 489c/kg cwt. Light trade lambs weighing 18-20kg averaged $104.20, with restocker and feedlot orders supporting this weight range. More new season Merino lambs were penned, selling from $75-$95 to slaughter, and averaging $66.70 to restockers. Store lambs sold to slightly weaker demand to average $102.10 for the heavier drafts. Heavy new season lambs were generally unchanged to a few dollars dearer, making from $135-$154 to range from 446-510c/kg cwt.
Old lamb quality was mixed, with shorn lambs attracting some competition. Trade lambs made from $86-$115.
Sheep quality was quite good, with limited supplies of lighter weight mutton. A fair percentage of sheep were shorn or with little skin value. Merino trade sheep made from $52-$74.20, or around 265c/kg cwt. Heavy ewes sold unchanged to $3 dearer at $23-$97.20 at around 233c/kg. Merino wethers were well-supplied with the heavier pens making $74-$88.
Horsham lambs sell $5-$8 easier
In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 13,560 lambs, 439 fewer than last week, and 4332 sheep, 2693 less.
Lamb numbers were similar with 13,600 yarded. Quality was average, with limited numbers of trade weight and heavy lambs offered. The usual buyers attended, but not all operated fully in a cheaper market.
Lambs sold $5-$8 easier and more in places. Heavy lambs reached a top of $146. There was a large number of lighter lambs showing the effects of the tough season, with restockers and feeders very active on suitable lambs. They paid mostly from $82-$106.50, and from $54-$78 for lighter lots with most restocking lambs a few dollars easier.
Old lamb numbers were limited, and mostly sold from $82-$118 for the trade and heavy weights. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $73-$81. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $76-$111. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $102-$122 and the heavier lots made $124-$132, ranging from 450-520c/kg cwt and averaging 490-500c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $123-$146.
Most sheep sold $4-$10 easier, with prices for heavier over-fat sheep slipping more in places. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $31-$68. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $49-$76.50, or from 220-320c/kg, with Merinos averaging around 300c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $58-$82, with Merino wethers making $63-$88. Restockers paid from $66-$95 for Merino ewes and from $51-$60 for crossbred ewes.
Hamilton sheep and lambs cheaper
At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1221 lambs, 212 more than last week, and 2298 sheep, 885 more.
The NLRS said a limited field of buyers attended the sale.
More new season lambs were penned, with most weighing 16-22kg cwt averaging close to 500c/kg cwt at $85-$115.
There was an overall a cheaper trend, with light 2 score old lambs back $5-$10 and medium trade old lambs 3 score $10-$15 easier. The 2 score light weight old lambs sold from $40-$58, light 2 score trade weight old lambs made $62-$82 and medium weight 3 scores $81-$112, to average 405c/kg cwt.
Sheep quality was mostly average to good, with more medium weight mutton. Light and medium sheep sold $3-$5 weaker and heavier mutton was $10-$12 cheaper, with less inquiry from processors. Local restockers took the opportunity to purchase crossbred ewes for $75-$92 and Merino wethers from $68-$92. Sheep ranged from 223-340c/kg cwt, with medium 2 and 3 scores making $56-$76 and heavier mutton $64-$92, to average 295c/kg. Rams of all breeds sold from $32-$65.
Ouyen’s quality lambs $5-$7 cheaper
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 6583 new season lambs, 1061 old lambs and 4661 sheep.
Prices for quality lambs were $5-$7 cheaper than at the last sale and secondary lambs sold $10-$15 easier. Sheep prices also fell $5-$10.
Export weight new season crossbred lambs sold from $101-$140, or 450-500c/kg, and trade weights made $83-$122.20, or 450-490c/kg. Store lambs sold from $46-$93.20.
Light sheep sold from $47-$72 and heavy lines made $60-$90.60, or 220-280c/kg.
Store ewes and lambs dominate Katanning yarding
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7001 lambs, 4001 more than last week, and 5000 sheep, 3205 fewer.
The NLRS said it was a mixed quality yarding at Katanning. Store Merino ewes and lambs dominated the yarding, with prices easing slightly.
New season lamb prices were down in quality, selling to $96. All the usual buyers attended. Trade weight new season lambs sold from $74-$90 and light weights made $51-$70. Heavy new season lambs sold from $91-$96. Old season crossbred trade weight lambs made $70-$80. Restockers paid $40-$76 for store crossbred lambs. Store Merino lambs sold for $40.
Young bare shorn Merino ewes sold to restockers for $30 and those with a fleece made $63. The best store wethers in full wool sold to $111. Ewe prices sold firm to $2-$5 easier on last week’s prices. Light bare shorn ewes sold for $21 and those with fleece made to $50. Bare shorn 2 score processor sheep made $30 and those with a 75mm fleece sold to $55. The better bare shorn 3 score sheep sold from $46 and those with a fleece made to $78.
Restockers and feeders paid $30-$92 for wethers depending on quality and weight. Young rams and wethers were in demand and remained firm. Live export wethers sold to $95. Prime young rams sold from $55-$89 and older rams from $5-$10.
Warwick lamb prices firm to dearer
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1343 lambs and hoggets, and 163 sheep.
The market was firm to dearer for lambs and fully firm for mutton. The top-priced crossbred lambs weighing about 72.5kg lwt from J. & J.R. Neal of ‘Camp View’, Tara, sold for $150.
Crossbred lambs 46-55lg lwt sold from $120-$131, 42-45kg lambs made $112-$129, 36-42kg lines sold for $110-$126 and the 35-40kg lambs ranged from $98-$105.
Shorn crossbred hoggets 45kg lwt sold to $94. Trade wethers with $12 skins sold to $84, or 370c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes with $10 skins made to $108, or 360c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.