SLAUGHTER lamb prices were firm to slightly easier in saleyards mid-week, with plainer quality lines and heavy lambs most affected.
At Bendigo on Monday, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted most of the better finished trade lambs as making $130-$155, or 590-620c/kg, with select pens higher.
Ballarat’s best trade and heavy lambs made similar rates while Dubbo’s trade lambs were $4-$7 cheaper and heavyweight prices fell $6-$10.
NLRS indicators mostly firm, restocker lamb interest wanes
Restockers were active at Ballarat, Dublin, Naracoorte and Muchea but not at Bendigo nor elsewhere, with the general falling restocker interest being reflected in a 44 cent drop in the NLRS’ Eastern States Daily Indicator for restocking lambs after Tuesday’s saleyard sales.
The other lamb ESDIs mid-week were: Merinos 531c/kg, down 2 cents; light 561c/kg, down 2c; trade 575c/kg, down 1c; heavy 579c/kg, down 2c. The national trade lamb indicator fell 1 cent to 575c/kg and the heavy lamb indice was down 2 cents to 578c/kg.
The ESDI and national indicator for mutton closed on 389c/kg.
Over-the-hook lamb rates firm to easier
In NSW, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates eased this week, on the back of the last week’s short week and mixed demand from buyers. Mutton rates across all weight ranges were unchanged.
In Victoria, the NLRS said over-the hook lambs rates were unchanged this week, with trade lambs averaging 600c/kg cwt. Mutton rates were also steady week-on-week, with medium weight sheep averaging 363c/kg cwt.
In SA, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates remained unchanged week-on-week across all categories. Medium and heavy weight mutton rates eased an average of 15c/kg cwt.
In WA, the NLRS quoted most over-the-hook lamb and mutton rates as unchanged, although 18-22kg lamb rates lifted 3 cents to average 577c/kg.
Tasmania’s lamb and mutton over-the-hook rates were quoted as unchanged this week.
Dubbo’s trade lambs $3-$7 cheaper
In NSW at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 25,500 lambs, 13,560 more than last week, and 11,500 sheep, 6190 more.
The NLRS said the good quality yarding had a fair number of top heavy weight lambs, along with lighter lambs and Merinos.
Light weight lambs were firm to $3 cheaper, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $60-$109. Trade lambs were $4-$7 cheaper, with the 18-22kg 3 scores selling from $96-$136 to average 551c/kg cwt.
Heavy weight lambs up to 30kg were $6-$10 cheaper and the extra heavy weights sold close to firm, with 22kg-plus 4 scores making $114-$196. Merino lambs were firm to $3 cheaper, with the trade weights selling from $90-$133, while the heavier weights sold to $141.
Most grades of ewes sold $3-$7 cheaper in the mixed quality mutton yarding. Wethers were up to $10 easier. The 2 score ewes sold from $43-$82, while the better 3 and 4 scores sold from $78-$126 for crossbreds and to $120 for Merinos. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $76-$118.
Tamworth lambs $5-$6 cheaper
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 4900 lambs, 2900 more than last week, and 2250 sheep, 1250 more.
The NLRS said the lamb yarding consisted of a good supply of trade weights, along with several runs of heavy weights and some light lambs. Quality was generally good and although the light weights were mainly in 2 score condition. Most lambs were well-finished, with several lots supplementary-fed. The market sold to an easier trend, with most lambs $5-$6 cheaper, although some sales were back more.
The yarding of mutton consisted of several pens of heavy weights carrying a good skin, along with a good supply of medium weight sheep. The market was mainly unchanged for most mutton.
Forbes prices fluctuate on quality
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 18,050 lambs and 3350 sheep.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to the previous sale, with good numbers of well-finished lines and plainer types. The usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market that fluctuated depending on quality.
Light lambs sold from $96-$110. Trade weights ranged in price from $111-$144. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were firm to slightly easier. Heavy lambs sold from $141-$152. Extra heavy weights made $150-$181. Carcase prices ranged from 534-596c/kg cwt. Merino and Dohne lambs sold from $95-$151.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and competition was strong, particularly on the woolly sheep. Merino ewes sold from $84-$126. Crossbred ewes ranged from $86-$130 and Dorper ewes made $82-$118. Merino wethers ranged from $86-$140.
Bendigo’s best domestic lambs hold firm
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 16,029 lambs, 796 more than last week, and 6000 sheep, 1395 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed, reflecting the season and tail-end drafts of stock now coming through the system. Quality trade weight slaughter lambs were in limited supply, with secondary types dominating the yarding. Prices, compared to a fortnight ago, were firm for the best quality domestic lambs, while extra heavy export pens and plainer trade lambs showed a softer trend.
The market reached a top of $208 for a pen of lambs estimated to have a carcase weight of about 40kg. The seconds of the draft made $206. There was little restocker interest and most of the light lambs sold to processing orders at $72-$108. The plainer finished domestic lambs generally sold from $110-$130 at fluctuating rates depending on quality and mostly made around 560-580c/kg cwt. There was a bigger offering of Merino lambs and the best pens, which had been supplemented on grain, sold from $131-$147. Lighter weight and leaner Merino lambs generally made from $66-$121.
Domestic buyers continued to purchase odd pens of heavier lambs to access better finish and quality, paying up to $160. The majority of the better finished trade lambs sold from $130-$155, at estimated carcase rates of 590-620c/kg, with select pens higher.
The quality of export weight lambs was quite mixed. The general run sold from $158-$172, while about 10 pens of extra heavy types, over 30kg cwt, made from $180-$196. There were only two sales over $200, at $206-$208.
The mutton sale included a good offering of extra heavy first-cross ewes that sold from $100-$132 and averaged nearly $124. The main lines of Merino sheep sold to a top of $125 and averaged over 400c/kg cwt.
Ballarat’s heavy lambs a few dollars easier
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 16,341 lambs, 672 more than last week, and 5638 sheep, 357 fewer.
The NLRS said the usual buyers were offered well-finished trade weight and heavy lambs in limited numbers, with more light lambs yarded.
The heavy lambs sold a few dollars easier and made to $190, with the best of the trade weight lambs selling at similar levels to last week. Restockers and feeders were again active, sourcing lambs from $94.50-$120, with the light lots from $55-$74. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $80-$100.
Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $94-$129 and averaged around 600c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $121-$141, while the heavier drafts sold from $132-$150 and averaged around 580-590c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $148-$180 and averaged around 575c/kg. Extra heavy export lambs sold to $190.
The sheep offering was of plain to average quality, with not all the usual buyers operating fully. Most sheep sold around last week’s levels, though some of the plainer lighter sheep were a few dollars easier. Wethers generally sold to stronger competition to average around 410-420c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $51-$72. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $66-$98, as they ranged from 320-420c/kg, with the Merino sheep averaging around 380c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $93-$126. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $109-$126, and the medium weights made $84-$105. Rams of all weights sold from $50-$102.
Dublin lamb prices ease
At the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,883 lambs, 977 more than last week, and 2063 sheep, 1133 more.
The NLRS said the mixed quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to generally easing competition from the usual local and interstate trade and processor buyers. The secondary lambs were the most affected by the easing prices and feeders were keen to secure crossbred lambs to feed on.
Feeders bought ultra-light weight 2 score crossbreds for $56-$80 and 3 score lambs for $108-$126. Light weight 3 score crossbreds to trade buyers eased $2, selling from $105-$115 and averaging 528c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 3 scores eased $4, to make from $110-$130 and average 508c/kg. Heavy trade weight 4 scores eased $6, selling from $125-$140 and averaging 551c/kg. Heavy weights eased $7, to $158-$185, or 558-573c/kg. Extreme heavy weight lambs sold from $197-$201.
Light weight Merino lambs sold to restockers for $30-$86. Light weight Merinos bought by processors eased $12 to $80-$105, averaging 470c/kg. Trade weights eased $8 to $110-$130, averaging 480c/kg. Heavy weights eased as much as $19, selling from $125-$145, or 477-490c/kg.
The mixed quality yarding of sheep sold to easing processor competition. Light weight 2 score ewes eased $3, selling from $60-$70, while heavy weight 3 score ewes eased $6, to $80-$105, or an average of 318c/kg. Heavy weight wethers were scarce and sold from $80-$118 to average 392c/kg. Heavy weight rams made $70-$112.
Naracoorte prices fluctuate
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2491 lambs, 132 more than last week, and 926 sheep, 260 more.
The NLRS said a smaller field of trade and processor buyers was active along with some restocker orders. Prices fluctuated across the different categories.
Light weight lambs ranged from mainly $62-$96. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score types sold from $98-$111, $3-$4 easier. Restockers only purchased a small number of lambs from $78-$96.
Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $106-$132 to buck the easier trend and improve up to $5 at an average of 560c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 and 5 score lambs ranged from $140-$170 to be $8-$10 easier.
Light weight Merino ewes sold from $60-$65 and medium weight ewes made $80-$104 to be $4-$6 dearer. Heavy 4 and 5 score ewes ranged from $108-$121 to be $3 easier in price. Hoggets sold to $90, with a number of pens of Merino wethers coming forward. Light and medium weighted types sold from $71-$85, with the heavy selection making $100-$125.
Muchea lambs $3-$10 cheaper
In WA at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9070 lambs, 7864 fewer than last week, and 3800 sheep, 2200 fewer.
The NLRS said lower prices last week and maintenance shutdowns resulted in a much smaller yarding this week. Lamb numbers were solid, but quality was mixed this week with some very good heavy and trade lambs along with solid numbers of Merino and secondary trade lines. Lamb processors appear to be meeting most of their requirements from direct-to-works contracts.
Lamb prices continued to decline across all categories with most lamb from $3 to $10 cheaper. Light lamb suitable for air freight processors and feeders were from firm to $5 cheaper, with prices from $65-$95. Trade lambs made $80-$120 to be close to $8 cheaper. Better prime lamb drafts averaged 500c/kg cwt, while plainer and Merino drafts sold from 480-500c/kg and solid numbers went to feeders. Most light store lambs made $30-$62, with the Merino drafts averaging $52 and dearer. Heavy lambs sold from $115-$138, with most cheaper by more than $5.
Ewe mutton, hogget and wether supplies were limited. Ewe supplies included some good longer wool heavy weights along with plainer drafts. Ewe mutton and wether prices eased $3-$7, with live exporters and some mutton processors not competing.
Ewe prices were mostly back around $4, with the light drafts making from $30-$58. The 2 score mutton sold to processors for $54-$76.50 to average close to 280c/kg cwt. The better conditioned and heavy weight ewes made $65-$85.
Restockers purchased reasonable numbers of ewes from $55-$93.50, $1-$5 easier. Wether prices remained solid, the export weight drafts making between $90-$110 to feeders and processors. Lighter and store drafts made $60-$98 to be marginally dearer this week. Rams continued to sell well with ram lambs making $75-$100 and young drafts to export feeders from $40-$71.50. Old rams to processors made $45-$65.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.