Domestic Lamb

Lamb prices gain ground with quality in early sales

Terry Sim, September 24, 2014

lambs - tags1Lamb prices gained ground and mutton rates held firm early this week across Australia as buyers competed for quality in mostly smaller yardings in New South Wales.

New season lamb quality, weight and numbers increased in Victorian and South Australian yardings and met strong competition from buyers. Store lamb and restocker inquiry continued to be strong in most saleyards.

MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service said the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator finished up five cents at 477c/kg on Tuesday, the heavy lamb indicator was at 467c/kg, up two cents and the mutton indicator closed unchanged at 323c/kg.

New season trade weight lambs $3-$5 up at Dubbo

In NSW at Dubbo on Monday, agents yarded 23,565 good quality lambs, 5969 fewer than last week, and 8450 sheep, 1838 more.

The NLRS said there was a fair number of well-finished new season lambs, along with good runs of old lambs. Merino lambs were well-supplied and mostly in good condition. All the regular buyers operated.

Trade weight lambs were $3-$5 dearer, with the 18-22kg new season lambs selling from $76-$118 to average 486c/kg cwt. The 18-22kg old lambs sold from $73-$114. Heavy weight lambs were $1-$3 dearer, with new season lambs over 22kg selling to $143. Old lambs weighing over 22kg sold from $115-$165. Merino lambs were $1-$3 dearer, with trade weights selling from $76-$116. Light weight lambs were $4 dearer, with the over 12kg 2 scores selling from $48-$85.

The much plainer quality yarding of mutton had more light weight sheep, although there were still some very heavy ewes. Plain condition ewes were close to firm, with solid support coming from the restockers. Most other grades though were $4-$5 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $26-$67, while the better 3 and 4 scores sold from $63-$105 for longer wool Merinos and $96 for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score wethers sold from $65-$104.

Lamb slightly cheaper in small Tamworth yarding

At Tamworth on Monday, agents yarded 2165 lambs, 15 more than last week, and 1150 sheep, 175 more.

The NLRS said young lambs made up just over half of the lamb yarding. The quality of the young lambs was generally good, though a fair variation in weights. There was less competition due to the absence of one buyer.

The reduced competition contributed to cheaper trends through the young lamb market, however the falls were not great. Local butcher orders helped to underpin the market. Old lambs sold to a cheaper trend too, although weights were also lower.

The mixed quality sheep varied in condition and sold cheaper. Some skin values also reduced.

Lamb quality mixed at Forbes

At Forbes on Tuesday, agents yarded 23,500 lambs, 9400 fewer than last week, and 9150 sheep, 3200 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was again mixed, with more lambs showing dryness and seed contamination. Most grades were represented in the 12,250 new season lambs. The usual buyers competed in a fairly firm market.

Light new season lambs held firm, selling from $900-$104. Trade weights were also firm, with prices ranging from $99-$117. Heavy and extra heavy lambs made $115-$133. New season Merino lambs sold from $88-$95. Carcase prices averaged 470c/kg-498c/kg. Old trade weight lambs sold from $80- $106. Heavies received from $102-$121 and extra heavies ranged from $115-$145, while Merino lambs sold from $71-$115.

Merinos made up most of the mutton increase. Quality was fair and prices held steady. Merino ewes sold from $72-$105 and crossbreds ranged from $73-$90. Merino wethers sold from $72-$99.

Extra exporter pushes early Bendigo lamb prices

In Victoria at Bendigo on Monday, agents yarded 21,899 most young lambs, 1306 more than last week, and 9012 sheep, 3652 fewer.

The NLRS said the quality of the lead runs of new season lambs was very good, with only odd pens of old season lambs. All the usual buyers operated. Bidding for lambs opened very strongly, due mainly to the influence of one major exporter and some of the early sales were considerably dearer. However, bidding faded as the auction progressed and prices for lambs sold later in the market were just similar to last week. Overall the market showed a dearer trend.

The top price for young lambs was $148, for a pen estimated at about 29kg and it was one of five sales of extra heavy pens over $140. The lead drafts of lambs weighing over 24kg cwt held their value to the greatest degree in the sale, with most making $130-$139 to average about 490c/kg- 495c/kg cwt. Trade weight lamb carcase weight prices ranged from about 440c/kg-520c/kg cwt. The best drafts of young lambs, 20-23kg cwt, generally sold from $105-$125.

Store lamb competition was very strong and prices for light weight lambs were dearer, gaining an average of $6.

Restockers from Ballarat, Shepparton, Birchip and the local Bendigo area paid $75-$96 for store lambs, averaging about $85.

There were some good lines of Merinos and heavy crossbred sheep. Buyers showed a preference for leaner trade and light sheep, which were firm to dearer in places, while the heaviest pens of score four and five ewes were cheaper. Extra heavy first-cross ewes sold to $96, with most sales from $70-$84. A stand-out pen of extra heavy Merino wethers topped at $108. The general run of trade weight sheep sold from $65-$84, or around 300c/kg-320c/kg cwt on the quality lines.

Agents said the Bendigo sales will be split from Monday, September 29, with lambs sold on Monday and sheep on Thursday at 9.30am.

New season lamb prices up $14 at Ballarat

At Ballarat on Tuesday, agents yarded 5977 lambs, 1155 more than last week, and 5064 sheep, 705 more.

The NLRS said quality improved with several runs of well-conditioned new season lambs offered. Old lambs made up around half the yarding. The better-conditioned lambs sold to a stronger trend while those that had lost some bloom were unchanged. Old lambs were mixed in quality and there weren’t many heavy weights on offer. Not all of the usual buyers operated in the dearer market.

New season lambs were up to $14 dearer on the lighter restocking lines and ranged from $60-$90. New season trade weights were $3-$6 dearer on average, with the medium and heavy trade weights making $83-$125 and averaging 480c/kg-510c/kg cwt. Old trade lambs gained $6, selling from $76-$111.50, while heavy lambs made to $126. Most averaged 450c/kg-470c/kg cwt.

Mutton quality was good. Light mutton sold very strongly from $54-$69.

Medium and heavy sheep gained $6, to sell from $68-$89. Most of the heavy weights ranged from $80-$100, with an odd sale to $114. Mutton averaged 300c/kg-350c/kg cwt.

Strong demand for lambs at Dublin

At the SA Livestock Exchange in Dublin on Monday, agents yarded 11,799 lambs, 429 more than last week, and 3734 sheep, 17 more.

The NLRS said crossbred, Merino and new seasons lambs made up most of the yarding. Demand from the usual trade and processor buyers was strong on the very good selection of trade and heavyweight lambs. Demand eased from restockers for light weight lambs suitable for feeders and restocking.

Lightweight, new season crossbreds to feeders eased $6, selling from $68-$84, while lightweight 3 scores remained unchanged and sold from $80-$87.

Lightweight 3 score lambs to trade buyers lifted $2 and made $80-$103, to average 468c/kg cwt, while light trade weight 4 scores lifted $3, to sell from $100-$112, or around 473c/kg cwt. Heavy trade weight 4 scores were up $4, making from $108-$130, to average 468cc/kg cwt, while heavyweights increased $8, returning from $124-$135, or 463c/kg-480c/kg cwt. New season Merinos were more plentiful, as lightweights sold to restockers from $39-$56, while those to processors made from $73-$85. Trade weights sold from $100-$112, to average 461c/kg cwt and one outstanding draft made $115.

Heavyweight old crossbreds attracted processor interest, lifting $11 and sold from $100-$121. Heavyweight Merino lambs sold from $94-$125.

The generally good quality sheep sold to easing processor demand, as restockers operated on ewes from $72-$80 and paid $71-$87 for full wool wethers.

Lightweight 2 score ewes eased $11, selling from $35-$60 and averaged 201c/kg cwt, while heavyweight 3 scores eased $12, to sell from $50-$77, or around 234c/kg cwt. Heavyweight wethers eased $3, making $68-$85 and averaged 266c/kg cwt, while heavyweight rams sold from $45-$80.

Trade weight lambs $5 dearer at Naracoorte

At Naracoorte on Tuesday, agents yarded 7682 lambs, 4326 more, and 3122 sheep, 1030 more than last week.

The NLRS said new season lamb quality was average, with the usual buyers operating in a generally dearer market. The trade weight lambs sold $5 better and the lighter lambs were firm to a few dollars easier. Large numbers of light new season young lambs were yarded and they sold to processors, while very active from local and Ballarat restockers paid $58-$70. The heavier lots made $78-$95. The best of the old lambs sold from $87-$107, with hoggets making $69-$85.

Light weight 1 and 2 score young lambs sold from $50-$78. Lighter trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $73-$98, with the heavier lots selling from $81-$114. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $102-$128, to average around 495c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 score lambs sold from $123-$130.

The increased sheep offering included several pens of heavy Merino and crossbred sheep, they sold to a dearer trend to be up $5 and more in places. The light and medium sheep sold generally firm on last week.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $36-$61. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $45-$77 and averaged around 290c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $60-$91, with rams of all weights selling from $10-$50.

Prices drop with quality at Muchea

In WA at Muchea on Tuesday, agents yarded 5133 lambs, 2015 more than last week, and 949 sheep, 931 more.

The NLRS said the quality of the 3500 new season lambs was not up to last week’s level, with more light weight and store lambs. Mutton quality decreased, with increased numbers of light weight ewes offered. All buyers operated, but prices dropped partially due to quality with most categories easier.

Prime new season lamb numbers were very limited, with many lambs in store condition. Light young lambs to processors and air freight orders made $50-$85, easing marginally, with the Merino portion from $50-$75. Trade weight young lambs made from $82-$109, with the majority $1-$ easier, at 440c/kg cwt. Old season lambs included light lambs between $45-$80, to be mostly equal and trade weights from $70-$99, also equal. Light and store young lambs sold to restockers for $30-$82, with Merino drafts from $30-$67.50.

Ewe prices were significantly cheaper, particularly the heavy weight drafts. Heavy and prime conditioned 3 and 4 score ewes made from $55-$90, or $55-$82 bare shorn, to average close to $79, back $9. Trade mutton sold between $46-$76, to be $5 easier, with very light mutton making from $30-$57, slightly easier than last week. Older Merino ewes to restockers made from $60-$83, with the heavier and longer wool drafts easier by up to $10.

Wether prices were slightly easier and reflected quality, as the better heavy drafts sold from $70-$95, with those to live export making $68-$83. Wethers suitable for restockers and feeders made from $50-$85, to be firm to $4 easier. Rams sales remained firm with better young drafts, including ram lambs to live export and processors making $60-$82. Rams to feeders made from $35-$65, with old rams to processors making $15-$55.

Numbers drop dramatically in northern Tasmania

At the Northern Tasmanian saleyards, agents yarded 460 lambs, 410 fewer than last week, and 180 sheep, 640 fewer.

The NLRS said the lamb and mutton numbers at Powranna and Killafaddy were the lowest in many months as the old lamb season comes to a close.

With fewer lambs, prices were generally fully firm to $5 dearer, but quality was mixed and prices did vary a lot. Light trade lambs made $88-$91, while trade weights sold from $93-$111 and heavy weights made from $107-$120.

The mutton market was similar with very light ewes making $14-$22 and medium weight ewes and wethers sold for $50-$80.

Source: MLA, NLRS.



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