RISING slaughter lamb prices seemed to hesitate late last week, with pressure easing on trade and heavy lamb rates at the Cowra and Griffith markets in New South Wales.
With the Griffith agents yarding 12,900 fair quality lambs — 60 percent more than the previous week — the National Livestock Reporting Service reported trade lamb rates lifting $3-$6, but heavy and extra heavy lamb prices were firm to easier.
At Cowra, medium and heavy trade weights were firm to $2 easier, heavy weight lambs were $4 cheaper and extra heavy lamb prices were also slightly lower.
After Friday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were unchanged to lower, though all categories posted net gains for the week. The ESDIs for lamb, their daily and weekly changes were: restocker 619c/kg, down 7 cents daily, up 334c for the week; Merino 566c/kg, no change, up 17c; light 588c/kg, no change, up 11c; trade 593c /kg, no change, up 5c; heavy 602c/kg, down 1c, up 6c. The national trade lamb indicator lost 1 cent to 591c/kg on Friday and the heavy lamb indicator dropped 2 cents to 602c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton rose 2 cents to 387c/kg on Friday, capping off a 5-cent rise for the week. The national mutton indicator lifted 1 cent to 386c/kg.
Processor activity increasing online
Online trading platform AuctionsPlus said sheep and lamb numbers dropped 2317 to 41,378 head last week. Processor activity in online sales has increased and a clearance rate of 82 percent was achieved last week due to tightening supply, recent rainfall and increased competition from restockers and processors.
A processor paid $115, or 553c/kg cwt including skin value, for 610 late March shorn August-September drop Dohne wether lambs at Walgett, NSW, that weighed 20.8kg cwt and were mostly score 2. A line of 550 September-October drop unshorn Merino wethers, 13.3kg cwt and mostly score, made $82 or 616c/kg cwt including skin value, at O’Connell, NSW. At Broken Hill, NSW, 700 June-August drop late April shorn Merino wether lambs, weighing 15.2kg cwt, sold for $82, or 539c/kg cwt including skin value.
Young Merino ewes averaged $159 and sold to $173 for 250 early March shorn two-year-old Lewisdale and Eastville Park blood ewes, weighing 50.8kg and mostly score 4, scanned 114 percent in lamb to White Suffolk rams, at Mystic Park, Victoria. A line of 360 21-22 month old early May shorn Mullengudery blood ewes, weighing 47.3kg and mostly score 3, and scanned 100pc in lamb to Border Leicester rams at Nyngan, NSW, sold for $150.50.
Mixed aged Merino ewes averaged $127.50 and sold to $167.50 for 400 2-6 year-old late March shorn Stud Park South blood ewes, weighing 65.7kg and score 3, and scanned 200pc in lamb to Poll Dorset rams, at Willaura, Victoria. Older ewes averaged $109 and made to $161 for 5.5–6 year-old ewes, weighing 65kg and scanned in lamb to White Suffolk rams at Torrumbarry, Victoria.
Merino wether lamb numbers and prices increased on AuctionsPlus last week. Prices ranged from $49-$91, averaging $76. The top price for Merino wether lambs was $91 for 650 July-August drop mid-April shorn wethers at Gravesend, NSW. The Langdene blood lambs weighed 16.5kg cwt and were mostly score 2. Merino wether hoggets averaged $82.5 and sold to $111 for a line of 600 22-23 month-old mid-November shorn Toland and Bindawarra blood wethers at Bonnie Doon, Victoria. They weighed 18.8kg cwt and were mostly score 1.
Grown Merino wethers sold to $109 to a line of 576 4-6 year-old mid-August shorn Walwa blood wethers at Bredalbane, NSW. They weighed 52.3kg and were mostly score 2.
First cross ewe prices favour high scanners
There was a large offering of first cross ewe lambs on AuctionsPlus last week that sold from $105.50-$169 and averaged $135. The top price was paid for 180 late October shorn 10-month-old line ewes weighing 43.8kg lwt at Kyeamba, NSW. First cross ewe hoggets averaged $217 and sold to $253 for 241 20-21 month old mid-March shorn ewes at Hamilton, Victoria. They weighed 60.6kg lwt, were mostly score 3 and scanned 135pc in lamb to Poll Dorset rams. A line of 165 early October shorn 18-23 month old ewes, 60kg lwt and mostly score 2, and scanned 175pc in lamb to Poll Dorset rams, sold for $215 at Canowindra, NSW.
Proven first cross breeders made to $211.50 for 195 mid-May shorn 3-4 year olds, 72.4kg lwt and mostly score 4, and scanned 165pc in lamb to Poll Dorset rams, at Willaura, Victoria.
A line of 180 11-12 month-old early November shorn composite ewes, 54.7kg lwt and mostly score 3, and scanned 100pc in lamb to Suffolk and White Suffolk rams, made $225.50 at Bordertown, South Australia. At Baufort in Victoria, 250 2.5 year-old late-November shorn Corriedale ewes, 53.4lg lwt and mostly score 3, and scanned 100pc in lamb to White Suffolk rams, sold for $155.
Ewes with lambs averaged $128 and sold to $172 for 136 4-5 year-old early May-shorn Dohne- Merino ewes with 146 2-8 week-old White Suffolk lambs at Stawell in Victoria. The ewes weighed 54.8kg lwt and were mostly score 2.
Store lambs weighing 30-35kg lwt made $79-$110.50 to average $95.50 or 303c/kg lwt, including skin value. The 36-40kg lambs sold for $110.50-$121, averaging $114 or 302c/kg. Heavy lambs over 40kg lwt sold from $104.50-$120 to average $108 or 249c/kg.
Griffith trade lambs $3-$6 dearer
In New South Wales at the Griffith saleyards last Friday, the agents yarded 12,900 lambs, 7600 more than last week, and 2800 sheep, 1700 more.
The NLRS said sheep and lamb numbers almost doubled despite the cold and wet conditions. Lamb quality was fair though reduced slightly from the previous sales. Most lambs were heavy and extra heavy weights. Most of the usual buyers competed in the firm to dearer market.
Light lambs lifted $5 to $108-$121. Trade weights were $3-$6 dearer at $120-$149. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were firm to slightly easier, reflecting their quality. Heavy lambs sold from $144-$160 and extra heavy weights made $151-$226. Carcase prices ranged from 598-610c/kg. Trade weight Merino lambs sold from $110-$147.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was mixed. Prices were very strong, lifting $12-$15. Merino ewes sold from $82-$178. Crossbred ewes sold from $94-$179 and Dorper ewes made $89-$140.
Cowra’s heavy lambs $4 cheaper
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 4480 lambs, 870 fewer than last week, and 920 sheep, 5 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was back a little. The supplementary-fed lambs and most trade weight lambs were well-presented, but there were some plainer lines. Mainly trade weights were yarded, plus a handy run of heavy lambs. There was slightly more store lambs. All the usual buyers attended, except one. Competition was mostly solid, with most grades firm to only slightly cheaper.
Stores held generally firm and averaged $109 for the better sized lambs. Medium and heavy trade weights were firm to $2 easier and averaged around 580c/kg. The heavier trade weights sold from $125-$139. Heavy weight lambs were $4 cheaper and averaged 580c/kg cwt at $144-$154. Extra heavy weight lambs were slightly cheaper and averaged 580-600c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $195-$211.50.
Sheep quality was very mixed. Medium Merino ewes were $5 cheaper and averaged $84, or 315c/kg. Heavy first cross ewes were $10 dearer and averaged $123.60, or 381c/kg. Heavy wethers sold to $127.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.