LAMB and mutton prices held firm saleyards late last week as wet weather continued to reduce yardings in New South Wales.
Processors and butchers continued to pay around 600c/kg cwt for trade weight season lambs, with 18.1-24kg lambs at Corowa selling firm, from $126-$146.50, or 577-619c/kg.
After the last of Friday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted most Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb as firm to slightly lower.
The daily and weekly changes for the lamb ESDIs are: restocker 519c/kg, down 1 cent, up 25c for the week; Merinos 536c/kg, down 2c, no change; light 548c/kg, down 1c, up 5c; trade 593c/kg, no change, down 17c; heavy 592c/kg, down 1c, up 22c. The national trade lamb indicator is on 595c/kg, down one cent and the heavy indice is firm at 592c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton closed last week at 392c/kg, down one cent for the week and the national indice is similar at 391c/kg, down one cent.
AuctionsPlus offering increases with more store lambs
Sheep and lamb numbers lifted 6000 to 36,554 On AuctionsPlus last week. Market operations officer Anna Adams said more store lambs were offered online last week. Store lambs were still finding their feet price-wise for the season, with plenty of buyer interest and good clearance rates, she said.
An annual offering of quality Border Leicester/Merino ewes at Keith were the standout article of this week’s sheep sales with ewe lambs selling from $190-$192 and a small line of ewes scanned to White Suffolk making $170. Several lines of joined Dorper and White Dorper ewes made from $123 to $157.50.
Ewes with lambs are finding their way into the marketplace, Ms Adams said.
“Merino ewes with White Suffolk lambs sold from $158 to a top of $183 for four year old ewes with a big jacket in Victoria.”
Merino wether lamb prices were down on last week, ranging from $66.50-$73, to average $68.50, most with little wool on their back.
Light store crossbred lambs weighing 14-17kg lwt made $60-$68, 24kg second crosses made $87 and 28-31kg lambs sold from $83-$96.50. The heaviest line sold this week were 35kg second crosses in southern NSW that made $112.
Cowra new season lambs sell to $146.50
In New South Wales at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5650 lambs, 650 more than last week, and 670 sheep, 1200 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said numbers fell only slightly after considerable rain and snow in the area and quality was good across the new season and heavy grades. Mainly heavy weight lambs were penned, along with a handy supply of trade weights and 1300 new season lambs. All the buyers were operating and competition was solid on the new season and heavy old lambs resulting in a firm to dearer market.
New season trade weights sold firm, from $126-$146.50, from 577-619c/kg, or an average of 600c/kg cwt. Light old lambs sold to processors for an average of $107, up $1. Medium and heavy trade weights were firm, ranging from 575-600c/kg. Most of the better heavy trade weight lambs sold from $126-$132. Heavy weight lambs sold to strong competition and were $2-$10 dearer, or 560-575c/kg. A number of pens of extra heavy weights sold from $160-$190.
Mutton quality was good, with some larger drafts. Heavy cross bred ewes were $3 dearer and averaged $124.70, or 400c/kg cwt. Heavy Merino wethers averaged $140.40 or 369c/kg.
Griffith trade weights firm to $3 dearer
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 2664 lambs, 2536 fewer than last week, and 276 sheep, 2599 less.
The NLRS said numbers halved with widespread rain in the drawing area. Lamb quality was very mixed, with some well-finished lines offered along with the plainer types. The yarding was mostly heavy and extra heavy weight lambs. Most of the usual buyers competed in a dearer market.
Light lambs sold from $108-$120. Trade weights were firm to $3 dearer with prices ranging from $114-$142. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs regained all of last week’s drop lifting $8-$10. Heavy lambs sold from $144-$155, with extra heavies making $153-$195. Carcase prices ranged from 578-609c/kg. Merino ewes sold from $93-$110.
Plain Shepparton lambs reduce competition
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 956 lambs, 244 fewer than last week, and 600 sheep, 200 less.
The NLRS said the overall quality of the small winter yarding was very plain. Not all the usual buyers operated, but the lack of quality slaughter lambs was a factor in the reduced competition. The market did generally show a cheaper trend, but this was based on limited sales. One agent passed-in a few pens of lambs.
The market reached a top of $168 for a pen of six extra heavy Dorper wethers. Most of the lambs offered were plainer finished light weight types that sold from $60-$110, with odd pens of very small lambs down to $32. The few pens of better finished heavy trade weight lambs sold from $132-$157, with the best returning an estimated 570-588c/kg cwt. Only about a dozen pens of lambs sold for more than $120, reflecting the lack of weight and finish throughout the yarding. There were only a couple of small pen lots of extra heavy export lambs that sold to a top of $168, averaging less than 500c/kg cwt.
Sheep quality was also very mixed. The lead pens of extra heavy crossbred ewes sold from $110-$130 to be similar to recent markets. A big line of trade weight Merino ewes in a good skin sold from $112-$119 to match recent trends. Plainer and lighter ewes sold from $55-$88.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.