LAMB prices climbed again mid-week as new forward contracts into 2016 started to impact on saleyard rates and restockers became more active.
Coles is offering up to 560-570c/kg for 18-25kg crossbred lambs for December-January delivery delivered to Brooklyn or Gundagai, with a 50 percent upside, according to agents.
TFI has released contracts for up to 540c/kg for 16-34kg crossbred lambs into mid-January at its NSW and SA plants, with a 50pc upside. Woolworths’ lamb contract into January next year is up to 550c/kg for 20-24kg lambs, with a 50pc upside.
The forward contracts are encouraging more producers with feed to shear and hold lambs for later sale, and also boosting restocker and feeder confidence. But many producers are only committing some of their lambs to contracts, hoping for higher saleyard prices this summer.
“Lambs are worth $150 again,” one agent said.
NLRS indicators lift
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted all Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs and mutton as higher.
The ESDIs for lamb are: restocker 553c/kg, up 2 cents; Merino 445c/kg, up 12c; light 474c/kg, up 3c; trade 506c/kg, up 7c; heavy 490c/kg, up 1c. The national trade lamb indicator closed up 7 cents to 505c/kg and the heavy indice is at 489c/kg, 2 cents higher.
The ESDI for mutton closed 3 cents higher on 302c/kg and the national indicator is at 299c/k, also up 3 cents.
Cootamundra new season lambs $8 dearer
In New South Wales at the Cootamundra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9096 lambs, 2796 more than last week, and 6000 sheep, 2000 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was good over most of the yarding. About 4700 new season lambs were offered, comprising a large percentage of medium and heavy trade weights. More lighter lambs returned to the paddock from the sale. Only a handful of shorn new season lambs were penned. Not all the usual buyers operated in the dearer market.
New season store and light trade weight lambs sold $8 dearer. Restockers paid from $72-$105. Trade weights were $2 dearer, with the medium and heavy trade weights ranging from $105-$122. Heavy lambs made $122-$133, with at 490-515c/kg cwt.
Old lambs were $5- $7 dearer on the heavy run. Old trade weights sold from $85-$100, with the best of the heavy weights reaching $133. Merino trade weights sold from $100-$120, averaging 460c/kg.
Mutton quality was fair to good. Prices gained $6-$8. Medium weight ewes sold from $57 to up to $93 for Merinos with a big skin. Heavy wethers reached $95. Most made 290-320c/kg cwt.
Carcoar’s trade lambs $3-$5 dearer
At the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8050 lambs, 1350 more than last week, and 2900 sheep, 400 fewer.
The NLRS said the limited numbers of new season lambs showing better condition, but most showed signs of dryness. Mainly trade and heavy weights were penned, along with plenty of store lambs suitable for the restockers. The old grades were reduced in supply and all the buyers were present but not all operated in a firm to dearer market.
Store lambs were $8 dearer at $85-$102. Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs were $3-$5 dearer at 510-520c/kg cwt. Most of the better heavy trade weights sold from $115-$122.
Heavy weight new season lambs were firm to $5 better at 480-500c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weights sold from $140-$156.60. Old heavy trade lambs were around firm at $118-$129, or 470-490c/kg.
Sheep quality was generally good. Medium weight Merino wethers were around firm and averaged $65 or 265c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score first cross ewes sold up to $10 dearer and averaged $87 or 256c/kg.
Wagga’s secondary lambs sell to strong demand
At the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thur4sday, the agents yarded 25,000 lambs, 2000 fewer than last week, and 10,000 sheep.
The NLRS said lamb quality was quite good in the mostly new season offering. The usual processors attended, but not all major domestic buyers operated. There were more well-bred store lambs and restockers were active over all weights. Store orders were from Albury, Corowa Cootamundra, Forbes, Goulburn and the local area. New season trade lambs were in reasonable supply and sold to very erratic competition across all trade weight categories.
Well-finished medium and heavy trade lambs made from $116-$139 to average 518c/kg cwt. Light trade lambs weighing 18-20kg averaged $115.10. Heavy and extra heavy export lambs were in shorter supply, making from $134-$152 to average 502c/kg.
Secondary lambs sold to stronger demand from a large field of store buyers. Well-bred second cross lambs returned to the paddock at $96-$108. Plainer immature types averaged $61.40. Old lamb quality was very mixed with the better presented pens making $82-$125.
Sheep quality was fair to good. Merino trade sheep prices improved $3-$12 to $69-$96, to average 296c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes were well-supplied and prices lifted $9-$12, to average 275c/kg cwt. Light sheep were keenly sought at $26-$66.
Horsham lambs $10 dearer
In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 12,790 lambs, 2588 more than last week, and 2716 sheep, 263 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was good. Reasonable numbers of well-presented trade weight and heavy lambs were penned for the usual buyers in a dearer market. Heavy lambs reached a top of $142. More lambs from southern areas were penned, displaying good finish and, on quality, lambs generally sold to $10 up on last week.
Restockers were again active on the large number of lighter weight lambs penned and they paid mostly from $72.50-$99 and from $20-$65 for lighter lots. Most restocker lambs were also dearer. Old lamb numbers were limited and they sold to $86.
Sheep quality was good, with all weights and grades offered. Sheep sold to strong demand to be to $10 up on last week. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $81-$91. Light trade 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $89-$118 and averaged around 520c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $109-$126, with the heavier lots selling from $125-$137.50, or 480-530c/kg to average around 510c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $138-$142.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $43-$65. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $48.50-$88, or 210-340c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 320c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $62-$89.50. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $79.50-$90 and medium weights from $76-$78 or around 300c/kg.
Hamilton’s new season lambs $5-$10 dearer
At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1777 lambs, 859 more than last week, and 1868 sheep, 911 more.
The NLRS said new season lambs made up 40 percent of the yarding. Some good quality Merino wethers and heavy crossbred ewes were also offered in the overall mixed quality sale. A small group of the regular buyers attended, but two more processors competed in the stronger sale.
New season lambs were $5-$10 dearer, old lambs remained firm. There was minimal restocker activity and the trade purchased Merino lambs from $40-$68. Light new season trade 2 score lambs sold from $80-$92, averaging 480c/kg. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 scores made $98-$120, with the top pen of lambs selling for $125 at 490-500c/kg cwt. The better old lambs were in limited supply and sold from $65-$87 or for an estimated 355c/kg cwt.
Medium trade sheep sold $5 dearer and heavier crossbred ewes were $10 stronger, with some pens up to $14 dearer. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $37-$45. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $53-$66. Heavier crossbred 3 and 4 scores ewe made $65-$80 to average 230c/kg cwt. The best Merino 3 score wethers sold from $72-$89, averaging close to 270c/kg. The better conditioned rams of all breeds sold from $38-$72.
Ouyen lambs firm to $5 dearer
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 3557 new season lambs, 1620 old lambs and 2726 sheep.
There was strong competition for slaughter lambs and these sold firm to $5 dearer. Sheep sold $5-$8 dearer.
Crossbred export weight new season lambs sold form $107-$130 and trade weights made $74-$115, or 410-480c/kg cwt.
Light Merino lambs sold from $48-$68, and heavy lambs made $80-$89. Light sheep sold from $45-$68.60, or 300-330c/kg, and heavy lines made $73-$89, or 270-290c/kg.
Mt Gambier’s first new season lambs sell to $145
In South Australia at the Mt Gambier saleyards, the agents yarded 4948 lambs and 342 sheep.
The NLRS said some excellent quality lines were yarded for Mt Gambier’s first sale of new season lambs. A small field of trade and processor buyers was active.
Lightweight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $90-$106. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $97-$121, or an average of 480c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs made $124-$135, with export weighted lambs selling to $145.
Hoggets sold to $81 with lightweight ewes to $54. Medium weight ewes made $70 and heavy types ranged from $61-$68.
Katanning yarding dominated by Merino ewes
In Western Australian at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8000 lambs, 3010 more than last week, and 12,535 sheep, 535 more.
The NLRS said it was a mixed quality yarding. All the usual buyers attended.
Trade weight new season lambs sold from $70-$96. The light weights made from $50-$55 and very light weights sold from $20-$30. Store crossbred lambs to restockers and feeders made from $27-$96, depending on weight. Merino store lambs sold for $20-$88. Older crossbred trade weight lambs made $61-$67.
Merino ewes dominated the yarding and prices were equal on quality. Wethers were in demand and sold to $113. Young Merino ewes sold to restockers for $25 and light weights with a fleece sold to $65. . Ewe prices remained firm with strong grazier competition. Light ewes sold for $15-$51. Bare shorn slaughter ewes sold from $22, up to $56 for those with a 75mm fleece. The better 3 score bare shorn sheep sold from $45, up to $80 for those with a fleece.
The best store wethers in full wool sold to $113. Restockers and feeders paid $61-$113 for wethers depending on quality and weight. Prime young rams sold to $65 and older rams made $5-$30.
Warwick lambs firm to cheaper
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2196 lambs and hoggets, and 540 sheep.
The lamb market was firm to a shade cheaper and the mutton market remained firm. The top-priced lambs weighing 60.6kg lwt sold for $133 for P.E. and J.A. Wheeler of ‘Rosebud’, Texas.
Crossbred lambs 46-55kg lwt sold from $118-$127, 42-45kg lambs made $110-$119, 36-42kg lambs sold from $104-$117, 35-40kg lambs ranged from $92-$99 and 60.6kg lambs sold for $133.
Shorn crossbred hoggets weighing 56.5kg lwt sold to $84. Trade wethers with $14 skins sold to $94 or 340c/kg cwt and light wethers with $10 skins made $59 or 250c/kg.
Heavy crossbred ewes with $3 skins sold to $87 or 330c/kg and light lines with $3 skins made $35 or 210c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.