Domestic Lamb

Lamb prices lift as buyers vie for limited new season drafts

Terry Sim September 5, 2014
Luke Atton, Ouyen, Landmark livestock manager

Landmark Ouyen livestock manager Luke Atton with Underbool producers’ A. and J. Stone’s $130 suckers.

Lamb prices rebounded in New South Wales mid-week as buyers bid more keenly for quality new season drafts from a few saleyards.

With fewer lambs on offer at CTLX-Carcoar and at Wagga, only 800 at Goulburn, and the new season turn-off barely starting in Victoria, eastern states buyers had limited opportunities to secure supplies after clearing lambs around them.

Saleyards at Wagga and Carcoar, and to a lesser extent, at Horsham and Ouyen in Victoria, were the places buyers to go to secure new season lambs in the east mid-week.

In Western Australia, lamb prices were brought back in reaction to new season over-the-hook prices around 500c/kg.

Trade lamb indicator up 15 cents

By Thursday night, Meat and Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service put the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator at 472c/kg, up 15 cents, and the heavy lamb indicator at 465c/kg, up 16 cents. The mutton indicator ended at 326c/kg, down one cent.

NLRS said most New South Wales contributors to its over-the-hooks table are quoting young lamb rates around 510c/kg-520c/kg cwt and old lamb quotes were generally falling, as are mutton rates.

New season trade weight lambs lift $7-$15 at Carcoar

In New South Wales at the CTLX at Carcoar on Wednesday agents yarded 2530 better quality lambs, 785 fewer, and 1385 sheep, 315 less.

The NLRS said nearly 1000 new season lambs were offered, mostly trade and heavy lambs. Not all the usual buyers operated in a market that improved.

Prices lifted $7-$15 on most trade weights. New season trade lambs ranged from $101-$120 for the medium and heavy trade weights. Heavy weights made $118-$128 and extra heavy new season lambs reached $137. Most averaged from 480c/kg-490c/kg cwt. Old medium and heavy trade weights made $88-$111.

Heavy old lambs made from $111-$120 and extra heavy lambs sold to $139, with most around 460c/kg cwt.

Sheep sold $15-$20 dearer with medium weights making $60-$86 and heavy weights from $80-$97, averaging 310c/kg-330c/kg cwt.

Lamb prices up $5, mutton $4-$7 dearer at Goulburn

At Goulburn on Wednesday, agents yarded 800 lambs, 100 more, and 400 sheep, up 100.

The NLRS said the mixed quality winter yarding included a few new season lambs in an otherwise mixed selection of plainer conditioned light and trade weight old lambs.

A few extra butcher orders and regular processor demand lifted most lamb prices by around $5. Trade weight new season lots made $101-$110 to average 470c/kg-500c/kg cwt. Light 16-18kg old lambs to processors ranged from $73-$87, while trade weights made $86-$108. A few heavy lambs reached $118, for most slaughter lots to average 430c/kg-465c/kg cwt.

Mutton averaged $4-$7 dearer. Light weight 1 score ewes made $30-$45, with medium and heavy weights from $68-$90 for ewes to average 300c/kg-330c/kg cwt. A handy run of Merino wethers ranged from $66-$101 for medium and heavy weights, returning 310c/kg-350c/kg cwt.

Keener buyers pay $15-$21 for fewer Wagga lambs

At Wagga on Thursday, agents yarded 23,550 lambs, 5250 fewer and 11,600 sheep, 3100 more.

The NLRS said 13,720 excellent quality new season lambs were penned, with more above 22kg cwt. Old lambs were well supplied and quality improved, with more outstanding extra heavy lambs over 30kg cwt. The NLRS said the full turnout of domestic and export buyers were eager due to the limited supply.

Light and medium new season trade lambs sold to stronger demand with prices $15-$18 higher. Light and medium trade lambs sold from $96-$125 averaging 500c/kg cwt. The better-finished heavy trade lambs 22kg to 24kg made from $120-$131, averaging 494c/kg cwt. The extra heavy lambs sold to stronger demand, lifting $16 to average 451c/kg cwt.

The NLRS said old lamb quality was quite good with increased supplies of well-finished shorter skin lambs. The majority of well-finished medium and heavy old lambs made from $81-$118 with heavy trade lambs averaging 445c/kg cwt. A single pen of heavy Merino lambs estimated to weigh 24kg cwt sold to a top price $114 with the medium trade weights averaging 387c/kg cwt.

The excellent selection of heavy and extra heavy old lambs sold up to $21 higher. Well-finished extra heavy lambs made from $125-$160 with a single pen at 38kg cwt making $170.

Mutton quality was excellent with heavy ewes and Merino wethers making up the majority of the offering. Northern buyers operating on the heavy wethers resulted in a dearer trend of $8-$12 with the better heavy drafts making $110-$130 or 330c/kg-369c/kg cwt. Heavy longer wool ewes were keenly sought by northern buyers and they made $76-$120. The limited numbers of medium weight sheep sold generally unchanged to a few dollars dearer.

Fletcher International order on heavy suckers

Landmark Wagga agent Jarrod Slattery said major processors didn’t need as many lambs last week, but were back in buying this week, having cleared kill space.

“We had a day (Thursday) when all major processors needed a few.

“Wagga had the worst of it last week.”

Mr Slattery said Fletcher International also had an impact on the market, buying 25-26kg suckers for $130-$140 and securing a lot of sheep.

Sheep $5-$8 cheaper at Hamilton

In Victoria on Wednesday at Hamilton, agents yarded 1464 lambs, 341 more, and 1207 lambs, 234 fewer, for a small following of buyers.

The NLRS said the quality of old lambs was plain to average, with just the odd pens of good quality still available. No young lambs came forward. Sheep were more mixed this week, with heavy to extra heavy weights not as dominant. Prices for lambs varied around the lower levels of last week but sheep averaged $5-$8 cheaper.

Light weight 2 score old lambs sold from $54-$65, while light trade weight 2 and 3 scores made $64-$74. Medium to heavy trade weight 3 score old lambs made $68-$90, with an isolated pen out to $102, and all up they averaged 370c/kg cwt. The heavy 3 and 4 score old lambs sold for $84-$92, with a top pen at $106, also around 370c/kg cwt.

The NLRS said a run of 2 to 4 score sheep sold at an estimated 280c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $30-$56, while medium weight 2 and 3 scores made $58-$68. The heavy to extra heavy weight 3 to 5 score sheep made $70-$90 and a pen of extra heavy 5 score ewes topped at $95. The few rams made $20-$32.

Horsham lambs dearer as more new season drafts yarded

At Horsham on Wednesday, agents yarded 4888 generally good quality lambs, 2367 more, including 3800 new season lambs, and 3943 sheep, 297 more.

The NLRS said most of the regular buying group operated keenly in a firm to dearer market.

Heavy new season lambs sold from $125-$134 or around 480c/kg cwt. Old lambs sold to a dearer trend, with medium weights making $80-$114.50 and heavy weights ranging from $108-$123. Restockers paid $76-$80 for young lambs.

Light weight 1 and 2 score young lambs sold from $75-$83. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $84-$106. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $103-$116 and heavier weights made $115-$129, or from 460c/kg-510c/kg cwt to average around 490c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $125-$134 to average around 480c/kg cwt. Merino lambs sold to $94.

Most sheep sold to steady competition to be from firm to a few dollars dearer. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $38-$65 and the very light 1 scores to $38. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $60-$86.50 and ranged from 290c/kg-360c/kg to average around 310c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $70-$93, the heavy Merino wethers made $77-$89.50, and the medium weights $58-$80, at around 310c/kg-320c/kg cwt.

Ouyen lambs sell $2-$10 dearer

At Ouyen on Thursday, agents yarded 4925 lambs and 1903 sheep. The two pens of new season lambs sold to a top price of $131.60. Trade weights sold well, reaching up to 500c/kg cwt.

The Ouyen Livestock Exchange said lamb prices followed market trends to be $2-$10 dearer. Better quality mutton sold $5-$8 dearer.

New season lamb quotes were: export $120-$131.60, 460c/kg-480c/kg cwt; trade $92-$125, 480c/kg-510c/kg cwt; stores $80-$96.

The heavy mutton sold from $71.60-$92 or 300c/kg-330c/kg cwt and the light sheep made $26-$58 or 300c/kg-330c/kg cwt.

Lambs cheaper at Katanning

In Western Australia at Katanning on Wednesday, agents yarded 6127 lambs, 2830 more, and 7120 sheep, 2841 more.

The NLRS said there was a reasonable selection of new season lambs yarded, along with lightweight Merino lambs and hoggets. Well-finished old lambs were in limited supply. All the regular buyers were active.

The lighter trade weight new season lambs, 18-20kg were $2-$4 cheaper, while the heavier weights over 20kg were up to $12 cheaper. Over 18kg trade weight new season lambs sold from $77-$115, to average 485c/kg cwt.

The few trade weight old lambs penned were $7-$9 cheaper, with the over 18kg old lambs selling from $73-$93.

Trade weight Merinos sold from $70-$93. Lighter weight lambs to suit the air freight market were $6-$9 cheaper. The 12-18kg 2 score new season lambs sold from $55-$77, while the same description for old lambs made $50-$78. Merino lambs suiting the air freight market sold from $50- $70.50. Lambs to the restockers were firm to $4 dearer, with a couple of new buyers operating in the market. Crossbred lambs to the restockers sold from $35-$71, while Merino lambs to the restockers sold from $20-$75.50.

The NLRS said mutton quality was not quite as good, though there were some good lines of well-finished ewes. Much of the mutton penned were plain conditioned ewes suitable for the boning rooms and restockers. Wethers were in limited supply.

The plainer conditioned ewes were $2-$4 cheaper, with 2 score Merino ewes to the processors selling from $42-$77.40. Restockers paid $44-$88 for ewes to go back to the paddock. Medium weight trade ewes were $5 cheaper, selling from $65-$85, while prime conditioned heavy weight ewes fell $6 and sold from $82-$95.50. Heavy weight crossbred ewes made $72-$90. Limited numbers of wethers sold at similar prices, with the medium and heavy weight Merinos to the processors making $72-$95. Restockers were active on suitable lines of wethers and paid from $25-$78. The live exporters were also more active this week and paid from $69-$85 for wethers. The ram market was similar, with processors paying to $45 for Merinos and to $15 for crossbreds.

Elders Katanning agent Russell Mackay said butchers have started operating at the new season hook prices around 500c/kg. Despite the cheaper prices quoted for mutton this week, he said but very light boning ewes sold very strongly. The lack of lambs for restockers will be a problem in the future, with lambs over 12 kg dressed now going to slaughter, he said.

Source: MLA, NLRS.


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