Lamb prices lift with good quality new season supplies

Terry Sim September 10, 2014

lambs saleyards loading 1Lamb prices increased across Australia in early sales this week as more well-finished new season lambs were turned off in all states, and old lamb numbers and quality dropped off.

Restockers were more active, especially at Bendigo, Dublin and Muchea, boosting light lamb prices. Mutton rates also started the week on a positive trend.

Meat and Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service said the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator closed on Tuesday at 490c/kg, up seven cents and the heavy lamb indicator was at 482c/kg, up four cents. The mutton indicator was at 337c/kg, up four cents.

Over-the-hook rates mostly firm

Over-the-hook rates across the country were mostly firm with the only changes coming for new season lamb weights under 24 kilograms to match the young lamb turn-off.

In New South Wales, the NLRS reported the average 2-4 score OTH rates were generally steady for lamb and mutton, with only a slight lift in under 24 kg prices. Lamb quotes included 18-22kg, 400c/kg; 22-24kg, 491c/kg; 24-26kg, 474c/kg; 26kg+, 487c/kg, and the 16-22kg Merinos at 390c/kg. The average 2-4 score mutton rates were 0-14kg, 247c/kg; 14-18kg, 279c/kg; 18-24kg, 313c/kg and 24kg+, 310c/kg.

In South Australia, the OTH lamb and mutton rates were unchanged, with lamb quotes for 18-26kg at 490c/kg; 26kg+, 460c/kg and 16-22kg Merinos, 450c/kg. Mutton rates were 14-18kg, 215c/kg and 18-24kg, 280c/kg.

In Victoria, the OTH lamb rates increased slightly for light and trade weights with heavy and Merino lamb quotes firm. Most mutton rates were unchanged. The average 2-4 score lamb rates were 16-22kg, 532-533c/kg; 22-26kg, 523c/kg, 26kg+, 495c/kg and 16-22kg Merinos, 420c/kg.

In Western Australia, OTH lamb rates were brought down, while sheep were unchanged. The average 2-4 score OTH lamb quotes were 16-18kg, 495c/kg, down 40c; 18-24kg, 553c/kg, down 23-27c; 26kg+, 527c/kg, down 48 and 16-22kg Merinos, 437c/kg, down 7. The sheep quotes were 14-18kg, 255c/kg and 18-24kg, 277c/kg.

In Tasmania, OTH lamb and mutton rates were unchanged. Lamb rates stayed at 0-16kgm 510c/kg; 16-18kg, 525c/kg; 18-26kg, 565c/kg and 26kg+, 560c/kg. Sheep were firm at 0-14kg, 340c/kg; 14-18kg, 350c/kg, 18-24kg, 365c/kg and 24kg+, 360c/kg.

Dubbo’s young trade and heavy lambs $4-$6 dearer

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, agents yarded 26,891 good quality lambs, 3061 more, and 7879 sheep, 1819 more.

The NLRS said there was a good mix of trade and heavy weight new season lambs. Old and Merino lambs were also well supplied. All the regular buyers were operating in a solid market.

Trade and heavy weight new season lambs were $4-$6 dearer. The 18-22kg 3 scores sold from $85-$120 to average 500c/kg cwt. Over 22kg 3 and 4 scores sold from $116-$128.

Trade weight old lambs were $11 dearer with 18-22kg 3 scores selling from $81-$120. Heavy weight lambs were $8-$10 dearer with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $122-$161 to average 490c/kg cwt. Merino lambs were $9-$12 dearer with over 18kg 3 and 4 scores selling from $77-$117. Lightweight lambs were $4-$7 dearer with 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $53-$81. The best hoggets sold for $110.

Most mutton grades were $4-$6 dearer in the principally good quality yarding. The 2 score ewes sold from $46-$71, while the 3 and 4 score medium and heavy weights sold from $75-$115 for Merinos and $102 for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score wethers sold from $80-$105. Longer wool Merino rams to processors sold to $99, while crossbred rams made to $61.

Tamworth mutton $5 dearer

In the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, agents yarded 2600 lambs, 600 more, and 1470 sheep, 470 more.

The NLRS said the yarding included about 1000 lambs that entered the annual lamb show and overall lamb quality was good.

Most of the young lambs sold to a dearer trend, with medium and heavy trade weights selling from $93-$133. Heavy young lambs made $132-$134. Old lamb quality was fair to good and these sold slightly easier. Medium and heavy trade lambs sold from $90-$116. Heavy old lambs made $110-$115.

Mutton quality was mixed and the best of the ewes sold $5 dearer in a range of $62-$82. The few pens of wethers sold to $80.

Forbes yards 12,000 new season lambs

In Forbes’ saleyards on Tuesday, agents yarded 31,550 lambs, 2500 more, and 7550 sheep, 500 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality improved slightly with more well-finished lambs. There were 12,000 new season lambs penned and the usual buyers were competed in a firm to dearer market.

Light weight new season lambs held firm, selling from $91-$101. Trade weights were firm to $4 dearer, making from $105-$124. Heavy lambs were also $4 dearer, from $118-$135. Carcase prices averaged from 470c/kg-506c/kg cwt.

Old lambs were $3-$4 dearer. Light lambs averaged $75/head, while trade weights sold from $90-$115. Heavy lambs made $106-$124, and extra heavy weight lines sold from $118-$155. Merino lambs made $78-$114.

The sheep were mostly fair quality Merinos and prices lifted $4. Merino ewes sold from $76-$114, while crossbreds made $82-$111. Dorper ewes ranged from $70-$106. Merino wethers sold from $76-$113.

Buyers favour sappy young lambs at Bendigo

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, agents yarded 20,185 lambs, 5124 more, and 9789 sheep, 2380 fewer.

The NLRS said all the regular buyers attended, although not all operated at full capacity. Lamb and sheep quality was very good, with more weight offered compared to the previous week. About 16,000 new season lambs were offered. Most of the young crossbred lambs were from Boort, Kerang, Echuca and the local Bendigo area, while there were also some big lines of Dorpers and first-cross lambs from southern New South Wales.

The NLRS said price averages for new season lambs were very similar to the previous week, although the market showed signs of more quality driven factors, with buyers favouring better conditioned young lambs over those displaying dryness in the skin. Bidding from buyers also tended to weaken as the sale progressed, and trade weight lambs were a few dollars cheaper.

New season lambs reached a top of $145 for a pen estimated to weigh 28kg, with just one of two sales over $140. Heavy young lambs, 24-26kg cwt, generally made from $130-$139. The bulk of the young lambs were trade weights which sold from $115-$128. Overall it was estimated that the best quality young lambs made 500c/kg-530c/kg cwt, while the plainer bred and drier skinned drafts averaged less at 460c/kg-490c/kg cwt.

Agents with store orders from Ballarat, Hamilton and Swan Hill paid $66-$87 for restocking lambs, helping a dearer trend for lightweight lambs weighing less than 18kg. Light lambs sold well in comparison to the heavier pens, often making similar prices to the better finished slaughter lines.

The sheep yarding featured some heavy Merino and crossbred sheep this week, most recently shorn with very little skin value. Prices were $5-$10 dearer, with extra heavy first-cross ewes selling from $87-$103.60, at about 260c/kg-270c/kg cwt. Heavy Merino ewes sold to $95 and wethers to $105. While there were odd sales to 350c/kg, most quality heavy and trade mutton ranged from 300c/kg-330c/kg cwt.

Lamb prices lift $10-$15 at Naracoorte

In South Australia at the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, agents yarded 2079 lambs, 1178 more, and 2450 sheep, 890 more.

Demand for lambs lifted and most prices were $5-$10 higher in the mixed quality penning that had more young lambs. Sheep were mainly $5-$8 dearer and sold to the usual buyers.

Light trade weight 2 and 3 score new season lambs made $83-$94 and averaged 480c/kg cwt. The 3 score medium to heavy trade weight new season lambs sold from $98-$119/head and averaged 500c/kg cwt. A pen of heavy 4 score export new season lambs made $125.

Light weight 2 score old lambs made $45-$64 to be $2-$3 easier. Light trade weight 2 and 3 score old lambs sold from $63-$78 to be $5 higher. Medium to heavy trade weight 3 score old lambs made $72-$98, with one pen at $101. Most averaged 420c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score old lambs sold from $100-$110 and averaged 430c/kg cwt.

A few wethers helped the average dressed weight cost for a run of 2 to 4 score sheep to be just over 300c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 score sheep sold from $42-$59, while medium weight 2 and 3 scores were from $57-$80. Heavy and extra heavy weight 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $75-$98.50, with a pen of extra heavy 5 score wethers at $116. Competition for rams was dull and prices dropped $12-$25 to make from $18-$34, with a small pen of Merinos at $42.

Processors stronger on new season lambs at Dublin

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, agents yarded 8390 lambs, 1668 fewer, and 2083 sheep, 978 less.

The NLRS said the mixed quality crossbred and Merino lambs sold to stronger competition from the usual trade and processor buyers. New season lambs made up the bulk of the yarding and some processors who have been quiet over recent weeks joined in with some strong bidding. Feeders and restockers were more prominent, lifting light weight lamb rates.

Light weight new season crossbreds sold to feeders at prices $7 higher than last week, making $60-$95. Lightweight 3 scores to trade buyers lifted $12 and sold from $100-$105, to average 496c/kg cwt. Trade weight 4 scores followed suit, up $12, selling from $107-$116 and averaged 491c/kg cwt, while heavyweights lifted $12-$17 and sold from $105-$138, to average 488c/kg cwt.

Lightweight new season Merino lambs sold to restockers for $64-$76, and lightweight 3 scores to trade buyers lifted $10, to $80-$95. Heavyweight old lambs attracted much stronger bidding. Crossbreds sold from $105-$121, while Merinos made $95-$117.

The NLRS said the sheep sold to stronger processor demand and restockers provided some competition. Restockers purchased lightweight ewes at $55 and wethers from $80-$83. Lightweight 2 score ewes lifted $10 and sold from $48-$68, while heavyweight 3 scores sold between $70-$89 and averaged 284c/kg cwt. Heavyweight wethers lifted $11, making from $84-$90, to average 291c/kg cwt. Heavyweight rams returned vendors from $40-$80/head.

Lamb prices hold firm at Muchea

In Western Australia at Muchea’s saleyards on Tuesday, agent yarded 3577 fair to good quality lambs, 1318 fewer, and 7556 sheep, 1083 more.

The NLRS said new season lambs were not quite up to last week’s weight, but quality was generally good. Old season lambs were generally plain and limited in weight and quality. The Merino lambs were mostly light weights, with lines suitable for feeders and restockers in short supply. All buyers were active in a firm market with limited price movement.

Well-finished new seasons lambs remained firm, with trade lambs over 18kg cwt, selling from $90-$120, or about 479c/kg cwt. Merino drafts made to 96.50. Old lambs were generally of plain quality and lacked weight, with trade weight drafts making from $70-$83, slightly easier in price due to plainer quality.

Light processor and air freight lambs, 13-18kg cwt, included new seasons drafts made from $57-$95, up marginally due to restocker interest. The old season lambs in this category made $56-$78, with Merino drafts making $46-$81, firm on the last sale. Restocking lambs were well supported, to be $2 dearer, with prices of $40-$61. Merino drafts were marginally dearer, making $35-$61.

In the mutton yarding, ewe weight and quality was good, but not quite up to last week’s standards. Limited numbers of export weight wethers were presented. Ewe values remained firm, with heavy weight ewes, in excess of 24kg cwt, making $74-$101.50. Two score ewes to processors made from $41-$80, with the better 3 score drafts making between $64-$89, both firm on last week.

Heavy crossbred ewes made $70-$97.50. Merino ewes to restockers sold at similar prices to last week, with ewe hoggets making $64-$89 and mature ewes to restockers $50-$93.50.

Wether rates were firm, with heavy drafts to processors making $80-$96, and those to live export selling from $71-$85.

Wethers going onto feed and to restockers made $58-$81. Ram lambs made to $80, with young drafts to live export and feeders making $53-$85.50, depending on wool length. Better old rams to processors made $40-$55.

Source: MLA, NLRS



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