Lamb prices slump nationally as more lambs with weight come in

Sheep Central November 9, 2016
These 5-5 month-old Merino lambs, 17.6kg and mostly score 1, sold for $123 at Concongella in north-west Victoria on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

These 5-7 month-old Merino lambs, 17.6kg and mostly score 1, sold for $123 at Concongella in north-west Victoria on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

LAMB prices opened firm to dearer in the Dubbo saleyards this week, but generally fell in other centres as more and heavier lambs came into Victorian and South Australia saleyards.

The National Livestock Reporting Service reported processor buyers in some Victorian centres not bidding and more lambs are also reportedly going over the hooks after processors adjusted spot grid prices to compete with saleyard rates and attract direct consignments.

More heavy new season lambs over 24kg cwt are now coming into saleyards. At Bendigo on Monday, they bore the brunt of the price correction and trended below 500c/kg, with skins valued at $9-$10. Extra heavy lambs at Bendigo reached 28kg cwt, with prices for pens over 26kg cwt falling by up to $15.

Heavy lambs also sold up to $12 cheaper at the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin, were $10 easier at Corowa, $9-$15 easier in Tasmania and were cheaper at most other centres.

The NLRS this week also reported the lowering of over-the-hook rates in South Australia and Victoria, while they were kept firm in New South Wales.

After yesterday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 603c/kg, down 15 cents; Merino 515c/kg, down 26c; light 563c/kg, down 8c; trade 533c/kg, down 13c; heavy 517c/kg, down 16c. The national trade lamb indicator fell 17 cents to 529c/kg on Tuesday and the heavy indice dropped 18 cents to 514c/kg.

The ESDI for mutton rose 3 cents on Tuesday to 365c/kg and the national mutton indictor closed 2 cents higher at 362c/kg.

Dubbo’s trade lambs lift $2-$4

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 21,640 lambs, 3165 more than last week, and 8730 sheep, 3100 more.

The NLRS said it was a very mixed yarding with a pretty good selection of trade weight new season lambs along with odd pens of heavy weights. Dorper, Damara and Merino lambs, and hoggets were well-supplied.

Light weight lambs sold $5 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $70-$106. Trade lambs were $2-$4 dearer, with new season lambs making $102-$140, to average 570c/kg cwt. Trade weight old lambs were $5 dearer at $90-$138.

Heavy weight lambs were $3-$6 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 score old lambs making $135-$177.50. The few heavy weight new season lambs sold to $165. Merino lambs were $2-$5 dearer, with the trade weight Merinos selling from $104-$138. A pen of heavy Merino lambs sold for $150. Restockers paid to $117 and hoggets sold to $119.

Most grades were represented in the mixed sheep yarding. The light and medium weight sheep were $2-$5 cheaper and the heavy lines sold firm to a little dearer, mainly due to quality. The 2 score ewes sold from $45-$79. The better 3 and 4 score full wool Merinos made $71-$117 and crossbreds sold to $107. The restockers paid to $118 for full wool Merino ewes. Full wool Merino wethers sold to $128.

Corowa new season trade lambs $10 cheaper

In the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 11,500 lambs, 200 fewer than last week, and 4700 sheep, 700 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality continued to improve, with mostly trade and heavy weight new season lambs offered. More lambs are now expected to be shorn as they are becoming dry in the wool and seed may become an issue. All the usual buyers attended, but not all operating fully in the fluctuating market.

New season trade lambs sold up to $10 cheaper. Light trade weight lambs sold from $113-$128, medium trades made $116-$137 and the heavy trade lambs sold for $124-$148, to average 536c/kg. Heavy lambs sold from $146-$155 and extra heavy lambs made $148-$166. Old lambs, 23kg-plus, were $10 cheaper at $124-$135.

It was a good quality offering of mostly heavy mutton sheep and prices improved $5. Heavy crossbred ewes made to $117. Merino ewes were $10-$15 dearer and made to $120 for an excellent pen of full wool ewes. Wethers sold to $116 and hoggets made to $110.

Tamworth trade lambs $2-$4 cheaper

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3500 lambs, 600 more than last week, and 1500 sheep, 450 more.

The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was generally good, with new season and old trade and heavy lambs well-represented. Restockers were well catered for with quite a few plainer condition young lambs available. There was extra competition for trade lambs with the re-introduction of a buyer after a long absence.

The extra competition did little help the trade lamb market, with the trend being $2-$4 cheaper. Demand was weaker in the face of larger supplies being presented across the eastern states. Prices for trade weight old lambs changed little despite the slightly improved quality penning. Heavy young lambs sold on a firm to slightly cheaper market trend. The heavy old lambs followed a similar trend; however, there was also some quality-related price change.

The mixed quality penning of sheep sold on a firm-slightly dearer market trend with increase skin values accounting for some of the price improvement in a few sales.

Forbes lambs ease $2-$4

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 15,950 lambs, 4930 more than last week, and 5850 sheep, 450 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed, with more dry lambs penned along with the fresher lines. There was also an increase in the number of shorn lambs offered as the levels of seed and burr contamination increase. There were 6100 new season lambs penned. The usual buyers competed in the cheaper market.

Light new season lambs eased $2 to $103-$121. Trade weights slipped $2-$4 to $115-$143. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs sold firm to $3 easier. Heavy lambs made $144-$148 and extra heavies sold from $151-$159. Carcase prices averaged 572-589c/kg.

Old lambs also sold $2-$3 easier. Light lambs averaged $106. Trade weights sold from $112-$133. Heavies made $137-$148 and extra heavy weights sold from $147-$163.

Most of the sheep were mixed quality Merinos. Prices lifted slightly, with Merino ewes selling from $75-$118. Crossbreds made $83-$118 and Merino wethers sold from $78-$130.

Inverell lambs firms to $3 cheaper

At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4012 lambs, 522 more than two weeks ago, and 1135 sheep, 154 more.

The NLRS said there were a few pens of young lambs, a good supply of trade lambs and more heavy lambs over 24kg. There was also a large consignment of Dorper lambs. Quality was good, with most lambs in good 3 score condition, although there were several pens of 2 score lambs that sold to restockers. Competition was weaker, with most lambs selling firm to $3 cheaper, some sales more. Hoggets prices changed little.

The sheep were mainly ewes, plus a few pens of wethers. Quality was fairly good, with several pens of sheep in full wool. Competition was easier, with most sheep selling $3 cheaper and some sales more.

Bendigo’s heavy lambs fall $15

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards, the agents yarded 18,559 lambs, 4067 more than last week, and 5700 sheep, 2018 more.

The NLRS said unshorn young lambs continued to dominate and quality remained good, with first-draft lambs now appearing from southern areas such as Pyalong and Kilmore. Processor demand was weaker, with one major exporter only watching the sale and others purchasing reduced numbers.

Extra heavy lambs wore the brunt of the price correction, with prices for pens weighing over 26kg falling by up to $15. Domestic lambs sold to slaughter generally eased by $6-$10. Plainer and light weight lambs continued to sell well in comparison, and were firm to dearer for the smallest types.

Prices reached a top of $157 for export young lambs estimated at around 28kg cwt with $9-$10 skins. There were 10 sales over $150, with the next run of young lambs weighing 25-26kg selling from $138-$145. Many pens of heavy lambs trended below 500c/kg taking into account skins worth up to $10.

Trade weight lambs in the 22-24kg bracket sold from $117-$135, with the wide price range caused by fluctuations in bidding across the sale. On a carcase basis, most of the domestic lambs sold to slaughter averaged 500-515c/kg cwt. Small lambs sold to restockers were firm to dearer, although some buyers stepped up in weight to take advantage of the cheaper rates for bigger lambs, paying from $113-$126 for pens with more weight and frame.

There were bigger lines of Merinos and first cross sheep available, with most in forward condition thanks to the favourable season. Mutton prices were stronger, gaining $3-$6 across most categories. Full wool Merino ewes sold-a top of $125, and heavy crossbreds-$122. Most trade weight and heavier sheep sold from $85-$115.

Ballarat’s heavy lambs fall $7-$10

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 32,778 lambs, 6958 more than last week, and 4823 sheep, 1495 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was good to very good, with drafts showing excellent finish and plenty of weight. The usual buyers attended and operated in the easier market.

Trade weight lambs sold $5-$8 easier and heavy lambs were $7-$10 cheaper. The best heavy lambs sold to $173 and heavier trade weights made $121-$140, averaging around 510c/kg cwt. Lighter lambs sold from $94.60-$106 to be a few dollars easier.

Restockers bought heavier lambs for mostly from $100-$127.50 and paid $80-$95 for lighter lots. These went to Mallee areas, north east Victoria, local areas and to Tasmania. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $93.50-$96. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $94-$118 and averaged around 530c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $112-$124 and the heavier weights made $121-$140, or 490-550c/kg, to average around 510c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $132-$166 and extra heavy lambs made to $173. The best of the old lambs sold from $108-$116. Young Merino lambs made $95-$118. Heavy hoggets sold from $95-$117.

All weight and grades of sheep were offered. Competition was keen, with the light and medium sheep selling a few dollars up on last week. Merino mutton averaged around 390c/kg. Some of the heavier crossbred sheep were a few dollars easier.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $56-$94. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $60-$105, or 280-400c/kg. Heavy Merino ewes made $84-$101. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $90-$115 and medium weights made $79.60-$99, or around 390c/kg. Heavy crossbred sheep sold from $91-$118. Heavy crossbred wethers sold to $143. Restockers bought Merino ewes for $78-$121 and crossbred ewes for $132.

Dublin’s heavy lambs $12 cheaper

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 7689 lambs, 3311 fewer than last week, and 4469 sheep, 1469 more.

The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers were joined by more restockers seeking lambs.

Young lambs eased $5-$8 and heavy weight lambs sold up to $12 cheaper. A draft of young Merino ewes with a 50mm skin met spirited competition from restockers-sell from $132-$166. Light lambs ranged from $68-$108 with the 12-16kg range selling from $80-$104. Light lambs-the trade ranged from $91-$118 with trade score 3 light lambs selling-a top of $120. Medium weight old lambs ranged from $94-$110 with heavy weights selling from $96-$120. Merino hoggets were well supplied with restockers active in this portion of the sale with lighter types $60-$80 with sales-the trade ranging from $74-$122. Light ewes ranged from $58-$65, medium weights $63-$95 and the heavier selection $95-$130. Very few wethers were on offer and these sold from $60-$104. Rams generally sold from $55 for lighter types-$135 for heavy weights.

Naracoorte’s trade lambs up to $5 cheaper

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 20,119 lambs, 1721 more than last week, and 1682 sheep, 433 fewer.

The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers and more restocker orders competed strongly for lambs, but the market sold to a generally easier trend. Quality again was good; however, more light weight lambs came forward, with some showing some signs of dryness in the skin.

Light weight lambs sold to the trade for $81-$110 and similar Merinos made $68-$101. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $104-$118 and light lambs were $2-$4 easier. Restockers bought large numbers of lambs in a range of weight categories, paying $72-$122. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold up to $5 easier at $108-$126.

The fewer heavy lambs sold $6-$8 easier at $120-$165, averaging 480-500c/kg cwt. Fewer hoggets came forward, with the lighter types making $64-$84 and heavier lines selling from $82-$122.

There were fewer light weight ewes and they made $75-$90. Heavy ewes sold from $100-$120. Wethers and rams sold to $98.

Muchea’s trade lambs $4 dearer

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2509 lambs, 5091 fewer than last week, and 5248 sheep, 2062 less.

The NLRS said sheep and lamb numbers almost halved as harvest activities took priority. Lamb quality has dropped, with most of the lambs showing dryness and signs of grass seed in some drafts. Shorn young lambs are appearing and is finding support. Most of the usual buyers attended, but activity by two major lamb processors was minimal, with solid supplies direct to works.

Light store lambs sold strongly to restockers, with most selling $2 dearer at $45-$72. Light processor and feeder lambs made $3 more at $70-$90 and trade lambs were up to $4 dearer at $85-$113, or close to 470c/kg. Heavy lambs made to $117 for a line estimated at 25kg cwt.

Mutton and wether competition remained solid and restockers were keen on any suitable lines. Ewe sales were supported by strong restocker interest on young Merino ewes, with these making $52-$111 and mature ewes from $60-$100.

Light weight processor ewe mutton made $50-$71 and the medium weight drafts sold firm to slightly dearer at $67-$84, or 300c/kg. Heavy ewes made $71-$95 to be close to last week’s prices. Wether sales were again firm, with restockers and feeders making most purchases. Heavy wethers made $90-$102 and the lighter and store wethers sold from $65-$95, depending on wool length and quality. Rams sold well to processors and export feeders. Ram lambs made $70-$106 and other young drafts sold to export or feeders for $40-$75. Old rams sold to processors made $30-$55.

Tasmania’s $9-$15 cheaper

At the northern Tasmanian saleyards at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday, agents yarded 1060 lambs, 10 more than last week, and 1000 sheep, 700 more.

The NLRS said 70 percent of the lambs yarded were new season drafts. Prices for heavy lambs were $9-$15 cheaper, while most trade lambs met a similar market with restockers eager for their share. Restockers paid $104-$123 and processors paid $113-$123, for trade lambs. Processors also bought heavy lambs for $121-$128 and paid $125-$133 for extra heavy pens. Most old lambs made $102-$117.

More good runs of medium weight sheep were yarded. Most mutton met a stronger market with medium weights making $72-$106 and heavy ewes $84-$104.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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