Prime & Store Sheep Reports

Lamb prices strengthen to 750c/kg in saleyards

Sheep Central, December 11, 2023

Australia’s sheep and lamb markets opened strongly this week, despite increased yardings at major saleyards.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service reporters noted the continued scarcity of scarcity of lambs with weight and increased processor demand driving lamb prices above 750c/kg in some cases.

Heavy trade lambs lift $25 in Hamilton

At Hamilton today, the NLRS said lamb numbers increased to 34,939, more than double last Monday’s yarding.

Quality was plain to very good with not a lot of weight in the yarding of mostly light lambs to heavy trade weights lambs, the NLRS said. There was a limited number of heavy exports lambs offered to a full field of buyers that operated in a dearer market to a week ago.

There were a large number of light weight lambs that suited processor orders and although store buyers were quiet again, lambs sold back to the paddock gained $5/head. Light trade sold to $6 better, medium trade lines gained $10/head.

The heavy trade lambs gained more interest to be $25/head dearer, the NLRS said. Limited numbers of heavy export lambs were offered and sold to a top of $219/head and were to $35/head stronger in places to a week ago. Lambs back to the paddock made $15 to $107/head. Light lambs to the trade to suit MK orders, sold from $64 to $120/head. Trade lambs 18 to 22kg sold from $107 to $150, Lambs 22 to 26kg made from $132 to $190/head, with an average range of 550c to 650c/kg with sales reaching to 750c/kg cwt. Export lambs over 26 to 30kg sold from $180 to $219/head, with a range of 660c to 760c/kg cwt.

Bendigo heavy weights top $200

At Bendigo today, the agents yarded 9150 sheep, 2100 fewer than last week, and 24,200 lambs, 7550 more.

The NLRS said the yarding included more light and store categories, but prices were dearer, particularly for any heavy weights. These gained $20 to $30 and bidding went above $200/head for the first time in some months.

The NLRS said there was also some much dearer sales of heavy trade lambs, despite a lot of lambs being borderline for fat cover and carcase finish. Some southern meat works that had been quiet, stepped up for more numbers, the NLRS said.

Store and light lambs were firm to a $8 dearer with processing orders for MK ‘bag lambs’ competing  against restockers.  Despite the dearer rates on offer for heavy lambs there was only a few hundred lambs which weighed over 30kg cwt in this sale working out to less than 2pc of the yarding.  Heaviest shorn lambs $200 to a top of $220. Main run of heavy 26-30kg shorn lambs $167 to $207 to average $188. The neat heavy trades, 24-26kg cwt, $151 to $174 to average $165/head. Heaviest woolly unshorn lambs $166 to $192, with the lead trade run from $132 to $170/head. The market did touch on 700c/kg cwt at times, but the average cost of a run of good slaughter lambs was between 620c to 670c/kg cwt. There was plainer trade lambs under 620c at $115 to $137, and the category that struggled to build momentum was the in-between 20-22kg lambs which lacked fat cover.  There was still strong support for MK processing lambs, and most light lambs sold between $60 and $100/head. The main run of small store lambs to the paddock averaged $62 to be similar to a week ago.

Dubbo trade lambs lift $18

At Dubbo today, the agents yarded 12,360 sheep, 5930 more, and 13,130 lambs, 1740 fewer.

The NLRS said the centre’s second last sale included a good selection of well-finished trade and heavy weight lambs along with some well-finished Merino lambs.

Trade lambs sold up to $18 dearer with the trade weight new season lambs selling from $100 to $180/head. Trade weight old lambs weighing 20kg to 24kg  sold from $103 to $189 to average 750c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $30 to $40 dearer with the old lambs over 24kg selling from $169 to $246 to average between 725c and 790c/kg cwt. Heavy weight new season lambs sold to $239/head. Merino lambs were $20 to $30 dearer with trade weights selling from $66 to $162/head. Lambs to the restockers were also dearer despite the hot dry weather with young lambs going back to the paddock selling from $52 to $92/head. Hoggets were $20 dearer selling to $109/head.   There were 12360 mostly good quality mutton yarded where most grades were $3 to $9/head cheaper. Merino ewes sold from $14 to $90 while crossbred ewes sold from $16 to $80/head. Merino wethers sold from $23 to $90/head. Most of the better sheep ranged in price from 170c to 240c/kg cwt. The restockers paid from $4 to $45 for Merino ewes and from $8 to $15/head for Merino wethers.

Heavy lamb indicator lifted 88 cents last week

The firm to stronger saleyard markets follow last week’s lift in sheep and lamb prices, overall yardings increasing by 69,370 to 412,418 head. Lamb yardings increased by 51,442 to 286,068 and sheep yardings lifted by 17,928 to 126,350 head.

MLA said the heavy lamb indicator lifted 88¢ to 626¢/kg carcase weight last week. Prices lifted across every state and nearly in every saleyard. NLRS reports indicate that bidding for heavy lambs was competitive at Wagga, driving up the price by 115¢ to 717¢/kg cwt.

The mutton indicator lifted 4¢ to 209¢/kg cwt last week. Prices across the state were varied, with NSW prices falling 4¢ to 225¢/kg cwt and Victorian prices lifting 18¢ to 202¢/kg cwt. Variation in quality accounts for much of the difference in prices. NLRS reports indicate that demand for heavier, finished mutton was substantially stronger than for smaller animals.

The National Livestock Reporting Service said the weekly lamb slaughter fell last week after the record levels the previous week, with numbers easing by 27,361 to 466,417. This trend occurred across all states, notably with New South Wales dropping by 16 percent or 18,852, to 102,471 and in Tasmania by 22pc to 2226.

Sheep slaughter rose by 20,280, supported by an increase in NSW by 18%, or 14,599, to come to 97,533. Combined slaughter remained relatively stable, falling by 7,181 head week-on-week for a combined total slaughter of 672,638.

Source – MLA NLRS.

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