LAMB and mutton prices continued to generally fall in saleyards late this week as fewer export buyers operated and domestic processors were more selective.
Quality trade and heavy lambs maintained and slightly increased their value in some centres, but prices fell for secondary drafts which made up most of some yardings.
Several processors are now into their seasonal maintenance shutdown periods as lamb and sheep numbers decline, and fewer quality trade and heavy lambs are available.
The NLRS said store lamb demand was limited, but some processors bought lambs at Wagga to background on grass for later slaughter. Quality export weight lambs were least-affected by the price correction in some centres.
A few lines of new season lambs are coming into New South Wales and Victorian saleyards. At Carcoar on Wednesday, 20.1-22kg cwt young lambs with $11 skins made $153 or 646c/kg. At Horsham on Wednesday, 201-22kg new season lambs with $10 skins made $154 or 686c/kg, and 24.1-26kg new season lambs with $10 skins sold for $175, or 674c/kg.
After Wednesday’s sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 571c/kg, down 4 cents; Merino 584c/kg, down 3c; light 579c/kg, down 7c; trade 618c/kg, down 3c; heavy 636c/kg, down 3c. The national trade lamb indicator fell 3 cents to 618c/kg, and the heavy indicator lost 2 cents to 637c/kg.
The ESDI and national mutton indicators finished the week on 377c/kg, down 2-3 cents.
Carcoar’s trade lambs $8-$12 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7000 lambs, 5750 fewer than last week, and 2500 sheep, 250 less.
The NLRS said cold wet conditions reduced the lamb yarding. Most were trade lambs, along with odd pens of heavier weights and the usual light weights.
Light weight lambs-the processors were $6 cheaper, with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $69-$112. Trade lambs were $8-$12 cheaper, with the 3 scores making $108-$158, or mostly 600-630c/kg cwt. The few heavy weight lambs were $7 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $155-$190. Restockers paid to $109 and hoggets sold to $130.
Most grades of sheep were represented in the mixed yarding. Light weight ewes sold firm and the heavier weights were $4-$7 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $30-$85. Better 3 and 4 score crossbreds sold from $70-$140 and Merinos made to $130. Merino wethers sold to $135.
Wagga’s trade lambs ease $3
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 29,700 lambs, 9300 fewer than last week, and 6900 sheep, 2100 less.
The NLRS said the yarding declined due to wet conditions, which have impacted on the condition of lighter weight categories. The quality across the trade and heavy lamb offering was very good with most lambs supplementary-fed or finished on lucerne.
Not all export buyers operated fully or competed in the sheep run, while major domestic processors were selective, wanting lambs with finish and shorter skins. There were limited store orders, but some processors bought lambs to background on grass. Grain-fed trade lambs attracted premium prices as major domestic buyers bid on high yielding pens.
Trade lambs prices firmed as the market progressed, but prices generally eased $3. The better finished 22-24kg cwt lambs sold for $145-$182, averaging 639-674/kg. Merino trade lambs sold to erratic trends from $115-$155. Lighter weight lambs suitable to restock or feed sold to a reduced field of buyers, making to $127, with other sales from $89-$110.
Despite good numbers of supplementary fed heavy and extra heavy lambs, the yarding lacked the weight of previous weeks. Heavy lambs sold from $165, before gaining momentum to average 659c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to stronger demand, with one processor dominating the market on lambs weighing above 30kg. Generally prices were unchanged to $5 dearer at $168-$229.20, averaging 633c/kg.
The mixed quality offering of mutton included all weights and grades. Heavy Merino ewes in full wool attracted strong bidding to sell to $150, but most sales were $10-$20 cheaper. Heavy crossbred ewes sold $24 cheaper to average 332c/kg. Trade sheep sold to weaker demand at $65-$116, or 350-399c/kg. Plain light weight ewes scanned in lamb were keenly sought by restockers for $50-$106.
Hamilton’s better trade lambs lift $1-$4
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6227 lambs, 317 more than last week, and 3402 sheep, 2202 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was good to average, with drafts generally showing less cover. Some very good trade weight lambs were offered. There was one less domestic and export buyer and the usual processors showed less urgency and were more selective.
Light, light trade and medium trade lambs lacking finish sold $2-$8 cheaper, but prices were $1-$4 dearer for better quality medium and heavy trade weight lambs. Processors paid from $72-$108 for light 2 score lambs, or an averaged of 586c/kg. Light trade lambs made from $105-$125, averaging 620c/kg. Medium trade 3 and 4 scores sold from $121-$151, averaging 640c/kg. Heavy trade weights made $151-$169, or 613-690c/kg, averaging 650c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold from $172-$202.
There were some good quality lines of Merino wethers and crossbred ewes. Sheep prices were overall firm to slightly dearer, with the most improvement in the light-medium weights. Heavy sheep prices were cheaper in places.
Restocker activity was minimal, with one agent paying $80-$85 for 445 young Merino wethers. Very light 1 score sheep sold for $45 and light mutton 1-2 score made $65-$77. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $82-$102. Merino mutton averaged 420c/kg. Heavy crossbred sheep made $92-$125, averaging 370c/kg. The 2 score Merino wethers sold from $76-$99, with a longer wool lines making $127-$134, averaging 410-420c/kg. Rams of all breeds sold from $60-$139 to be significantly dearer.
Horsham lambs firm to slightly easier
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2577 lambs, 5339 fewer than last week, and 851 sheep, 567 less.
The NLRS said most of the usual buyers operated on the average quality yarding and lambs generally sold from firm to a few dollars easier than last week.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $87-$106. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $112-$144 and averaged around 640c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $128-$151, with heavier lots making $151-$168 at 565-680c/kg and averaging around 650c/kg.
Best heavy lambs sold to $201 and heavier trade weights made $151-$168. A few pens of early new season lambs sold from $154-$175. Heavier Merino lambs made $113-$145. Restocker interest was limited to a few pens at $68-$88, Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $160-$186, with a pen of extra heavy lambs selling to $201. Heavy hoggets made $132.50.
Competition for sheep was steady, to be mostly unchanged. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $50-$80. Medium weight 2 and 3 score made $74-$120, or 330-440c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 420c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $100-$139.50 and heavy Merino ewes made $113-$147. A pen of mixed age Merino ewes with lambs sold for $102.
Medium weight Merino wethers sold from $74-$104 at around 440c/kg. Heavy rams sold to $132.50.
Mt Gambier prices ease
In South Australia at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1710 lambs, 121 more than last week, and 204 sheep, 65 more.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers operated on the mixed quality offering with its wide range of weight, type and skin length. Prices eased on the previous week.
Light weight lambs sold to the trade for $76-$99. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score types made $110-$120. Trade weight 3 score lambs were back $8-$10 at $112-135, averaging 570c/kg. Some good quality heavy 4 score lambs sold from $126-$168, with a similar fall in price. The few extra heavy lambs made $165-$199. Hoggets sold from $92-$130.
Light weight ewes made $52-$65. Medium weighted ewes sold to $86 at an average of 360c/kg. Heavy ewes made $106-$116 and a small number of wethers sold to $113.
Katanning lambs make $122
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1851 lambs, 1300 fewer than last week, and 1500 sheep, 500 less.
The NLRS said it was mixed quality yarding of sheep. Lambs dominated the yarding and heavy crossbreds sold to $122.
Light weight crossbred lambs sold from $59-$87. Trade weight lambs made $101-$122. Lambs suitable for air freight sold from $70-$101. Light crossbred lambs made $60 with feeders and better quality lines sold to $93. Light Merino store lambs sold from $70, up to $107 for the heavier better framed types.
Mutton supply was again limited. Light ewes with a full fleece sold from $45-$70. Prime heavy three score mutton sold from $80-$98. Young Merino red tag ewes made $55-$92, depending on weight.
Young wethers sold for $73-$118 to processors, depending on weight, and from $23-$109 to feeder buyers depending on frame and quality. Live export wethers made $89-$115. Ram lambs sold from $29-$85 to processors and feeders. Older rams made $20-$60.
Warwick lambs sell to $160
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1846 lambs and hoggets, and 374 sheep.
In a larger yarding of both sheep and lambs, the lamb market eased for light and unfinished lambs. The mutton market was fully firm to a shade dearer. Emu Vale producers L.W. and D.F. Kable sold the top-priced lambs for $160.
Crossbred lambs 51-55kg lwt sold from $148-$160, 46-50lg lambs made $144-$153, 41-45kg lines sold for $134-$142 and the 35-40kg lambs made $120-$130.
Shorn crossbred hoggets 56kg lwt sold to $120. Trade wethers with $6 skins sold to $119, or 340c/kg cwt and light wethers with $20 skins made to $85, or 280c/kg.
Heavy crossbred ewes with $10 skins made to $125, or 335c/kg, and light lines with $6 skins sold to $70, or 295c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.