Lamb prices lift by up to $20 as direct consignments slow and buyers hit saleyards

Sheep Central May 27, 2016
These early February shorn August-September drop first cross wether lambs, 17.5kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $120 at Walgett in NSW on AuctionsPlus this week.

These early February shorn August-September drop first cross wether lambs, 17.5kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $120 at Walgett in NSW on AuctionsPlus this week.

LAMB prices rose again by as much as $20 mid-week, as previous week saleyard rates and rain limited direct-to-works consignments.

More heavy lambs sold for more than $200 mid-week, reaching $228 for estimated 37kg cwt Poll Dorset cross carcase lambs with $12-$14 skins at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales on Thursday.

Nearly 10 per cent of the Wagga lamb yarding made $200 or better, with agents selling 3540 lambs for $200-plus and at least one sheep processor – Fletcher International Exports – also competing against keen export lamb and domestic buyers.

Several export and domestic processors have released forward contracts for lambs up to August, but some are at rates which are close to, or have been exceeded by, current saleyard prices in the upward moving market.

More lambs in all weight ranges are averaging above 600c/kg cwt, with more drafts in the light export, trade heavy and extra weight categories making 650c/kg-plus. Some light slaughter and trade lambs sold for more than 700c/kg cwt mid-week at Wagga, but more often to restockers.

Mutton prices also reached extreme levels mid-week, with heavy sheep at Wagga selling $20-$30 dearer and up to $170.20 to average 455c/kg cwt.

NLRS lamb and mutton indicators lift

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 581c/kg, up 7 cents; Merino 543c/kg, up 18c; trade 586c/kg, up 11c; heavy 592c/kg, up 12c. The national trade lamb indicator rose 13 cents to 585c/kg and the heavy indice lifted 13 cents to 592c/kg.

The ESDI for mutton rose 15 cents to 381c/kg, and the national indicator lifted 16 cents to the same level.

Carcoar lambs up to $12 dearer

In New South Wales at Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7800 lambs, 600 fewer than last week, and 1900 sheep, 3300 less.

The NLRS said the fair quality yarding included a pretty good selection of trade weight lambs and heavy weights, but fewer extra heavy weights. There was also a good number of light weight lambs.

Light weight lambs sold $9 dearer to processors, with the score 2s selling from $54-$115. Trade lambs were $6-$12 dearer, with the score 3s making $114-$155, to average 610c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $6-$10 dearer, with the score 4s selling from $139-$195, to average 600c/kg. Restocker lambs were up to $12 dearer, selling to $129. Hoggets sold to $125.

In the mostly plain quality yarding of sheep, light weights sold firm and heavier lines were $3-$5 cheaper compared to last to last week. The score 2 ewes sold from $32-$75 and the better score 3 and 4 crossbred and Merino lines made $75-$120.

Wagga lambs sell to $228

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 40,000 lambs, 2910 more than last week, and 9100 sheep, 1300 more.

The NLRS said the damp conditions didn’t deter vendors, with numbers slightly higher. Bidding intensified over trade and export categories with all buyers eager to secure loads. Shorter skinned supplementary-fed lambs attracted the strongest competition. All major export and domestic processors operated fully. Restockers were also competing over all categories at times throughout the sale for well-bred second cross lambs.

Well-finished supplementary-fed trade lambs sold to a larger field of buyers and major domestic processors dominated the market. Trade lambs sold $10 dearer to average 609c/kg.

Merino trade lambs sold to stronger demand, with sales strengthening as the market progressed to $111-$154. Heavy Merino lambs topped at $164. Store lambs sold to strong demand, with some sales lifting by as much as $20. Lambs sold to restockers and feeders made $65-$118.

Heavy and extra heavy lamb numbers increased and all categories were caught up in fierce competition, with hefty price spikes throughout the sale. Heavy lambs sold from $155-$176 to average 613c/kg. Increased interest and stronger bidding pushed extra heavy lamb prices $15-$22 higher. Extra heavy lambs sold at $170-$228.

The mixed quality sheep included all weights and grades. Demand was markedly stronger due to forthcoming rain. Not all processors could match the higher prices, and stepped into lighter weight sheep. Heavy sheep sold $20-$30 dearer recording a top price of $170.20 to average 455c/kg. There were more heavy Merino wethers and they made $127-$167. Trade sheep were keenly contested with buyer competition pushing prices up by $7-$8 to $72-$127.

Hamilton’s heavy lambs lift $10-$15

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5884 lambs, 1121 fewer than last week, and 4818 sheep, 413 less.

The NLRS said the usual buyers competed strongly for the fair to very good quality yarded that had a good supply of trade weight lambs and also plainer unfinished types.

Light lambs were firm, medium trade lambs sold $5-$10 higher and the heavier weights were $10-$15 dearer in the robust sale. Restockers paid $25-$80 for very light score 1s and $65-$107 for score 2 and 3 store lambs, to average close to 640c/kg. Light weight score 2 lambs sold to processors for $80-$103. Light trade score 2 and 3 lambs made $105-$120, and the medium trade weight score 3 and 4s sold from $113-$146, or 550-630c/kg, averaging an estimated 600c/kg. Heavy trade lambs sold from $146-$159. Pens of extra heavy export lambs made $165-$190, averaging around 570c/kg.

Sheep prices improved, with light sheep firm, medium sheep $3-$5 dearer and the heavy weights $5-$10 better. All weights and categories were represented, with good lines of crossbred ewes, wethers and Merino ewes. Light 1 and 2 scores made $40-$72 and medium mutton 2 and 3 scores sold from $77-$95. Merino mutton averaged close to 370c/kg. The heavier crossbred sheep score 4s sold from $89-$131. Medium Merino wethers made $78-$91 and heavier drafts sold to $120, averaging 385c/kg. The score 2 and 3 hoggets sold from $78-$125. There was more demand from rams of all breeds which made $35-$122.

Horsham lambs $5-$10 dearer

At the Horsham saleyards the agents yarded 4409 lambs, 905 fewer than last week, and 1687 sheep, 895 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, with heavy and trade weight lambs in reasonable numbers. The usual buyers operated strongly in a dearer market.

Heavy lambs made to $209.50 and the heavier trade weights sold from $146-$165. Most lambs sold $5-$10 dearer and more in places. Merino lambs sold to strong competition, with the medium and heavier lots selling from $98-$153, and mostly selling from 570-580c/kg cwt. Restockers paid $171 for first cross ewe lambs and to $135 for 330 5 year-old, joined composite ewes.

The sheep sold to strong demand to be up to $10 dearer, with a pen of outstanding heavy shorn Merino wethers selling for $135. Light weight score 2 lambs sold from $98-$102. Light trade score 2 and 3 score lambs made $105-$136 and averaged around 620c/kg. Trade weight score 3 and 4 lambs sold from $130-$142, with the heavier drafts making $146-$165, or 575-645c/kg and mostly around 610-620c/kg. Heavy score 3 and 4 lambs sold from $160-$195 and the extra heavy export lines made $196-$209.50.

Light weight score 1 and 2 sheep sold from $55-$86, with very light score 1s made to $50. Medium weight score 2 and 3 sheep sold from $82-$117 and ranged from 360-420c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 410c/kg. Heavy score 3-5 crossbred sheep sold from $90-$125, Heavy Merino wethers sold from $120-$135 and the medium weights made $80.50-$108.50. Rams sold from $69-$113.

Strong demand for Katanning sheep and lambs

In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6000 lambs, 1125 more than last week, and 3636 sheep, 1164 fewer.

The NLRS said prices were up for all categories in the mixed quality sheep and lambs, due to strong demand from buyers.

Light weight lambs sold from $45-$86 and Merino lambs made $76-$92. Trade weight lamb prices were up, at $91-$114. Heavy weight lambs sold from $118-$130. Lambs suitable for air freight were firm at $59-$87. Feeders paid to $34 for light store crossbred lambs and up to $106 for the better quality lines. Light Merino store lambs sold from $35 and the heavier better framed types made to $98.

Young Merino red tag ewes sold to processors for $40-$100 depending on size and restockers paid to $90. Mutton sheep prices lifted by up to $10 and light ewes sold for $47. Boning sheep with a fleece made $48-$80 and heavier prime score 3 mutton sold from $70-$105.

Young wethers sold for $70-$95 to processors depending on weight and feeders paid $50-$100 depending on frame and quality. Older wethers sold for $68-$99-restockers and feeders while processors paid $90.

Light ram lambs sold for $35 and the heavier better lambs made to $99. Older rams sold for $60 to restockers, but processors only paid $5-$15.

Warwick lambs sell to $170

In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2024 lambs and hoggets, and 749 sheep.

The market was quoted as firm on last week’s rates for a similar-sized yarding and a line of 65kg lwt lambs from Moonie producers T.H. and T.M. Sullivan of ‘Biddybrook’, topped the sale at $170.

Crossbred lambs weighing 51-55kg lwt sold from $128-$139, 46-50kg lambs made $124-$140, 41-45kg lines sold for $120-$130 and 35-40kg lambs made $98-$111.

Shorn crossbred hoggets 55kg lwt sold to $95. Trade wethers with $6 skins sold to $93, or 320c/kg cwt, and light wethers with $5 skins made to $54, or 315c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes with $10 skins sold to $114, or 310c/kg, and light lines with $5 skins made to $50, or 290c/kg.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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