Lamb prices were firm to cheaper for reduced saleyard offerings late last week, with all categories finishing with big weekly indicator falls.
Mutton prices trended firm to slightly dearer, even in yardings where quality declined.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said its national and Eastern States Daily Indicators for mutton were unchanged, but up one cent for the week.
After Friday’s saleyard sales were completed, the NLRS ESDIs for lamb categories, with daily and weekly changes were: restocker 519c/kg, no change, down 22 cents; Merino 477c/kg, down 1c, down 16c; light 496c/kg, down 1c, down 22c; trade 523c/kg, down 1c, down 18c; heavy 528c/kg, down 1c, down 17c.
Breeding sheep in demand online
AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said with a full trading week, sheep and lamb numbers recovered to 43,701 head.
Breeders were the standout article of this week’s sheep sales, she said.
“In particular, a quality offering of Lines Gum Hill blood Merino ewes out of South Australia, scanned in lamb to the White Suffolk.
“The younger drafts of these ewes made $166-$183, while aged lines sold from $117-$155.”
Ms Adams said elsewhere grown ewe lambs sold for $90-$100, four year old ewes scanned to terminals made $110-$117, and in QLD aged ewes scanned to Merinos made $51-$65.50.
First cross Border Leicester-Merino ewe lambs sold for $130.50 in northern NSW. Young scanned ewes made from $176 to a top of $214 for three year olds in lamb to Poll Dorset rams.
Ms Adams said dwindling numbers of store lambs sold well, with 39-41kg liveweight second cross lambs making $112.50-$113.50, and 33kg lambs selling for $95.50.
The prime lamb sale on Thursday offered smaller lines of primarily lighter lambs and met both processor and restocker interest, with Dorper lambs estimated to dress 16.8kg selling for $90.72 or 540c/kg cwt.
Griffith sheep lift, lambs steady
In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8000 lambs, 3000 fewer than last week, and 1950 sheep, 850 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was again mixed, with well-finished and plainer lambs penned. Most of the yarding was heavy and extra heavy weight lambs, plus a handy offering of Merinos and Dohnes. The usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market.
Light lambs sold from $84-$102. Trade weights held firm with prices ranging from $100-$126. Heavy and extra heavy lambs were firm to $2 better. Heavy lambs sold from $129-$135 and extra heavyweights made $136-$180. Carcase prices averaged from 517-537c/kg. Merino and Dohne lambs sold from $102-$150.
The mutton was mostly Merinos and quality was very mixed. Prices lifted, with Merino ewes selling from $83-$124 and crossbred ewes from $91-$127.
Cowra trade lamb competition steady
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 3000 lambs, 1525 fewer than last week, and 1080 sheep, 255 more.
The NLRS said quality was reasonable across all grades and the heavy lambs were in good condition. Most lambs were trade and heavy weights, with a few stores offered. Not all buyers were present and competition was solid on the trade weights, but softer on the heavy grades, resulting in a generally cheaper market.
Light lambs to the processors ranged around $93-$95, while stores averaged $72. Medium and heavy trade weights were firm and averaged from 530-538c/kg cwt. Most of the better heavy trade weights sold from $110-$120.
Heavy weight lambs were $5-$7 cheaper and averaged from 494-530c/kg cwt. A couple of pens sold for $152-$165.
Mutton quality was mixed. Heavy first cross ewes averaged $110, or 382c/kg cwt. Heavy Merino ewes averaged $106, while heavy wethers sold to $115, or 431c/kg.
Shepparton lambs cheaper
In Victoria, at the Shepparton saleyards, the agents yarded 1370 lambs, 1630 fewer than last week, and 400 sheep, 600 less.
The NLRS said the yarding reverted back to a plainer quality and mixed autumn offering. Buyer competition was reduced to a few regular followers and prices were cheaper than a week ago, with secondary domestic lambs the most affected.
One pen of 10 extra heavy lambs topped the sale at $160. Most light weight slaughter lambs sold from $77-$90, with very plain and smaller frame lambs making $28-$66. There was little restocker interest shown, but this was more likely reflective of the smaller pen lots and mixed quality on offer, rather than demand. The lead pens of slaughter lambs were mostly in the 24-26kg carcase weight range and sold from $128-$142. The line-up of heavy export lambs was limited to just a handful of lots which reached up to $160.
On a carcase basis, the better finished export and trade slaughter lambs ranged from 500-530c/kg cwt, with just odd sales higher. Secondary lambs ranged from 460-480c/kg cwt.
The few pens of extra heavy ewes sold from $90-$110, while medium weights made from $72-$88 and very plain lightweight sheep from $50-$68. Processor demand for rams was subdued.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.
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