Strong restocker inquiry on Merino and light trade lambs again underpinned saleyard markets across the country mid-week, with some export and domestic buyers giving subdued competition on heavier lines.
MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service said the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator closed on Thursday at 462c/kg cwt, down one cents and the heavy lamb indicator finished at 460c/kg, down two cents on Wednesday.
The national indicators for lambs were mostly down after Thursday’s sales, except for restocker lambs, which lifted two cents to 481c/kg cwt. The other lamb indicators were Merinos, 389c/kg, down one cent; light, 444c/kg, no change; trade, 463c/kg, down one cent and heavy, 458c/kg, down three cents. The national mutton indictor closed on 298c/kg, down two cents.
Over the hook lamb rates ease nationally
The NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates eased slightly in NSW this week, with trade lambs averaging 491c/kg cwt. Light weight mutton carcase rates were unchanged, while medium and heavy weight categories increased marginally.
The average NSW OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-22kg, 491c/kg, down 1c; 22-24kg, 490c/kg, down 1c; 24-26kg, 473c/kg, down 2c; 26kg+, 463c/kg, down 3c, and; Merinos 16-22kg, 395c/kg, no change. The NSW OTH mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 258c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 292c/kg, up 1c, and 24kg+, 307c/kg, +1.
In Victoria, the NLRS said there were some downward adjustments to over-the-hook lamb rates this week, with trade weight lambs back an average of 10c/kg cwt. Light and medium mutton rates increased slightly, while the average heavy weight mutton carcase rate declined.
The average Victorian OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 480c/kg, down 20c; 18-20kg, 472c/kg, down 10c; 20-22kg, 482c/kg, down 10c; 22-24kg, 485c/kg, down 5c; 24-26kg, 473c/kg, down 3c; 26kg+, 450c/kg, nc, and; Merinos 16-22kg, 415c/kg, nc. The OTH mutton rates are: 0-14kg, 280c/kg, nc; 14-18kg, 262c/kg, up 6c; 18-24kg, 307c/kg, up 8c, and; 24kg+, 298c/kg, down 12c.
In South Australia, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates were slightly lower, with all categories back an average of 5c/kg cwt this week. Mutton rates remained unchanged.
The average SA OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-24kg, 480c/kg, down 5c; 24-26kg+, 455c/kg, down 5c, and Merinos 16-22kg, 465c/kg, nc. The OTH mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 180c/kg, nc, and; 18-24kg+, 260c/kg, nc.
The WA OTH rates for lambs and sheep are unchanged. The average WA rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 440c/kg; 18-22kfg, 450c/kg; 22-26kg, 460c/kg; 26kg+, 443c/kg, and Merinos 16-22kg, 393c/kg. The OTH mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 235c/kg and 18-24kg+, 263c/kg.
In Tasmania, the OTH rates for lamb and sheep were also unchanged. The average rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 016kg, 460c/kg; 16-24kg, 490c/kg and 24-26kg+, 470c/kg. The mutton rates are: 0-14kg, 320c/kg; 14-18kg, 330c/kg and 18-24kg, 340c/kg.
New season lambs $3-$8 cheaper at Carcoar
In NSW at Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Thursday, agents yarded 9760 lambs, 5260 more than last week, and 3150 sheep, 1150 more.
The NLRS said there were some good lines of trade and heavy weight new season lambs, heavy old lambs, Merino lambs and hoggets.
Lightweight lambs were $3 cheaper, with 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $55-$86. New season trade weight lambs were $4 cheaper, selling from $70-$115, to average 471c/kg cwt. Heavy weight new season lambs were $6-$8 cheaper, selling from $109-$150. Over 22kg old lambs sold from $100-$149. Merino lambs were around firm with trade weights selling from $70-$85. Restockers paid to $107 and the best hoggets made $98.
The good quality yarding of mutton consisted mainly of wethers in good condition. Most grades were firm to $3 cheaper. The 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $63-$96 for crossbreds and $89 for Merinos. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $55-$97.
Mutton rates firm to slightly cheaper at Goulburn
At Goulburn on Wednesday, agents yarded 1200 lambs, 400 more than last week, and 1600 sheep, 200 fewer.
The NLRS said quality lifted, with a better selection of young lambs in good condition in most weight categories. The old lambs were generally plainer and in smaller lots, and included a fair percentage of Dorpers and Merinos as seasonal consignments decline.
With a few buyers absent, the market had a cheaper trend of around $2-$8. Light young lambs 16-18kg cwt made $83-$94, while trade weights made from $88-$108. A few well-finished heavy weights made $110-$120 for most of the young lambs, to average 440c/kg-470c/kg cwt. In the old lamb section, light and trade weight Merinos ranged from $58-$76, while second cross trade weights made $74-$91. Heavy weights over 22kg made $96-$118 for most, to average 380c/kg-440c/kg cwt.
Sheep quality was good overall. There were plenty of lots showing good weight and condition as spring pasture growth provides ideal conditions for producers to turn off surplus sheep following shearing. The market was solid with prices mostly firm to slightly cheaper. Medium and heavy ewes ranged from $65-$85, while a fair selection of wethers made $66-$96. Most of the better covered sheep averaged 290c/kg-315c/kg cwt.
Vic and NSW restockers active at Wagga
At Wagga on Thursday, the agents yarded 30,000 lambs, 6000 less than last week, and 12,000 sheep, 1000 more.
The NLRS said excellent quality young lambs made up the bulk of the offering, with plenty of lines above 22kg cwt. Old lambs were in shorter supply and quality was mixed, with very less buyer interest in this category. A full field of domestic buyers attended, however not all major domestic or export buyers operated fully, causing rates to fluctuate during the sale.
Prices were erratic for the good numbers of new season trade lambs, particularly for lines showing dryness or seed infestation. Light trade weight lamb were in reasonable supply and increased restocking orders helped underpin prices, with the better-finished light lambs to slaughter averaging $100. Medium and heavy trade lambs were in greater numbers, with increased supplies of shorn young lambs and prices were generally $2-$3 cheaper. The heavy trade lambs averaged 455c/kg cwt. Trade weight young Merino lambs were in limited numbers and the better-finished drafts suitable for the trade made from $88-$109.
Heavy and extra heavy young lambs sold to weakened competition due to a few major export buyers operating sporadically. Heavy lambs lacked the weight of the previous sale, with prices up to $4 cheaper. Heavy export lambs sold from $117-$133, with the extra heavy lambs averaging 428c/kg-447c/kg cwt.
Lambs suitable to turn-out were well-supplied and met much stronger demand, with several buyers purchasing lambs above 18kg cwt. Store orders were in place from Goulburn, Bendigo, Ballarat, Griffith, and Albury, as well as the local area. The better quality second cross lambs returning to the paddock sold from $86-$101.
Mutton quality was mixed, with all weights and grades represented. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were in reasonable supply and sold to steady demand, with prices mostly firm to $2 cheaper and averaging 308c/kg cwt.
Heavy sheep were in good numbers and bidding was strongest from northern exporters for heavy Merino wethers, with prices generally firm to $7 dearer. Heavy wethers made from $91-$118, averaging 356c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes were also well supplied and sold from $78-$98 to average 303c/kg cwt.
Lambs sell firm on quality at Horsham
In Victoria at Horsham on Wednesday, agents yarded 14,088 lambs, 802 more than last week, and 7864 sheep, 2153 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with a reasonable supply of trade weights and heavy lambs available for most of the regular buyers. Lambs generally sold around firm on quality, with some of the plainer trade and heavy lambs a few dollars easier. Restockers were active and paid from $79-$102 and from $47-$65 for the lighter weights. Restocking lambs sold into the Mallee, local and north east areas. A small pen of donated old lambs sold for $155 and a pen of ewes sold to $100.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $65.50-$79.40. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $74-$97, with the heavier drafts from $88-$107. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $97.50-$113, with heavy lots selling between $110-$124.80, ranging from 440c/kg-490c/kg cwt, to average around 470c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $120-$136.
The NLRS said not all buyers operating fully on the mutton yarded. The yarding included all weights and grade, with most sheep selling to an easier trend, back $5-$10 and more in places. Restockers and feeders paid from $58-$80.50 for Merino wethers and $60.50 for a pen of young Merino ewes.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $34-$50. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made from $40-$71 and ranged from 210c/kg-290c/kg cwt, to average around 260c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $48-$70.50, with heavy Merino wethers made $67-$76.
Small yarding at Hamilton
At Hamilton on Wednesday, agents yarded 506 lambs, 463 fewer than last week, and 3591 lambs, 445 more.
The NLRS said lamb and sheep quality varied, with the mutton yarding including ewes and some excellent lines of wethers.
Lambs sold at similar prices, with the 3 score lambs making $73-$86, and one pen selling to $98, to average 380c/kg cwt.
One pen of new season lambs sold for $110, with an estimated weight of 23kg cwt. The sheep came back a further $5-$8 due to two export buyers not operating, limiting competition across all weight ranges.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs made from $42-$65 and trade weights generally sold from $66-$86, to a top of $98, for an average estimated price of 380c/kg cwt. Restockers purchased small lambs for $22-$36.
The light 1 and 2 score sheep made $42-$65, and the medium weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $56-$75, ranging from 230c/kg-290c/kg cwt to average around 265c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep made from $63-$88.50, mainly for the Merino wethers. Rams made from $15-$30, with one pen of good quality Poll Dorsets going to a restocker for $48.
Ouyen lamb rates back $5-$12
At Ouyen on Thursday, agents yarded 7166 new season lambs, 2500 old lambs and 4000 sheep.
With the absence of a couple of domestic buyers prices were $5-12 cheaper for lambs, although the addition of a southern restocker improved prices for lighter weights. The new season export lambs made $100-$135 or 420c/kg–470c/kg cwt, the trade weights ranged from $85.60-$109.60 or 420c/kg–450c/kg cwt and the store/light lambs sold from $73.60-$92 or 460c/kg-480c/kg cwt.
Mutton rates were $20-25 easier and ranged from 200c/kg-240c/kg cwt. The next sale at Ouyen Livestock Exchange is Thursday October 23. The sale scheduled for October 16 has been cancelled due to lack of numbers.
Light and trade weight lambs regain ground at Katanning
In WA at Katanning on Wednesday, agents yarded 2500 lambs, 882 fewer than last week, and 7512 sheep, 2512 more.
The NLRS said mutton quality was back on last week, with more lighter conditioned bare shorn ewes offered and most lambs being light weight and in store condition. Wether numbers increased slightly. Competition increased across most categories, with the return of live export and additional lamb and ewe buyers.
Light weight new season lambs, both to air freight and processors, lifted $4, with prices from $50-$85. Trade weight lambs, 18-22kg, also lifted close to $10 to average around 450c/kg cwt, with prices of $85-$107.
Heavy lambs sold to a top of $112. Old lambs to the trade also improved $8, with most trade weight sales making close to 420c/kg cwt. Light store lambs were dearer, with prices up by more than $5 for most. Better crossbred store lambs made from $60-$79, up $6, with plainer and Merino drafts making $35-$60.
Ewe prices remained close to firm, with the reduced weight, wool length and quality having little impact. Heavy weight drafts were equal, with prices from $64-$82 or around 265c/kg cwt. Large supplies of processor mutton sheep, 18-24kg cwt, made from $50-$75 to be equal, with very light ewes from $15-$50. Wether sales remained firm, aided by live export competition. Heavy weight wethers made from $72-$92, with the live export drafts ranging from $65-$80 bare shorn. Lighter weight and store wethers to export feeders and restockers remained close to firm, with prices from $45-$78. Ram lambs made to a top of $74.50, with younger live export and feeder drafts from $30-$65. Old rams again made from $5-$25.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, Ouyen Livestock Exchange.