SHEEP prices mostly improved, but lamb values struggled in most categories for the smaller overall offering on AuctionsPlus last week.
The number of sheep and lambs offered in the first week of May dropped 11 percent to 55,470 head.
Mixed results were realised across the board following the immediate close of the Tuesday commercial auction, as buyers largely remained selective on weight, age, quality, and bloodline, AuctionsPlus said.
Clearance rates reached 73pc by late Thursday afternoon, as post-sale negotiations kicked into gear as the impact of additional rain brought more buyers to the table.
The National Lamb Sale offered 19,542 head in 66 lots, including 9432 lambs from south-west Victoria. Only prices for first cross ewe or shedding breed lambs improved or held firm online last week, with the average prices for all other categories dropping, especially for crossbreds, down $16 to $150 and for Merino wethers, down $12 to $121.
The clearance rate for the 5017 crossbred lambs was 87pc. A line of 260 White Suffolk cross store wether lambs weighing 43kg lwt at Boorowa, New South Wales, sold for $173.
The clearance rate for the 5508 Merino wether lambs offered last week was 39pc at the end of the National Lamb Sale, but post-sale negotiations improved this to 60pc. The average price for the category dropped $12 to $121, and prices ranged from $98-$150.
First cross ewe lambs registered the largest average price rise across the lamb categories, up $28 to average $202. AuctionsPlus sold 85pc of the 3184 head offered.
AuctionsPlus sold 95pc of the 5678 composite/other breed lambs for $106-$201 to average $154, $1 down week-on-week. A highlight for the category was 2250 composite mixed sex store lambs sold in three lines at Branxholme, Victoria, that averaged 29.5kg lwt and made $145.
The National Sheep Sale consisted of 33,524 in 206 lots, led by central west NSW producers offering 6693 head offered. The 23,202 joined ewes accounted for 44pc of the total weekly offering.
Scanned in-lamb Merino ewes sold from $128-$316 and averaged $228, up $24. The initial clearance after the Tuesday sheep sale was 39pc, but post-sale negotiations lifted this to 62pc of the 7476 head offered.
Joined Merino ewes values followed a similar trajectory, making $90-$220 and averaging $177, up $44. The initial post-sale clearance rate of 65pc rose to 83pc for the 4405 head offered within 48 hours after the sale finished.
The 5332 scanned in-lamb composite/other breed ewes accounted for 10pc of the total offering. Demand for the category was robust, and 97pc were sold at $196-$360, to average $284, up $6. A line of 100 20 month-old composite ewes weighing 82kg lwt at Chiltern in Victoria sold for $360.
The 10,226 unjoined ewe made up 18pc of the total listings last week. Unjoined Merino ewe hoggets and ewes registered a drop in demand and price this week, as selective buying was prominent across the offering. Only 26pc of the 1514 unjoined Merino ewe hoggets offered sold, from $156-$200, to average $178, $4 down. AuctionsPlus sold 46pc of the 3229 unjoined Merino ewes listed for $65-$150, to average $121, $61 down.
Only 28pc of the 3265 unjoined composite/other breed ewes sold, from $16-$170, to average $167, up $12. AuctionsPlus sold 84pc of the 2218 unjoined shedding breed ewes for $165-$502, to average $278.
NOTE: Prices as at 5pm, Thursday 5th May 2022