Lamb buyers were able to pull saleyard rates back mid-week as yardings increased in all states this week.
Increasing weight in lambs and seasonal conditions is pushing more lambs into saleyards in all states, with processors and restockers able to discount plainer lines and secure supplies at $3-$15 less than last week.
Mutton prices were firm to dearer in most saleyards, lifting by up to $17 for heavy sheep at Wagga.
All NLRS lamb indicators head down
The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted all its Eastern States Daily Indicators as down from 3-8 cents for the lamb categories, with only the ES and national mutton rates holding ground at 368c/kg, down just one cent.
After Thursday’s saleyard sales the ESDIs for lambs were: restocker, 519c/kg, down 8 cents; Merinos 478c/kg, down 6c; light 497c/kg, down 3c; trade 524c/kg, down 4c, and; heavy 529c/kg, down 6c.
The national trade lamb indicator was down six cents to 524c/kg and the heavy indice was down seven cents to 529c/kg.
Carcoar’s trade lambs $11-$15 cheaper
In NSW at Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9500 lambs, 2700 more than last week, and 4050 sheep, 1250 more.
The NLRS said the mixed yarding of lambs had some good lines of trade and heavy weights, and a fair percentage of light weights. Not all the regular buyers operated in a tougher market.
Lightweight lambs to the processors were $3 cheaper and those to restockers were up to $12 easier. The 12-18kg cwt 2 score lambs sold from $66-$85, while the restocker lambs sold from $79-$112. Trade lambs were $11-$15 cheaper, with the 18-22kg 3 scores making $72-$118 to average 505c/kg cwt.
Heavy weight lambs were $10-$13 cheaper, with the exception of the extra heavy weights which were firm. Over 22kg 4 scores sold from $96-$170. Hoggets sold to $110.
The sheep were principally good quality. The few lightweight ewes were a little cheaper while the balance were fully firm to $2 dearer. The 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $68-$120 for crossbreds and $108 for Merinos. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $80-$128.
Wagga’s heavy mutton lifts by up to $17
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 16,000 lambs, 3000 more than last week, and 7000 sheep, 3000 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very good, with plenty of weight in the offering. Trade lambs were in reasonable supply and quality was very good, with more supplementary-fed drafts. Competition for well-finished trade lambs lacked the intensity of the previous week, while plainer lambs needing finish were keenly sought by restockers and feedlot operators. The usual contingent of domestic and export buyers were competing in a fluctuating market.
Well-finished heavy trade lambs sold to weaker demand, with major domestic processors sporadic with their purchases. Most of the heavy trade lambs eased $8 to average 536c/kg cwt. Trade lambs, 20-22kg cwt, were in limited supply and prices were generally $6 cheaper, from $110-$131. There was limited numbers of trade Merino lambs, which sold $5-$10 cheaper, making from $94-$123. Well-bred secondary lambs returning to the paddock made from $72-$114.
There were more heavy export lambs with plenty weighing above 30kg cwt. Heavy lambs made from $133-$145 to average 525c/kg cwt. Most of the extra heavy lambs sold from $141-$185, averaging 526c/kg cwt.
Mutton quality was mixed, with all weights and grades represented. Medium grades of mutton suitable for the trade were in reasonable numbers and prices were firm to $7 dearer, ranging from 396-423c/kg cwt. There were fewer heavy sheep and demand strengthened with robust competition from a major northern processor, resulting in a dearer trend of $17. Heavy sheep made from $105-$132. The smaller offering of medium and heavy Merino wethers sold from $90-$126, to average 413c/kg.
Hamilton trade lambs $5-$7 cheaper
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards, the agents yarded 13,376 lambs, 2304 more than last week, and 5561 sheep, 1706 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality increased, with many lines in the medium weight range. All the regular buyers were present, plus an export processor. Store buyers took the opportunity to purchase unfinished lambs.
Light lambs were $5-$10 cheaper in places, with light 1 and 2 score, 12-18kg cwt lambs making $54-$100, averaging 540c/kg cwt. Medium trade 3 score lambs, 18-22kg, were $5-$7 cheaper, returning $106-$120 and averaging 530c/kg. The heavy 4 score lambs sold from $120-$163, making from 490-510c/kg.
Mutton demand increased for the mixed quality yarding that contained more light sheep, resulting in a dearer trend throughout the market. Light weight sheep, 1 and 2 score, sold from $45-$74, to be $5-$6 dearer. Medium trade mutton, 2 and 3 score, sold from unchanged to be $2-$3 dearer, making from $72-$92 and averaging 360c/kg cwt. Heavy export sheep prices increased dramatically to be up to $10-$12 dearer and reaching $116. Best Merino wethers, 3 and 4 score, sold from $96-$115, ranging from 370-400c/kg.
Horsham lambs $2-$8 cheaper
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9491 lambs, 267 more than last week, and 2314 sheep, 488 more.
The NLRS said most of the trade weight and heavy lambs were of good quality. Most of the usual buyers operated in a cheaper market, with lambs generally selling $2-$8 cheaper.
Extra heavy export lambs reached a market top of $179. Buyers were more selective and the plainer trade weight lambs were not as keenly sought. Merino lambs in near full wool sold to $115. Restocking activity was limited, with the few lots selling from $82-$105.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $77-$88. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $84-$111. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $108-$136, ranging from 490-550c/kg cwt to average about 520c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $124-$163.50 and averaged about 515c/kg. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $156-$179.
Sheep quality was good and most sold around last week’s higher levels, but up to $5 dearer in places. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $55-$80.50. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $68-$97, from 330-410c/kg cwt to average about 380c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $96-$115, with heavy Merino wethers making $89-$110 and the medium weights selling from $78-$96 to average about 370-380c/kg cwt.
Mt Gambier trade lambs up $5
In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2346 lambs, 1222 more than last week, and 156 sheep, 221 fewer.
The NLRS said the usual buyers paid generally firm prices across the market. Light weight lambs to the trade ranged from $90-$100, with light weight 2 and 3 score trade lambs ranging from $102-$110, to be firm in price. Restockers paid from $92-$108. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $106-$127, up $5 and averaging 510c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs sold mainly from $125-$148, with one pen reaching $163.
Light weight ewes sold to $45, medium weights ranged from $63-$85 and heavy weight types made from $80-$111. Hoggets sold to $113 and rams to $42.
Katanning lambs firm to $8 dearer
In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 10,000 lambs, 5914 more than last week, and 13,023 sheep, 2196 more.
The NLRS said the push to turn-off sheep and lambs precedes forthcoming seeding programs. It was a fair to average quality yarding, mainly comprising mutton and store lambs, along with several drafts of well-finished light heavy and trade lambs.
Competition was solid from a full field of buyers, with prices generally firm to slightly dearer on most types. Air freight lambs were the most keenly sought after and sold a good $5 dearer. The very light store lambs were mostly Merinos that made $18-$60 to restockers and feeders. Air freight lambs, 15-18kg cwt, made from $60-$98, to be $8 dearer. Trade lambs, 18-22kg, were up $5, with most making $76-$126. The heavy lambs were firm to slightly easier and sold to a top of $125.
Hoggets were firm and mainly sold to the trade, from $65-$100. Ewe prices again lifted by $5 on the light and medium weights. The Light boner ewes made $35-$79. The 2 score processor mutton made from $65-$89. The better 3 and 4 score mutton sold to $102.
Wether prices remained firm. Better export wethers sold from $85-$100. Store wether drafts made $35-$70. Rams sold to solid competition, with ram lambs making to $105 and older rams selling to processors for $30-$60.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.