STORE lamb prices rebounded this week and processors also bought secondary lines, despite some buyers reporting ample direct supplies.
Prices for restocker, Merino and light lambs lifted the most, supported by demand for the coming Greek Easter celebrations in early May, according to the National Livestock Reporting Service.
Supermarket Coles also this week released its June lamb contracts of 580-600c/kg for 18-25kg lambs delivered to Gundagai and Brooklyn, putting a floor in forward prices.
At Hamilton in Victoria some light lambs sold up $20 higher than last week, and at Wagga in New South Wales, suitable restocker and light lambs were $6 dearer.
All NLRS indicators higher
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS quoted all Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb and mutton as higher. The ESDIs for for lamb are: restocker 503c/kg, up 15 cents; Merino 481c/kg, up 9c; light 506c/kg, up 8c; trade 518c/kg, up 2c; heavy 514c/kg, up 4c. The national trade lamb indicator rose 3 cents to 518c/kg and the heavy indice is on 514c/kg, up 5 cents.
The ESDI and national mutton indicators finished 2-3c/kg higher at 318c/kg.
Carcoar’s light lambs lift $5
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 12,025 lambs, 25 more than last week, and 5325 sheep, 825 fewer.
The NLRS said quality was plainer, with most of the lambs lacking finish. Store lambs were best supplied, followed by trade lines, some of which were in excellent condition. Heavy lambs were in limited supply. Restockers and feeder orders were active on the secondary lines.
All the usual buyers were active in a slightly cheaper trade market. Light processing lambs were $5 dearer with strong competition from restockers and sold from $65-$94. Restocking and feeder lambs ranged from $53-$123. The medium and heavy trade weights were $1-$2 cheaper, with the better lambs selling from $105-$126, to average 505c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs lost $1 to $118-$138, averaging 495c/kg. The few extra heavy lambs topped at $144 and the best of the hoggets made $110.
Mutton quality varied and prices were back $7-$9 for most lines. Medium weight ewes sold from $55-$75. Heavy cross bred ewes made to $100 and woolly Merino wethers $104. Most ranged from 290c-320c/kg cwt.
Wagga’s drier lambs also in demand
The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed, owing to the dry seasonal conditions. Grain-fed and lambs finished on lucerne attracted the best competition, but demand was also solid for the plainer types. Not all buyers, major export or domestic processors, operated fully due to good supplies of over-the-hook lambs.
Well-finished trade lambs commanded premium prices, while drier types were also keenly sought. Generally, trade lambs were $4 dearer, mostly making 513-528c/kg. Lighter weight lambs suitable for processors restockers and feedlots sold to strong competition due to the forthcoming Greek Easter celebrations, with some sales $6 dearer. Merino trade lambs were keenly sought, with a single pen igniting the bidding at $138, and most made 457-496c/kg. Recently shorn lambs returning to the paddock sold to $108.
There were fewer heavy and extra heavy lambs, but plenty of weight and yield was offered to processors, with reasonable numbers over 30kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold from $134-$142, to average 511c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to stronger bidding as the sale progressed and prices lifted $7 to $140-$188.20, averaging 492c/kg.
The mixed quality sheep included all weights and grades represented. Demand fluctuated over crossbred categories, while Merino sheep sold to stronger bidding. Medium and heavy Merino mutton sold $3-$4 higher, while crossbred ewes were $4-$9 cheaper. Heavy ewes made from $90-$116, or mostly 300-332c/kg. Trade sheep sold to spirited bidding at $66-$114, averaging 325c/kg. Plain light weight ewes were keenly sought at $53-$68.
Hamilton’s light lambs lift $3-$6
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6154 lambs, 2960 more than last week, and 3199 sheep, 1355 less.
The NLRS said the usual buyers attended, but not all operated, and they were very selective on the mixed quality offering. There were a number of pens of very good quality lambs, but the yarding dropped off into plainer and light weight lambs ideal for restockers.
Heavy lambs were firm to $3 dearer, medium trade lambs were unchanged and light lambs lifted $3-$6. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $58-$95 and light trade weights made $93-$104. South Australian agents and local restockers paid mostly $61-$91 for 2 scores and from $15-$65 for very light 1 scores, making store lambs up to $20 dearer. The 3 score medium trade lambs sold from $102-$127 and averaged an estimated 530c/kg. Heavier trade lambs made $124-$144, or 510-520c/kg.
The sheep were mostly average to very plain in quality, with some good lines of better covered crossbred ewes. They sold from unchanged to $2-$3 higher, especially for the more conditioned mutton.
Light 1 and 2 score sheep made $25-$67 and medium weight 2-3 scores sold from $58-$76. Woolly Merino ewes made $89 and mutton averaged 315c/kg. The heavy 3 and 4 sores made from $75-$100, to average close to 285c/kg. A local restocker paid $64 for a line of 165 crossbred ewes, as producers sold due to the continuing dry conditions. Other simular sized lines went to processors. Merino wethers of medium weight sold from $69-$91, or close to 320c/kg. Rams of all breeds sold from $50-$78. The best 3 score hoggets made from $84-$112.
Horsham lambs firm
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4585 lambs, 1840 fewer than last week, and 987 sheep, 162 less.
The NLRS said lamb numbers were back as the selling season winds up and cropping program are about to start. Quality was average to good, with most of the regular buyers operating in a generally firm lamb market.
The better domestic lambs sold to $138 and heavy lambs made to $168. Several lots of well-presented Merino lambs sold to strong competition, with heavier lots making $102-$139 and averaging around 500c/kg. Lighter lots made from $60-$81. Feeders and restockers paid from $86.50-$116 for lambs.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $63-$91. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $85-$115 and averaged around 530c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $114-$125 and heavier drafts made $125-$138, or 500-570c/kg, to average around 525c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $137-$155, with the few pens of extra heavy lambs making $164-$168, to average 475c/kg. Heavy hoggets sold to $124.
The sheep included all weights and grades, and generally sold a few dollars either side of firm. Full wool Merino ewes made to $107 and shorn Merino wethers sold to $91. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $51-$93. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $56-$107, or 250-360c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 330c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score sheep made $75-$96. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $91 and the medium weights made to $65.50. Rams sold from $38-$66.50.
Katanning sheep and lambs sell firm
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6666 lambs, 1059 more than last week, and 6000 sheep, 1000 more.
The NLRS said all categories in the mixed quality sheep and lamb yarding at Katanning sold firm, except for young Merino ewes and wethers which were $5-$10 dearer due to grazier demand.
Light weight lambs sold from $80-$95 and trade weights made $97-$102. Heavy weight lambs sold for $108-$116. Store crossbred lambs sold to restockers and feeders from $36 for the light and immature lines to up to $96 for the almost-finished or bigger frame lambs. Merino store lambs sold from $30 for the plainer lambs up to $78 for better quality lambs.
Good young Merino ewes sold to $96 to restockers. Light ewes sold from $32-$71. Boner ewes with a fleece made $62-$81, while the better 3 score mutton with a fleece sold from $65-$92. Wethers sold to restockers and feeders for from $66 for light plain types up to $101 for the quality lines. Wethers sold to processors for $100. Young rams sold from $32-$68 to restockers and processors paid $49-$75 for young rams and only $5-$15 for old rams.
Warwick market cheaper
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday the agents yarded 2051 lambs and hoggets, and 629 sheep.
The market was quoted as cheaper for all descriptions in the smaller yarding of lambs and larger sheep offering.
The top-priced crossbred lambs made $130 for Durong producers W. & D. Schulz of ‘Kemsdale’.
Crossbred 51-55kg lwt lambs sold for $107-$130, the 46-50kg lambs made $116-$122, 41-45kg lines sold from $90-$121 and the 35-40kg lambs made $84-$96.
Shorn crossbred hoggets 58kg lwt sold to $101. Heavy crossbred ewes with $5 skins sold to $83, or 300c/kg cwt, and light ewes with $3 skins made to $45, or 205c/kg.
Tasmanian restockers pay up to $112 for lambs
At the northern Tasmanian saleyards at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday, agents yarded 975 lambs, 725 fewer than last week, and 900 sheep, 200 less, following the Anzac long week-end.
The NLRS said the lamb market was similar in most parts, with restockers prominently paying $70-$90 for light trade lambs, $90-$105 for medium trade lambs and up to $112 for heavy lambs.
Exporters paid $58-$60 for light lambs and domestic wholesalers paid $70-$91 for light trade pens. Trade lambs made $90-$118, heavy lines $100-$121 and extra heavy drafts $120-$121. Competition was strong for most mutton, although heavy ewes averaged up to $9 cheaper. Very light ewes made $20-$42, light $41-$74, medium $65-$83 and heavy $65-$72.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.