UNJOINED ewe prices showed the most improvement on AuctionsPlus last week, with four out of five categories achieving average price increases.
This contrasted with mixed results across the other sheep and lamb categories, as the overall online offering dropped 8 percent to 91,887 head, largely due to a smaller offering of Merino wether lambs and scanned in-lamb Merino ewes.
AuctionsPlus sold 88pc of the 6444 unjoined Merino ewes offered for $110-$362 for an average of $267, up $47. Average prices for unjoined first cross ewes rose $18 to $290, but only 15pc of the 2558 offered were sold. Only 45pc of the 304 unjoined shedding breed ewes sold at $453-$461 for an average of $457, up $184, and 54pc of the 2557 unjoined composite/other breed ewes sold for $205-$313 to average $259, up $104. In contrast, 38pc of the 4151 unjoined Merino ewe hoggets made $147-$295 to average $252, down $13 on last week.
In the scanned-in lamb and joined ewes, only joined Merino and shedding breed ewes, and joined shedding ewes with lambs increased in price.
Lamb-feeding conditions improve
AuctionsPlus said with the recent run of dry days, with another fine and hot week forecast, conditions for finishing lambs have finally improved, with feed supplies ample across most regions heading into the final three weeks of summer.
Crossbred lambs made up 23pc of all AuctionsPlus sheep and lambs offered last week, with the 21,217 head selling to a very healthy 88% clearance rate. The average price for the category edged $3 higher on last week, to $159/head, with the low to high range considerably tighter than in previous weeks, ranging from $125 through to $189/head.
Prices for both shedding and Composite/other lamb categories contracted again this week, with the shedding lambs making $176-$507 to average $274, down $10, after the previous week’s large decline.
AuctionsPlus said the recent decline in the clearance rate for shedding lambs — at 57pc for the 3198 head offered last week — compared to clearance rates reaching above 85pc in the final sales of 2021. Composite/other lambs averaged $16 lower last week at $160, with an 88pc clearance rate for the 6752 head offered.
A smaller offering of Merino wether lambs helped their average price edge $9 higher to $142. First cross ewe lambs registered the largest decline for the six lamb categories this week, dropping $18 to average $223, with a subdued 59pc clearance rate for the 9020 head offered.
Matching the patchy lamb results, weekly averages across the joined ewe lines were also mixed this week. As the largest category, scanned in-lamb Merino ewes averaged $10 lower at $264, with a 56pc clearance rate for the 7298 head offered. Similarly, the average price of scanned in-lamb first cross ewes dropped $89 to $267, albeit, with a higher clearance rate.
NOTE: Prices as at 5pm, Thursday 10th February 2022