Lamb prices were firm or slightly dearer than the recent lower levels in saleyards on Friday, with all the centres selling yarding fewer lambs for reduced processor competition.
Large weekly falls in the National Livestock Reporting Service Eastern States Daily Indicators for restocker, light, Merino and trade lambs highlighted the downturn in restocking demand as the season dries, gets colder and processors hesitate to offer forward price signals. Demand for store lambs also softened on Auctions Plus.
Trade and heavy lamb indicators also had big weekly falls, reflecting the current selective or reduced processor demand and declining quality of some lines being offered.
After Friday’s saleyard sales, the lamb ESDIs were: Restocker 487c/kg, down one cent daily, down 31c weekly; Merino 430c/kg, up 8c, down 18c; light 458c/kg, up 1c, down 31c; trade 483c/kg, down 2c, down 21c; heavy 500c/kg, no change, down 13c. The national trade lamb indicator closed at 496c/kg, down one cent, and the heavy indices finished unchanged on 501c/kg.
The NLRS mutton indicators gained two cents on Friday, with the ESDI on 319c/kg and the national indices on 318c/kg.
More interest in breeding stock on Auctions Plus
Auctions Plus market operations officer Tom Rookyard said sheep and lamb numbers rose this week by 20,000 head to 71,153. Breeding stock attracted most of the bidding activity, as scattered showers dotted the eastern states.
Scanned in lamb (SIL) mixed aged Merino ewes received consistent bidding across the market with an average of $107. Two lines from Wellington NSW scanned in lamb (SIL) to White Suffolks made $125 and $110.50. However, it was a line of 5-6 year-old Ridgway Advance blood ewes also SIL to White Suffolks from Bordertown SA, that topped the sale at $136.50.
Merino ewe hoggets averaged $97, making from $70 to a top price of $131 for 60kg liveweight unjoined ewes with a 5cm skin from Loxton SA. The smaller offering of ewe lambs averaged $65 with a top to $80.50. A large offering of Merino wether lambs averaged $57 with the top price of $80 being for 40kg lwt Belbourie blood lambs from Marnoo, Victoria.
Shedding breed ewe lambs averaged $100.50, with a top price of $140 for 41kg lwt 5-7 month-old F3 and F4 Australian Whites just off the shearing board at Dubbo in NSW.
Store lamb prices soften
Store lambs this week softened with lambs weighing 27kg-30kg lwt making from $60 to $68, with an average of $64 or 519c/kg cwt. Lambs weighing 34-36kg averaged $76 or 528c/kg cwt and made from $65.50-$85.50. The heaviest store lambs offered made $95-$105.50 with an average of $101 or 548c/kg cwt. The highlight a line of 41kg Poll Dorset cross lambs from Bookham NSW that made $105.50.
Griffith lambs firm to dearer
In NSW, at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8600 sheep, 93 fewer than last week, and 2300 sheep, 220 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to the previous sale, with well-finished and plainer lambs. The usual buyers competed in a firm to slightly dearer market.
Light lambs lifted $5 to sell from $87-$96. Trade weights were firm to $4 better, from $92-$119. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were $3-$4 better. Heavy lambs sold from $118-$132 and extra heavy weights sold from $131-$174. Carcase prices averaged from 486-530c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was very mixed. Prices remained fairly similar to last week. Merino ewes sold from $71-$101. Crossbreds reached $102 and Dorper ewes sold from $66-$105.
Cowra rates general firm
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 4000 lambs, 1900 fewer than last week, and 1100 sheep, 200 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality varied. The heavy grades were in good condition, while the remainder tended to lack finish and showed signs of dryness. Mainly heavy weights were penned, and a few trade weights and stores. Not all buyers operated and competition was sound, resulting in a generally firm market which was dearer in places.
Light lambs to the processors averaged $86 and store lambs sold from $42-$88. Medium and heavy trade weights were $1 dearer and averaged 514c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weight lambs sold from $110-$118. Heavy weights were firm and up to $7 dearer for the extra heavy weight lambs and averaged from 500-530c/kg cwt. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $165-$170. Mutton quality was generally good. Prices stayed steady, with medium weight Merino ewes averaging from $61-$73 or 293c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes averaged $100, or 306c/kg cwt.
Processor demand subdued at Shepparton
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 1434 lambs, 508 fewer, and 558 sheep, 58 less.
The NLRS said a smaller and very mixed yarding of lambs and sheep was presented to buyers as the weaker markets of the past week deterred producers from selling. Demand from processors was subdued with only a small field of buyers operating. Agents passed some pens in. The market was softer, but prices were similar to the lower prices now being quoted at most southern saleyards.
The market reached a top of $150 for some small pen lots of extra heavy export lambs. The lamb yarding mostly comprised mixed lots of light trade and light weight lambs selling sold from $80-$110 to slaughter. Plainer and very small lambs sold from $49-$66, with a couple of regular restocking orders picking through the selection. Carcase prices on the plainer lambs ranged from about 430-470c/kg.
A limited selection of extra heavy export lambs sold to $150 to average around 450c/kg cwt, but these were lots containing just 2-10 head. Some pens of more appealing 24-26kg cwt lambs sold from $125-$137, at around 480-500c/kg cwt.
The mutton market also showed a softer trend, although a few pen of extra heavy crossbred ewes made $100-$105. The general run of slaughter ewes sold from $58-$85, with the mixed quality and small pen lots resulting in some varied carcase prices.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.
HAVE YOUR SAY