Mutton prices holding, but little joy for lamb producers

Terry Sim, August 18, 2014
Merino lambs sold at Ivanhoe last week through AuctionsPlus

Merino lambs sold at Ivanhoe last week through AuctionsPlus

Mutton values held their ground in the last eastern states saleyard sales last week, but lamb prices continued to slip.

Although expected rain helped AuctionsPlus move store stock, including,  large drafts of Merino lambs in New South Wales for between 470c/kg-500c/kg carcase weight earlier in the week.

Meat and Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service said the Mutton Index started the week at 333 cents, up two cents on last week; the Eastern States Trade Lamb Index finished at 474 cents, down three cents and the Heavy Lamb Index was at 477 cents, down five cents.

Griffth lamb prices fall $12-$15

In New South Wales at Griffith on Friday, agents yarded 12,100 lambs, down 2500 and 3600 sheep, down 1400 as rain loomed.

NLRS said lamb quality remained fair with good numbers of well finished lambs available along with the few plainer types. Prices fell $12-$15, and more in places, for the 7800 new season lambs penned for the usual buyers.

New season trade weight lambs sold from $97-$122 and the heavy and extra heavy weights ranged from $117-$141. Carcase prices averaged 477c/kg-507c/kg cwt.

Old trade weight lambs sold $4 to $6 easier, from $81-$111 and the heavy and extra heavy weights dropped $8-$12. Heavy lambs sold from $111-$124 and extra heavy weights made $120-$155.

Merino ewes sold from $77-$111 and Dorper made $75-$94. Merino wethers ranged from $75-$101.

Shepparton new season lambs in two weeks

In Victoria at Shepparton on Friday, agents yarded just 550 lambs, down 81, and 138 sheep, down 15 and quality was very plain. NLRS said there were no new season lambs offered, with recent price falls deterring locals from selling.

The few pens of better bred lambs weighing around 24kg to 25kg sold to a top of $125, with the bulk of the lambs selling from $66-$110. The better quality slaughter lambs ranged from an estimated 420c/kg-470c/kg cwt. Any secondary lambs, particularly those with long dry skins, were discounted. The overall lamb offering struggled to average 400c/kg cwt when the plainer lots were included.

Agents said they aim to have their first feature yarding of young lambs from the Goulburn Valley area in a fortnight’s time. The few pens of ewes offered sold from $56 to $85/head to average an estimated 280c/kg cwt.

AuctionsPlus sheep and lamb offering up

In contrast, AuctionsPlus said its sheep and lamb offering was up by 3000 to 40,389 head.

Market operations manager Tony Benson said well-grown unjoined young ewes out of western New South Wales were the flavour of the week, selling from $132 to a top of $150 for November shorn 15-month-olds weighing 51kg out of Hay.
Scanned young ewes sold from $82 to $96, unjoined mixed age lines made $60 to $75, and scanned old ewes sold from $88.50 to $101.
New season Merino wether lambs sold well, in particular out of western NSW while last year’s drop experienced a tougher job.

At Ivanhoe, April/May drop Greenfield & Collandra North Poll-blood woolly lambs weighing 36kg sold for $71 three different ways, and the second draft of 3780 head at 30kg made $61, to six different buyers.

BR and C agent, Mal Brady, for the wether lamb vendors AJ and VJ Lawrence, Burtundy Station, Ivanhoe, said the 5400 12.1kg-15.1kg carcase weight lambs averaged around $65, within a range of $61.50-$71.70. He said the season was starting to close in on the area, but the annual turn-off of wether lambs sold to mostly repeat buyers looking to grow out and shear them for May-June 2014 sale for slaughter. He said the Lawrences had been putting more emphasis on wool cut and muscle in their ram selection, but the expected rain also helped the sale.

AuctionsPlus also sold wether hoggets for from $52 to a top of $79 last week, for 45kg wethers with a big jacket out of Broken Hill, Mr Benson said.
“Store lambs were steady on last week’s prices.

First cross lambs 34kg-36kg sold from $92 to $94, and 39kg lambs made $93.50 to $102.50.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Sheep Central's news headlines emailed to you -