Mutton prices finished last week on a rising plane as buyers scrambled to fill orders from dwindling saleyard and AuctionsPlus offerings.
Lamb prices also held ground, mainly for quality, but still underpinned by active restockers and relatively firm despite more dry and seed-affected lambs in consignments.
The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Easter States Trade Lamb Indicator at 457c/kg cwt last Friday, up one cent, and the heavy lamb indice was at the same level, down two cents.
The ES mutton indicator finished the week on 291c/kg cwt, up three cents on Thursday. The national mutton indicator was at 290c/kg cwt, up two cents on the day before, and 17 cents above its point a week ago.
The national lamb indicators were also generally in a positive trend, except for restocker lambs, down one cent to 455c/kg cwt and heavy lambs, down two cents to 454c/kg cwt. The other lamb indices are: Merinos 395c/kg cwt, up two cents; light 425c/kg, up 2c, and; trade 455 up 1c.
The NLRS said the skin market remained fairly steady week-on-week, though reports suggest there are increasing numbers of seed and burr affected lambs coming forward.
National sheep and lamb supplies drop
On October 29, the NLRS reported that national lamb supply, fell six percent below the previous week to 121,771 head, largely due to throughput declines in NSW of 28pc to 35,192 and in WA of 17pc to 4500. Consignments in SA lifted 8pc, to 33,340, while numbers in Victoria were similar week-on-week, at 47,765.
National sheep supply was 12pc lower, at 39,789 head, with all states except WA yarding smaller numbers.
AuctionsPlus numbers drop
AuctionsPlus said sheep numbers continued to ease last week, with the web-based selling platform offering 45, 595, 2932 fewer than last week.
There were plenty of crossbred lambs on offer last week, although prices across the board eased slightly by $3-$5. The 29-30kg liveweight lambs sold from $61.50-$68 and 31-33kg lines made $67-$73. The 35-35kg lwt lines averaged $75 within a range of $65-$78.50, whereas the 38-39kg lwt lots made $80-$90.50. The 40-42kg lwt lambs sold from $85-$93. A line of first cross June/July drop mixed sex lambs from Junee weighing 47kg and a 1.75” skin sold for $99.
Merino wether lambs this week ranged from $58.50-$71.50 on AuctionsPlus last week, with hoggets averaging $51.50, and a top line of 17-18 month-old Goolgumbla blood wether hoggets from Euroa made $73. Unjoined 17-18 month-old Ridgway Advance blood Merino ewes off the board sold from $82.50 to a top of $150 at Bordertown.
First cross ewes received solid prices this week with 10-11 month-old 28kg cwt ewe lambs out from Nyngan making $160 and older unjoined 34kg cwt ewes from Wallandbeen going for $146.
Mutton prices rise at Cowra
In NSW at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 10,100 lambs, 3100 more than last week, and 1420 sheep, 170 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was excellent, with plenty of well-finished lambs. There were mainly trade and heavy lambs penned and mostly new seasons, with limited old lamb supplies. There was a handy supply of store lambs suitable for restockers. All buyers operated and competition was solid, resulting in a firm market.
Light restocking lambs averaged from $76-$87. Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs were firm and averaged from 463c/kg-480c/kg cwt. The better quality heavy trade weight new season lambs sold from $104-$110.
Heavy weight new season lambs were firm to $1 cheaper and averaged from 430c/kg-445c/kg cwt. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $130-$136. Old heavy lambs averaged from $106 and the extra heavy weights averaged $119.
Mutton numbers stayed steady and quality was very good. Medium weight Merino ewes averaged $60 or 253c/kg cwt. Heavy weight first cross ewes were $10 dearer and averaged $80 or 255c/kg cwt.
Lambs $2-$4 dearer at Griffith
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 3650 lambs, 4150 fewer than last week, and 2500 sheep, 2000 fewer.
The NLRS said numbers halved as harvest began in the drawing area. There were 2100 new season lambs penned and quality continued to be mixed. More lambs in the yarding showed signs of dryness, though there were still a few pens of better quality lambs offered. Most of the usual buyers competed in a dearer market.
Light new season lambs lifted $3 to sell from $76-$97. Trade weight lambs sold $2-$4 better, from $97-$116. Heavy and extra heavy lambs were also $3-$4 dearer. Heavy lambs sold from $116-$125 and extra heavy lambs received from $127-$132. Carcase prices averaged from 475c/kg-491c/kg cwt.
Old trade weight lambs sold from $82 to $105/head. Heavy lambs ranged in price from $109-$116 and extra heavy lambs received from $119-$130.
Mutton numbers were made up of mostly Merinos and quality was similar to the previous sales. Prices lifted slightly with Merino ewes selling from $72-$102. Crossbred ewes sold from $80-$100. Merino wethers made $86-$112.
Sheep $10-$12 dearer at Shepparton
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 4950 lambs, 313 fewer than last week, and 1850 sheep, 30 more, for a good following of buyers.
The NLRS said quality remained mixed, but lambs overall were a little better despite many showing dryness. Demand was strongest for sheep, up $10-$12, and most lambs sold at firm levels with light restocking 2 score lambs $4 dearer.
Light weight 2 score lambs made $60-$78, with restockers paying $62-$90 and up to $96 for trade weights. Light trade weight 2 and 3 score lambs to processors sold from $75-$93. Medium to heavy weight 3 score trade lambs sold from $87-$110. The better quality made 420c/kg-470c/kg, while the drier lambs were from 380c/kg-430c/kg cwt.
The best quality lambs yarded were heavy 4 score export weight lines that made from $110-$129, with a pen of extra heavy 5 scores at $130. They ranged from 420c/kg-470c/kg cwt and averaged 455c/kg cwt. Heavy weight hoggets followed the dearer sheep trend and made $65-$90.
There was a big spread in sheep weights with the mainly 2 to 5 score ewe selection mostly from 250c/kg-290c/kg cwt. The light weight 1 and 2 score ewes sold from $32-$50, while medium weight 2 and 3 scores were from $50-$74. Heavy 3 to 5 score ewes and the few wethers made $65-$85 with a pen of 4 score Merino ewes at $92.50. Heavy weight rams sold from $25-$50 for the 2 to 4 scores and down to $10 for 1 scores.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.