LESS buyer competition at some major saleyards tempered the overall upward lamb price trend mid-week.
Rates lifted for light and trade new season lambs at some smaller New South Wales centres, but despite wet weather still hindering lamb turn-off, prices eased $3 at Wagga this week.
In Victoria, new season lamb availability was improved by an increased yarding at Horsham and 8400 young lambs at Ouyen, and rates paid by processors were mostly firm. Prices for old season trade lambs were firm to dearer in most saleyards as buyers sought to supplement orders.
Restockers continue to pay extreme rates for light lambs, over 650c/kg and up to 747c/kg cwt at Wagga.
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 676c/kg, up 5 cents; Merino 568c/kg, down 11c; light 603c/kg, down 8c; trade 624c/kg, down 5c and heavy 617c/kg, down 4c. The national trade lamb indicator closed down 6 cents to 627c/kg and the heavy indice was 4 cents lower on 619c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton was 5 cents down on 401c/kg and the national indicator closed down 5 cents to 398c/kg.
Cootamundra trade lambs $4-$10 dearer
In New South Wales at the Cootamundra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3900 lambs, 800 more than two weeks ago, and 1400 sheep, 500 fewer.
The NLRS said the lamb yarding included 2350 good quality new season lambs. There was a good run of new season lambs suitable for the restockers and fewer old lambs. All the usual buyers competed strongly, resulting in a dearer market.
Light new season lambs sold to restockers for $98-$108. Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs were $4-$10 dearer on the sale of a fortnight ago and averaged 630c-660c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weights sold from $140-$155. Heavy weight new season lambs made $158-$170, averaging 650c/kg. Trade old lambs were also dearer by $8 and averaged $132. Heavier grades sold from $146-$178.
Sheep quality was mixed. Medium first cross ewes were $9 dearer and averaged $110 or 450c/kg. Heavy first cross ewes averaged $132 and heavy Merino wethers sold from $126-$140.
Carcoar’s lambs firm to $8 dearer
At the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar, the agents yarded 3350 lambs, 150 more than last week, and 950 sheep, 350 fewer.
The NLRS said another week of wet weather kept numbers down. The fair quality yarding included a few lines of new season lambs in good condition and a couple of pens of heavy weight old lambs.
Lightweight lambs sold $8 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $65-$103. Trade lambs were firm to $3 dearer, with the 18-23kg 3 score new season lambs selling from $120-$158 to average 620-650c/kg. Trade weight old lambs sold from $113-$144. Heavy weight lambs were around firm, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $146-$170. A single pen of heavy weight new season lambs sold for $163. Trade weight Merino lambs sold for $110. Restockers paid to $112 and hoggets sold to $121.
Most grades of sheep sold $2-$5 dearer in the mixed yarding. The 2 score ewes sold from $60-$78. The better 3 and 4 score Merinos made $85-$104 and crossbreds sold to $130. Merino wethers sold to $110.
Yass lambs sell to $172.60
At the South Eastern Livestock Exchange at Yass on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8300 sheep and lambs, including 2500 new season lambs.
Delta Agribusiness agent Bill Frew said the yarding declined due to wet weather. Lamb quality was good.
New season lambs sold to $168 and averaged $133.27, or 620-630c/kg cwt. Fewer Merino lambs were offered. Old lambs sold to $172.60 and averaged $119.64.
Sheep prices were firm on last week, with heavier mutton lines making 350-370c/kg. Wethers sold-$126 and averaged $95.85. Ewes made-$144 and averaged $107.87.
Wagga’s new season trade lambs fall $3
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 4000 lambs, 11,550 fewer than last week, and 24,000 sheep, 18,540 more.
The NLRS said wet weather continued to restrict the flow of lambs and sheep into the selling centre. New season lamb quality was quite good and the supply lifted to just over 14,000 head.
Not all the usual export and domestic buyers attended. Restockers and lot feeders were active across lighter weight new season categories.
New season trade lambs were well-supplied, but without all buyers active the market lost the intensity of the previous sale and eased $3. The general run of trade lambs averaged 638c/kg, with the 20-22kg lambs making from $136-$158. Heavy new season lambs sold from $158-$175, to average 634c/kg.
Old trade lambs benefited from steady competition over all classes, but prices varied, with premiums paid for shorn lambs with shape. Heavy old lambs were in shorter supply and made $150-$195.
The mixed quality offering of sheep included a reasonable numbers of heavy drafts. Heavy sheep sold from $110-$146.20 to average 388-432c/kg. Trade sheep were keenly sought and made $78-$118.60. Light sheep generally sold from $54-$70.
Horsham trade lambs hit 650c/kg
In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 11,741 lambs, 5891 more than last week, and 2956 sheep, 3444 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb numbers doubled as the turn-off of young lambs started to build, with prices also enticing some producers to sell despite the wet conditions. The usual buyers operated in the very strong market, which auctioneers said showed a dearer trend. Most of the yarding was new season lambs, with only a few pens of old season lambs.
Heavy export young lambs sold to $177, with three pens over $170. Most of the young lambs were good trade weight types, 22-24kg, which consistently sold from $140-$162, to average around $150. On a carcase basis, rates hit 650c/kg for select trade weight pens. Most of the good slaughter lambs went from an estimated 585-630c/kg to average around 610c/kg. The medium and lighter domestic lambs sold to slaughter for $112-$132. Ballarat region restockers paid from $100-$120 for lambs.
Processor demand for sheep was robust. Full wool Merino ewes sold to $130 and most shorter- woolled ewes made $85-$120. A few pens of heavy crossbred ewes sold to $122. The good runs of Merino mutton averaged 400-420c/kg.
Hamilton’s old lambs lift $5-$10
At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 839 lambs, 97 more than last week, and 2421 sheep, 1094 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was mostly from plain to average, with some good pens. The usual buyers attended and showed more demand.
Prices for light old lambs were $3 dearer and the better quality finished lines were $5-$10 dearer. A pen of new season lambs sold for $120 at an estimated 610c/kg. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $76-$90 and light trade 2 scores made $91-$100, averaging 527c/kg. Medium trade 2 and 3 score old lambs made $100-$132 and heavy 3 and 4 scores sold from $133-$166. The better quality pens made 560-600c/kg, averaging an estimated 580c/kg.
A highlight of the sheep sale was some advertised well-bred young medium weight Merino wethers bought by a Horsham restocker for $91-$119.
In the mutton pens, heavy crossbred sheep sold firm to slightly lower. The light to medium weights lifted $3-$5 and the Merino mutton sold up $7 dearer in places. Very light 1 score sheep made from $46-$62 and light weight 1 and 2 scores sold from $58-$83. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $75-$94 and full wool ewes sold to $115 with carcase weight costs of 330-422c/kg. Merino ewe mutton averaged an estimated 410c/kg.
Heavy crossbred sheep 3 and 4 score sold from $95-$127 to average 365c/kg. Heavy weight 3 and 4 score Merino wethers made $105-$127 to average an estimated 420c/kg. A good quality line of Corriedale wethers sold from $116-$130 to average 470c/kg. The best of the rams sold from $85-$113.
Ouyen’s heavy lambs firm to $5 dearer
At the Ouyen saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 8400 new season lambs, 2274 old lambs and 1358 sheep.
Prices for heavy lambs were quoted as firm to $5 easier and trade lambs were firm on the last sale.
New season crossbred export weight lambs sold from $140-$182, or 560-600c/kg , trade lambs made $118-$152, or 580-620c/kg, and store lines sold for $90-$124. Light Merino sucker lambs made $88-$118.
Light sheep sold from $63-$100, or 380-410c/kg, and heavy sheep sold from $80-$130, or 370-400c/kg.
Katanning lambs lift by up to $20
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards, the agents yarded 4400 lambs, 2400 more than last week, and 5000 sheep, 1110 more.
The NLRS said new season lambs gained $3-$20, with light weight lines making $60-$77. Lambs suitable for air freight made $71-$90. The trade weight lambs sold for $99-$107. Heavy weight new season lambs made $106-$107.
Old season light weight lambs sold from $35-$60. Lambs suitable for air freight made $55 and heavier lines sold from $65-$105.
Ewes dominated the sheep yarding and sold firm. Wethers gained $2, with stronger demand from live export buyers. Young blue tag ewes sold from $41-$99, depending on quality. Sheep quality was good, with light ewes with a full fleece making $65-$75. Ewes sold to slaughter made $34-$79 and prime three score mutton sold from $70-$85.
Wethers sold strongly, with processors paying $53-$84. Restockers and feeders paid $38 for light plain wethers and up to $96 for large framed wethers. Wethers suitable for live export sold for $81-$106. Ram lambs made $30-$102 depending on size, and older rams sold for $5-$60 depending on age.
Warwick lambs sell to $163
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 643 lambs and hoggets, and 60 sheep.
The top-priced lambs in the sale, weighing 58kg lwt, made $163 for Moonie producers T.H. & T.M. Sullivan of ‘Biddybrook’.
Prices for the very small yarding of sheep and lambs were quoted as firm to a shade easier on last week’s rates.
Crossbred lambs weighing 51-55kg lwt sold from $144-$156, the 46-50kg lambs made $136-$149, 41-45kg lines sold from $128-$135 and 35-40kg lambs made $118-$131.50. Shorn crossbred hoggets weighing 46 Kg sold to $101.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.