QUALITY trade and heavy new season lamb prices held firm at around 600c/kg in saleyards early this week, despite buyers generally valuing skins lower.
Strong domestic market demand also lifted prices closer to 600c/kg for better quality trade old lambs in some saleyards, especially for supplementary-fed and crop-finished lines.
The 18.1-22kg trade weight new season lambs in New South Wales saleyards ranged from 509-673c/kg and heavier lines made 575-670c/kg, reflecting strong exporter inquiry.
The National Livestock Reporting Service also quoted light lambs as selling strongly, with lines up to 18kg making over 700c/kg at Forbes in NSW and at the South Australian Livestock Exchange in Dublin.
Meat and Livestock Australia’s market information manager Ben Thomas said exports up to August were up one percent year-on-year and kill rates have remained quite high.
“So there is not any indication of supplies dropping dramatically.
“The Aussie dollar has also continued to weaken over the course of the year and with over 60pc of lamb being exported that puts us in a pretty good position.”
Mr Thomas said mutton was also in a strong position with the Eastern States Daily Indicator reaching 387 cents yesterday. About 95 percent of Australia’s mutton is exported.
At Dubbo on Monday, the 12.1-18kg cwt new season lambs with $1-$8 skins made $92-$118, or 544-680c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade weight lines with $1-$12 skins sold from $108-$153, or 516-650c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lambs with $11-$12 skins ranged from $149-$171, or 575-654c/kg.
At Corowa on Monday, light new season lambs with $2-$10 skins ranged from $85-$125, or 507-731c/kg. The trade weights with $2-$12 skins made $115-$155, or 509-668c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $3-$12 skins sold for $150-$168, or 588-644c/kg. Extra heavy weight 26.1-30kg lambs with $12 skins made $176.20, or 608c/kg.
At Tamworth on Monday, 12.1-18kg cwt young lambs with $1-$8 skins sold from $75-$106, or 563-577c/kg. Trade weights with $1-$10 skins made $116-$150, or 575-671c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $1-$10 skins ranged from $148-$165, or 592-639c/kg.
On Tuesday at Forbes, the 0-18kg cwt young lambs with $1-$11 skins made $70-$116, or 443-780c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade lines with $1-$11 skins sold from $116-$159, or 563-673c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lambs with $9-$12 skins made $150-$170, or 588-670c/kg. A line of 26.1-30kg lambs with $11 skins sold for $175, or 619c/kg.
In Victoria at Bendigo on Monday, the 12.1-18kg cwt new season lambs with skin values up to $7 made $64-$112, or 429-625c/kg and the trade weights with $6-$10 skins ranged from $103-$145.20, or 524-628c/kg. The 22.1-26kg lambs with $8-$10 skins made $142-$165.60, or 578-622c/kg.
In Ballarat on Tuesday, 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $1-$7 skins sold from $92-$118, or 594-627c/kg. The trade weights with $1-$8 skins made $110-$148, or 574-640c/kg and 22.1-24kg kg lambs with $8 skins sold for $160, or 647c/kg.
At the SA Livestock Exchange in Dublin on Tuesday, light new season lambs up to 18kg cwt with $1-$8 skins made $60-$109, or 444-1029c/kg. The 18.1-22kg young lambs with $3-$8 skins sold from $95-$130, or 458-615c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $7-$10 skins ranged from $125-$145, or 504-565c/kg.
At Naracoorte on Tuesday, 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $2-$8 skins sold from $65-$108, or 394-589c/kg. The trade weight lambs with $8-$11 skins made $116-$133, or 523-581c/kg, and 22.1-24kg lambs with $8 skins sold for $142, or 558c/kg.
In Western Australia at Muchea on Tuesday, the light new season lambs with $1-$2 skins sold from $75.50-$106.50, or 488-636c/kg. The 18.1-22kg lines with $1-$3 skins made $94-$128, or 465-605c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lambs with $3-$4 skins ranged from $128-$143.50, or 522-569c/kg.
Over-the-hook lamb rates lift in Victoria and NSW
In NSW, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook rates for 2-4 score lamb as slightly higher, with a firm to dearer saleyard market trend last week. Trade lamb rates lifted 2 cents to 530-600c/kg and 22kg-plus lambs moved 2-3 cents higher to 560-600c/kg. Merino lambs 16-22kg cwt are firm on 400-540c/kg.
Mutton rates were unchanged across all weight categories at 270-400c/kg.
In Victoria, the NLRS said there were some upward adjustments to light and trade weight lamb over-the-hook indicators this week, with 16-18kg lambs lifting 7 cents to 580-620c/kg and 18-22kg lambs up 5 cents to 600-625c/kg. The 22-26kg-plus heavy weights were firm on 585-620c/kg and the 16-22kg Merinos were unchanged on 480-490c/kg. Mutton indicators were 3 cents dearer across all categories at 320-370c/kg.
In South Australia, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb indicators as unchanged week-on-week, with trade weight categories averaging 595c/kg cwt. Light 16-18kg lambs held at 580c/kg and 18-24kg lamb ranged from 580-625c/kg. The 24kg-plus lamb is priced at 580-585c/kg and Merinos 16-22kg are at 530-570c/kg.
Due to a contributor re-commencing to quote for mutton, the NLRS said no trend will be reported this week, but reported prices are 240-360c/kg.
In South Australia, over-the-hook rates were quoted as unchanged, with 0-18kg lamb at 540-600c/kg, and 18-26kg-plus carcases at 580-600c/kg. Mutton rates are also unchanged at 310-360c/kg.
The Western Australian rates were not available at the time this report was published.
NLRS Merino and light lamb indicators improve
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators from lamb were: restocker 577c/kg, down 7 cents; Merino 551c/kg, up 5c; light 552c/kg, up 5c; trade 602c/kg, up 1c, and; heavy599c/kg, down 2c. The national trade lambs indicator is firm on 602c/kg and the heavy indice finished at 599c/kg, down 2c. The national mutton indicator is on 383c/kg, up 1 cent.
Dubbo’s new season trade weight lambs lift $4-$5
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 32,680 lambs, 7210 more than last week, and 7270 sheep, 1115 more.
The NLRS said it was a good quality yarding, with good numbers of prime old lambs and new season lambs. Merino lambs were also well-supplied. All the regular buyers competed in a solid market.
Trade weight new season lambs were $4-$5 dearer at $107-$154, averaging 616c/kg cwt. Over 24kg cwt young lambs sold from $162-$171. Light weight lambs were firm, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $72-$111.
Trade weight old lambs were $4 dearer at $111-$149, averaging 595c/kg. Heavy weight lambs were firm to $3 dearer, with the over 22kg cwt 4 scores making $133-$199. Merino lambs were $2-$5 dearer, with the trade weights selling from $105-$149 and heavy weights making to $179.
It was a mixed quality yarding of mutton where most grades finished firm. The 2 score ewes sold from $51-$78. The better 3 and 4 score Merinos made $74-$128 and the crossbreds sold to $126. The 3 and 4 score wethers sold from $86-$130.
Corowa’s old trade lambs lift $8-$10
At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 11,198 lambs, 4223 more than last week, and 3367 sheep, 614 more.
The NLRS said the yarding included 6700 mainly good quality trade weight new season lambs, with some old lambs. A strong field of buyers attended and demand remained steady, with some local restocker activity as well.
New season lamb prices were unchanged, with medium and heavy trade weights selling from $115-$154, or around 620-640c/kg cwt. Heavier 4 score lambs sold from $150-$176.20, or around 600c/kg.
Old light trade weight and medium trade weight 2 score lambs were $8-$10 dearer, at about 585c/kg. The 3 and 4 score medium and heavy old trade lambs eased $2-$4 to $119-$153, or 575-595c/kg. The top pen of old extra heavy lambs made $164.
It was a mixed penning of sheep, comprised heavy crossbred and Merino ewes, and wethers, plus light weights. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $52-$75, $1-$3 cheaper. Medium mutton, 2 and 3 score, sold from $72-$102, to be $4-$6 dearer and at an estimated average of 400c/kg cwt. The heavier 3 to 5 score crossbred sheep sold from $105-$128 and the best of the Merino wethers made $108-$126, or around 440c/kg. A pen of Merino ewes with full wool sold at $130, topping the sheep market.
Tamworth’s young lambs lift $4
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3000 lambs, 500 more than last week, and 650 sheep, 350 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb numbers increased from last week’s rain-reduced offering. The quality of the lambs was mixed; comprising a fair supply of good quality young lambs along with several pens of Merino’s and some well-finished old lambs. There were more Dorpers. The annual show sale to be held next week may have held some very good quality young lambs back. The usual buyers attended and supply concerns increased demand. This created a dearer market trend in the lambs.
Well-finished young lambs to the trade were up to $4 dearer. The heavy young lambs were only slightly dearer. Good quality old lambs also sold to a dearer trend. Well-finished Merino lambs attracted stronger demand, selling to a dearer trend.
The limited supply of sheep created little change in the market, though a small number of well-finished heavy wethers sold slightly dearer.
Forbes’ lamb prices firm
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 35,150 lambs, 14,319 more than last week, and 6750 sheep, 3194 more.
The NLRS said there were 18,000 new season lambs and quality was fair. There was a good number of well-finished lambs, along with the plainer, drier types. Most were heavy trade and heavy lambs. The usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market.
Light new season lambs sold from $118-$122. Trade weights varied, but averaged firm overall, to sell from $116-$159. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were also fairly steady. Heavy lambs sold from $150-$165 and extra heavy weights made $159-$170. Carcase prices ranged from 611-635c/kg cwt.
Old light lambs sold from $102-$112. Trade weights were fairly steady at $115-$146. Heavy and extra heavy weights were firm. Heavy old lambs sold from $153-$168 and extra heavy weights made $175-$210. Carcase prices ranged from 563-609c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality continued to be mixed. Prices were strong, with Merino ewes making $80-$130. Crossbred ewes sold from $74-$125. Merino wethers made $86-$120.
Inverell’s heavy lambs lift $4-$8
At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2459 lambs, 290 fewer than last week, and 1062 sheep, 32 more.
The NLRS said the lambs included a good supply of trade weights and more heavy weights. Quality was good with a large percentage of well-finished lambs off crops.
Competition was strong, with trade lambs holding firm, while heavy and extra heavy lambs sold $4-$8.
The yarding of mutton was made up of a good supply of medium weights and several runs of heavy wethers. The market was stronger, with most mutton selling $10 dearer.
Bendigo’s lamb prices slip $2-$10
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 14,584 lambs, 7243 more than last week, and 9948 sheep, 2773 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said the lamb offering doubled as the supply of young lambs surged to more than 10,000. The lead drafts of young lambs were of very good quality. However, quality and carcase finish tailed off quickly, reflecting the patchy season. All the usual buyers operated.
Prices fluctuated, but generally showed a weaker trend of $2-$10 compared to the strong results of the previous week, with plainer finished trade lambs the most affected. Buyers also lowered skin values for young lambs to $7-$10 for most trade and export weight pens. The yarding of old lambs was very mixed, and while select pens of short-skinned lambs met solid demand, longer wool types and any odd and small pen lots were discounted.
The market reached a top of $167 for young lambs estimated at around 26kg cwt, while bidding for old lambs reached $172 for extra heavy exports. Young lambs dominated the market and all agents led their sales with new season stock.
The heaviest drafts of young lambs, 24-26kg cwt, sold from $154-$167. The next runs of good quality trade lambs made $130-$145. These quality slaughter lambs were estimated in a range of 590-620c/kg cwt. Plainer and lighter weight young lambs mostly made from $88-$120, and some of the light lambs suiting specific kill orders averaged dearer. There was limited restocking support at $85-$99 for young crossbred lambs and at $34-$64 for young Merinos.
The quality of the old lambs was very mixed and mostly were plain as final clean-up drafts are sold. There were sales at 600c/kg and better for select pens of shorter-skinned lambs, most of which had been supplementary fed. But secondary old lambs in the trade and export weight categories were noticeably cheaper. Some of the lighter weight slaughter lambs under 18kg cwt were firm to dearer.
Competition was strong for the sheep and all the trade and light mutton categories averaged $2-$9 dearer. There was little price change for extra heavy crossbred ewes, which sold from $92-$115 and up to $131 for a single extra heavy wether. The top pens of Merino wethers sold from $92-$124 and averaged nearly 400c/kg cwt. Merino ewes sold to $122. An average run of mutton was estimated to cost processors 370-400c/kg.
Ballarat lamb prices firm
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4302 lambs, 298 more than last week, and 4917 sheep, 2024 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was plain to average as clean-up lots of old lambs are offered. Most of the usual buyers attended, but not all operated fully in a mostly firm lamb market.
Restockers paid from $95-$108.50 and feeders $98-$135 for lambs. More new season young lambs were yarded this week and they sold to keen competition, with the top pen making $160. Lighter trade weights sold from $121-$135 and averaged around 615c/kg cwt. Light weight old lambs sold to $85. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $82-$133 and averaged around 580c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $126-$142, or 520-630c/kg, to average around 580c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score old lambs sold from $138-$155.
Sheep quality was very mixed, with more lighter shorn sheep offered. They mostly sold from unchanged to a few dollars dearer, including some Merino wethers. Restockers paid $78-$100 for Merino ewes and from $60-$105 for Merino wethers. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $40-$76. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $65-$115, or 300-420c/kg cwt, with Merino mutton averaging close to 400c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score crossbred sheep sold from $77-$138, with heavy Merino wethers making $100-$119 and the medium weights $76-$92, averaging around 400c/kg. Rams of all weights sold from $41.50-$110.
Dublin’s lambs sell to easing competition
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange, Dublin, on Tuesday, the agents yarded 14,000 lambs, 3883 more than last week, and 3000 sheep, 378 more.
The NLRS said the much larger crossbred and Merino lamb offering failed to match the quality of last week. It sold to easing competition from the usual buyers, who included one new interstate operator. Feeders and restockers from as far afield as Penola were active on light weight new season crossbreds and mid-north agents were keen to buy the large numbers of light weight Merinos offered.
Light weight new season Merinos sold to restockers and feeders for $36-$80 and processors paid $90-$115. Light weight 3 score new season crossbreds lifted $7 to feeders at $87-$109. Light weight 3 scores sold firm to trade buyers at $107-$129, to average 544c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 4 scores eased $4 to $112-$130, to average 515c/kg. Heavy trade weights eased $7 to $125-$144, averaging 529c/kg. A few heavy weights sold at $145.
Old heavy weight crossbred lambs sold to processors eased $2 to $120-$155. Heavy weight 3 score old Merino lambs attracted solid bidding, lifting $2 to $110-$144, or 478-491c/kg cwt. Hoggets were plentiful and restockers bought ewe hoggets for $126. Heavy weight Merinos sold from $100-$120 and crossbreds made $110-$120.
The generally good quality yarding of sheep sold to strong processor demand. Prices for light weight 2 score ewes hovered around last week at $50-$70. Heavy weight 2 scores lifted $5 to $65-$87, to average 305c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 scores lifted $3 to $83-$106, to average 315c/kg. Wethers were plentiful and heavy weights remained unchanged at $80-$130, to average 357c/kg. Heavy weight rams were plentiful and made $50-$90.
Naracoorte’s new season lambs lift $6
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1732 lambs, 511 more than last week, and 752 sheep, 153 fewer.
The NLRS said the yarding included 600 new season lambs. Quality was mixed, with most of the lambs lacking weight and condition. All the usual buyers operated in a market where new season lambs were dearer and old lambs cheaper.
New season lambs were up to $6 dearer, with the medium and heavy trade weights making $116- $133. The best of the heavy lambs sold for $142. Most ranged from 550-580c/kg cwt.
Old lambs were cheaper in a very mixed offering. Medium and heavy trade lambs ranged from $94-$126 and the heavy weights from $110-$157. Most ranged from 510-530c/kg cwt.
Mutton quality varied, but some good heavy ewes were offered. Prices were cheaper on the smaller numbers as some regular buyers did not operate. Medium weight ewes sold from $70-$77. Heavy weights made $82-$106. Most ranged from 320-340c/kg cwt.
Muchea new season lambs $5 dearer
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4650 lambs, and 4500 sheep, 2761 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said the yarding included almost 2000 new season lambs. Ewe numbers remained similar and solid number of ewe hoggets was yarded. Prime lamb supplies were limited, including in the new season lines.
Prices were mostly dearer, new season lambs lifting around $5. Light new season lambs made $75-$106 and the trade weights sold from $94-$128. Heavy new season lambs sold from $128-$143. Prime new season lambs averaged close to 560c/kg cwt.
Old lambs were also dearer, with light weights making $54-$98 and trade weights $95-$115. Heavy weight old season lambs sold to $125.
There was good weight and wool length in the ewes and they sold $2-$8 dearer, with some of the rise due to skin values. Light ewes made $36-$66, with the 2 score mutton making $58-$85 to be $2 dearer. Better conditioned and heavy weight ewes rose by $5-$8, with most bare shorn ewes making $72-$95. Heavy ewes with a good skin sold to a top of $114. Restockers purchased lines of suitable ewes, including ewe hoggets, for $54-$85.50. Younger ewes sold up to $10 dearer.
Live exporters were active on all wether and ram categories, with solid competition from processors and restockers. Export wether prices remained strong, but were back from last week’s highs. Wether prices were easier by $8 due to decreased competition. Export weight drafts sold from $75-$105 for bare shorn lines and to $139 for woolly wethers. Lighter weight and store wethers sold for $66-$100 to processors and restockers. Rams sold well, with the better ram lambs making $85-$127 and young drafts to live export and feeders $60-$101. Old rams sold to processors for $30-$75.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.