INCREASED new season lamb supplies in New South Wales enabled buyers to drag new season lamb prices back in saleyards mid-week, pulling eastern states daily trade and heavy lamb indicators back under 600c/kg.
Domestic buyers bought more lambs for less than 550c/kg cwt and also fewer at the top end over 600c/kg as the Wagga yarding was boosted by 14,000 to 32,000, including more than 20,000 new season suckers.
In Victoria, lamb prices lifted $3-5 at Horsham and Hamilton, but slumped $5-$10 at Ouyen. Horsham’s lamb yarding lifted 3975 to 8628 on Wednesday, including 7500 suckers, and Ouyen offered 11,129 new season lambs on Thursday.
Wagga sale tougher for bigger new season yarding
Delta Ag livestock manager and auctioneer at Wagga, Aaron Mackay, said the sale was tougher this week, with more heavier lambs, many of which up to 25kg cwt were bought by supermarkets.
“The bigger the lambs were, the most affected they were; the lighter lambs weren’t as bad.”
“But there some good lambs there; the best line-up of lambs we’ve had this year,” he said.
Mr Mackay said processors, export and domestic, were still buying strongly at the saleyards.
“The best lambs still made $176 in a tough market.
“There were a lot of lambs weighing 22-25kg cwt, with full rows of big lambs.”
Mr Mackay said the Wagga area had 18mm of rain overnight.
“It’s the wettest I’ve ever seen it around here at this time of year for sure.”
He said the area’s turn-off was held up by weather last week, but recommenced this week.
“I don’t think there is as many lambs left out there as we all think.”
Many drafts from north-east of Wagga were marketed 4-6 weeks earlier than usual, he said.
“In the Junee and Illabo side of Wagga, their lambs don’t normally start until about now, but they’ve sold the majority of their lambs.
“They had a tremendous start to the season and their season has been good all the way, and their lambs have been better than normal.”
Horsham has “helluva sucker sale”
Rodwells Wimmera manager at Horsham Wayne Driscoll said all new season lamb weights sold very well, apart from the very heavy suckers, of which there were very few.
“Our trade suckers were 600-630c/kg cwt all the time, maybe a little bit more in spots and heavier suckers probably 570-600c/kg.”
Mr Driscoll said the Horsham area had 12-20mm of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, which would prolong the region’s lamb turn-off, giving producers a chance to put more weight into lambs.
“Some places, particularly north and north-west of Horsham are still going to have to go, but a lot of those lambs will be light.”
He said there had been a fair bit of forward contracting for later in the year.
“But the reality is if we get rain on Sunday, it will keep the Wimmera in reasonable order.
“It has been a tough-enough, hand-to-mouth pasture year and the crops are still going quite well, so it is surprising that the lambs are as good as they are.”
Mr Driscoll said the old lambs are all but finished and the region’s new season turn-off has just started, with most due in October.
“But we are probably going to a few more lighter lambs come through than we would normally see.”
Mr Driscoll said more sheep had been sold ahead of schedule this year, with pastures kept for the weaned lambs.
“It was due to the season and they saw the opportunity to cash early and wean.
“A lot more lambs have been weaned early this year than has ever been.”
The number of producers willing to buy back into ewes later in the year would depend on whether the area received some middle and finishing spring rains, he said.
“There are some that may not take that option up, that’s the bigger concern.”
New season lamb rates come off boil in NSW
At the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the 12.1-18kg cwt new season lambs with $3-$8 skins made $88-$116, or 559-635c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade weights with $9-$11 skins sold from $115-$135, or 540-576c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $10-$11 skins made $137-$153, or 548-600c/kg.
At Wagga on Thursday, the light new season lambs with $5-$12 skins sold from $74-$108, or 493-685c/kg. The trade weights with $8-$14 skins made $104-$144, or 490-630c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lambs with $10-$11 skins ranged from $135-$156, or 538-609c/kg. The 26.1-30kg heavy weights with $11 skins made $159-$171, or 548-582c/kg.
At Horsham on Wednesday, light new season lambs up to 12kg cwt with $1-$3 skins, sold from $32-$84, or 425-788c/kg. The 12.1-18kg lines with $2-$6 skins made $66-$119.50, or 443-639c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade weights with $6-$8 skins ranged from $112-$142.50, or 580-648c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg lines with $8 skins made $144-$154, or 604-622c/kg.
At Ouyen on Thursday, crossbred export weight new season lambs sold from $146-$176, or 560-600c/kg, and the trade weights made $115-$150, or 570-620c/kg.
In Western Australia at Katanning on Wednesday, new season lambs up to 12kg cwt with $2 skins made $48-$59, or 425-476c/kg. The 12.1-18kg lambs with $1-$6 skins sold from $52-$110, or 327-583c/kg, and the trade weights with skins values up to $4 made $99-$133, or 500-591c/kg.
NLRS slaughter indicators fall
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted all Eastern States Daily Lamb Indicators as lower, except for restocker lambs, which lifted 3 cents to 613c/kg.
The other lamb ESDIs are: Merino 539c/kg, down 7 cents; light 545c/kg, down 9c; trade 590c/kg, down 12c, and; heavy 585c/kg, down 14c. The national trade lamb indicator dropped 13 cents to 589c/kg, and the heavy lamb indice is down 14c to 585c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton fell 1 cents to 382c/kg and the national indice is also back 1 c to 381c/kg.
Carcoar’s new season lambs fall $8
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3100 lambs, 450 fewer than last week, and 3900 sheep, 2325 more.
The NLRS said there were some good pens of well-finished new season lambs yarded, but old lamb quality was only fair.
New season lambs were $8 cheaper, with the trade weights selling from $115-$148 to average 587c/kg cwt. Heavier weights sold to $153. Light weight lambs were $5 cheaper, with the 12-18kg 2 score lambs selling from $72-$107.
Trade weight old lambs were $3-$5 cheaper at $105-$134. Heavy weight lambs were firm, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $138-$181. Restockers paid to $117 and hoggets sold to $130.
It was a plain quality yarding of mutton, consisting of large lines of Merino wethers in store condition. Most lines sold firm to the processors, with the 3 and 4 score Merino ewes making $70-$105 and crossbred to $115. Properly finished wethers sold to processors for $92-$116 and restockers paid $52-$78 for wethers.
Wagga lambs prices fall $10-$20
In the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 32,000 lambs, 14,000 more than last week, and 9000 sheep, 3000 more.
The NLRS said widespread rain on Wednesday night, up to 40mm, aided the few days of spring in the Riverina. The quality of the offering was outstanding, with more than 20,000 new season lambs penned. Old lamb numbers declined and quality varied, with many being the tail-end drafts. All the regular domestic and export buyers attended, but not all operated or operated fully.
New season lambs were well-supplied in trade weight classes. However, the sale lacked the intensity of the previous week and prices fell $10-$20. Major domestic processors were still the market drivers, but at much lower prices.
The 20-22kg cwt lambs made from $128-$144, to average 584c/kg cwt. Buyers this week operated on skin values of $8-$10. After widespread rain, restockers were eager to purchase the lighter weight well-bred second cross lambs at $89-$118. Young new season ewe lambs returned to the paddock at $94-$101.20. Old trade lamb quality was very up and down, with the better finished lambs, 21-24kg, making $125-$145, with heavy trade lambs averaging 544c/kg.
The mixed selection of heavy and extra heavy lambs sold to a smaller group of buyers. Lambs weighing 24-26kg sold up to $17 cheaper, while extra heavy lambs sold from $151-$188, averaging 562c/kg.
Mutton quality improved, with plenty of weight in the offering. A fair percentage of sheep were medium and heavy weight ewes. Merino trade sheep made from $72-$107, to range from 345-390c/kg cwt. Heavy ewes sold $4-$7 cheaper at $93-$130, or 359-410c/kg.
Horsham lambs sell firm to $5 dearer
In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8628 lambs, 3975 more than last week, and 4620 sheep, 195 fewer.
The NLRS said the new season young lamb offering increased to 7500, with the usual buyers operating keenly in wet conditions.
Quality was average, with most lambs selling firm on last week and up to $5 dearer. Heavier trade weight lambs sold to $154. Some big runs of light weight store lambs were yarded and they sold to restockers from Mallee areas and to south east South Australia at mostly $83-$95, but from $38-$70 for lighter lots. Restockers also paid from $70.50-$100 for Merino wethers. Heavy old lambs sold from $133-$148 to be mostly firm.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $88-$102. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $100-$133, averaging around 610c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $128-$142 and heavier weights made $144-$154, to range from 580-650c/kg or an average around 610-620c/kg. Old Merino lambs sold from $95-$118 and young drafts lambs made $86-$122.
The sheep sold to strong competition to be a few dollars dearer, especially the crossbred mutton. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $63-$85. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $75-$106, or from 340-420c/kg cwt to average around 400c/kg for the Merino mutton. Heavy crossbred sheep sold from $80-$116. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $118 and the medium weights made $80-$96 at around 400c/kg. Rams sold from $55-$86.
Hamilton lambs firm to $3 dearer
At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1741 lambs, 812 fewer than last week, and 2103 sheep, 327 more.
The NLRS said the regular buyers attended. Lamb quality was average to plain, although there were some pens of heavy trade weights.
Lamb prices overall were firm to $3 dearer. Light weight 1 score lambs made $49-$60, while light trade weight 2 and 3 score old lambs sold from $76-$100 and averaged around 570c/kg cwt. The medium trade weight 3 and 4 score old lambs sold from $112-$129, or an estimated average of 585c/kg. Heavy trade 3 and 4 scores sold from $152-$160.
The sheep were heavier and in better condition than last week. Light weight sheep sold $6-$8 cheaper, with the 1 and 2 scores making $32-$72. Medium weight sheep remained unchanged and the heavier weights sold $6-$10, with limited export inquiry. Medium trade mutton made $75-$95 and averaged 370c/kg cwt. Heavy to extra heavy 3 and 4 score sheep sold from $102-$115, ranging from 325-370c/kg. Restockers purchased some young Merino sheep, with a line of wethers making $66-$77, to average 400c/kg cwt. The best of the Merino wethers of medium weight sold from $78-$91, to average unchanged at around 400c/kg cwt. The better quality rams made $68-$92.
Ouyen lambs $5-$10 easier
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 11,129 new season lambs, 2351 old lambs and 4134 sheep.
Prices for lambs of all weights and grades were $5-$10 easier. Crossbred export weight new season lambs sold from $146-$176, or 560-600c/kg, and the trade weights made $115-$150, or 570-620c/kg. Merino lambs sold from $69-$115.
Light weight sheep sold $3-$5 dearer at $55-$92, or 380-420c/kg, and heavy sheep sold firm at $91-$119, or 350-380c/kg.
Katanning suckers lift $5
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5000 lambs, 1000 fewer than last week, and 5142 sheep, 1351 more.
The NLRS said all buyers attended for the mixed quality yarding. New season lamb prices were up $5 on last week with prime new season lines making to $133. Trade weight new season lambs sold from $85-$133 and light lambs made $48-$85. Heavy crossbred lambs sold from $125-$127 and trade weights made $94-$118. Air freight lambs sold from $60-$105. Small store crossbred lambs sold to restockers made from $35 to $62 and Merino lambs sold from $29 to $63/head.
Young Merino ewes sold to restockers for $65-$75, smaller store wethers made $45 and the heavier quality wethers sold to $107. Ewe prices were firm on last week’s prices. Light ewes made $45 and the 2 score processor mutton sold from $54 for bare shorn lines to $93 for ewes with a 75mm fleece. The better 3 score mutton sold from $88 for bare shorn lines to $102 for those with a full fleece.
Young wethers were in demand and sold firm. Wether prices were strong, with processors paying $80 for the lighter wethers and $120 for the heavier weights. Restockers and feeders paid $30-$77, depending on quality and weight. Live export wethers sold from $80 for bare shorn lines to $119 for those with a fleece.
Young rams were in demand and sold firm up to $122. Aged rams made $5-$20. Young rams suitable for live export sold for $50-$97, depending on weight.
Warwick lambs sell to $142
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 882 lambs and hoggets, and 1075 sheep.
The top-priced lambs sold for $142 for the Springborg family of ‘Kettles Forest’, Yelarbon.
The Warwick Selling Agents said lighter finished lambs sold dearer and the heavy lambs were firm on last week’s rates in a smaller yarding. Prices remained firm for a larger yarding of sheep.
Crossbred lambs 46-55kg lwt sold from $130-$142, 42-45kg lambs made $122-$135, 36-42kg lines made $116-$132 and the 35-40kg lambs ranged from $112-$130.
Shorn crossbred hoggets, 50kg lwt, sold to $125. Trade wethers with $4 skins sold to $101, or 405c/kg cwt, and light wethers with $8 skins made to $57 or 330c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes with $9 skins sold to $109, or 400c/kg, and light ewes with $12 skins sold to $62 or 310c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS.