New season lamb prices firm as old lamb discounts deepen

Terry Sim, August 26, 2016
The Elders Ouyen team sold lambs before a big crowd this week.

The Elders Ouyen team sold lambs before a big crowd this week.

NEW season lamb prices firmed around quality in saleyards mid-week, with processors continuing to discount old lambs.

Despite the impact of secondary old lambs on the market – with prices in some saleyards falling by as much as $12 in New South Wales and by up to $15 in Victoria — the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Indicators for restocker, trade and heavy lambs as moving back into positive territory.

The NLRS said domestic buyer competition was more consistent at Wagga in New South Wales with new season lamb prices lifting $2-$4 with buyers showing a strong preference for short-woolled lambs.

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS ESDIs for lambs were: restocker 571c/kg, up 6 cents; Merino 491c/kg, down 1c; light 526c/kg, no change; trade 579c/kg, up 2c; heavy 593c/kg, up 4c. The national trade lamb indicator finished up 1 cent to 580c/kg and the heavy indice is up 4 cents on 594c/kg.

Mutton sheep prices rose up to $20 mid-week with stronger export demand. The ESDI for mutton for mutton rose 10 cents to 397c/kg on Thursday and the national indicator also lifted 10 cents to 396c/kg.

Carcoar lambs firm to cheaper

In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4800 lambs, 900 fewer than last week, and 1100 sheep, 1050 less.

The NLRS said it was a very plain lamb yarding, with only a few pens of well-finished drafts. There were more Merino lambs than previous sales. Light weight lambs sold close to firm to processors, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores making $70-$88. Trade weight new season lambs were firm at $114-$144. Trade weight old lambs sold $4-$7 cheaper at $90-$139. The trade weight Merino lambs sold from $86-$105. The few heavy weight lambs were $7 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $130-$180 to average 550c/kg cwt. Restockers paid to $97 and hoggets made to $98.

Most the sheep were crossbred ewes, and most grades sold at similar rates to last week. The 2 score Merino ewes sold from $40-$60 and the better 3 and 4 score crossbred ewes made $73-$125.

Cootamundra lamb prices fall $10-$12

At the Cootamundra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3463 lambs, 1787 fewer than last week, and 632 sheep, 1268 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed, but there were a few very good runs of new season trade weights. Old lambs slipped in quality and a fair percentage of lighter lambs and Merinos was offered.

All the usual buyers attended, but lamb prices eased $10-$12 overall. New season trade weight lambs sold from $124-$150, averaging 610-620c/kg. Light processing old lambs made $77-$94. Old trade weights sold from $91-$142 and the heavy weights sold to $150. Old lambs ranged from 530-590c/kg.

Sheep quality was very mixed. Well-covered Merino ewes carrying a bit of wool were keenly sought after and sold from $94-$114. Heavy crossbred ewes made to $124.

Yass lamb prices firm for quality

At the first sheep and lamb sale at the South East Livestock Exchange at Yass on Wednesday, the agents yarded 12,000 lambs and 4000 sheep.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to good in the first SELX sheep and lamb sale. Only a handful of new season lambs was offered and most old lambs showed the effects of the wintery conditions and lacked finish. Merino lambs were well-supplied and most of suited light processor orders.

A large group of buyers attended and prices were solid around quality. New season trade weights sold from $114-$130. Old lambs up to 16kg cwt sold from $62-$96. Medium and heavy trade lambs made $92-$138, averaging 560c/kg. Heavy lambs sold from $125-$152 and the extra heavy lambs made to $170. Light Merino lambs sold from $63-$82, averaging 495c/kg. Heavy Merino lambs sold from $92-$101.

Sheep quality was good and most attracted strong competition. Medium weights sold from $74-$101 and heavy weight ewes $100-$135. Heavy Merino wethers with a short skin made to $135.

Wagga’s young lambs lift $2-$4

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 22,000 lambs, 8050 fewer than last week, and 4000 sheep, 2670 less.

The NLRS said the yarding included 7750 new season lambs. Quality was mixed in the old trade categories, resulting in some bigger price variation in some classes. Not all the usual export or domestic buyers attended. There was also strong northern restocker competition for lighter weight new season lambs.

New season lambs sold to stronger demand, with bidding from major domestic buyers more consistent. New season trade lambs generally sold up to $2-$4 dearer. The better presented trade lambs made $140-$172 averaging 630c/kg cwt. The old trade lambs were plainer in condition, causing prices to fluctuate. Shorter woolled trade lambs attracted the strongest bidding.

The better finished old lambs sold at $133-$158. Heavy lambs sold to weaker price trends due to the lack of quality types, averaging 601c/kg. Extra heavy lambs were in short supply and pen lots 30kg-plus ignited the bidding to record a top price of $210. Extra heavy lambs averaged 594c/kg.

The smaller yarding of mixed quality sheep included reasonable numbers of heavy lines. Heavy ewes averaged 382c/kg. Trade sheep sold up to $14 dearer as all buyers struggled to fill trucks. Trade sheep sold from $92-$125.20.

Hamilton lamb prices fall $5-$10

In the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1517 sheep, 286 more than last week, and 1211 sheep, 400 more.

The NLRS said there was a further drop in the quality in old lambs, from average to plain, and most of the winter buyers did not operate in the subdued market. There was a limited selection of trade weight old lambs, with many of the smaller pen lots lacking finish for slaughter.

Lamb prices fell further $5-$10, with restockers paying $72-$74 for light store lambs and $30-$70 for Merino lambs going locally and to Stawell. Light weight 2 score lambs sold to processors for $62-$85, averaging 480c/kg. The light trade weight 2 and 3 scores made $85-$100, averaging 504c/kg. Medium trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $104-$122, or 482-552c/kg, averaging an estimated 520c/kg. Heavier lambs 3 and 4 score sold from $130-$154.

Light sheep sold firm and the medium and heavy weights lifted $3-$5 in a typical mixed winter yarding. Light 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $44-$77. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 scores made $65-$95. A draft of October-shorn full wool Merino ewes made $105-$122, or 337-422c/kg. Merino mutton averaged 415c/kg. Heavy crossbred sheep sold from $95-$123 to average 355c/kg. Medium and heavy weight Merino wethers sold from $88-$108, averaging 400c/kg. There was less demand for heavy weight rams and they made $75-$87 to be close to $10-$15 cheaper.

Horsham’s new season lambs sell a few dollars cheaper

At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1893 lambs, 1800 fewer than last week, and 1772 sheep, 1750 less.

The NLRS said lamb and sheep numbers more than halved following good rainfall in the past week. There was a reasonable selection of quality young lambs, but the yarding of old season lambs was mostly very plain and in small pen lots as farmers cleared final lambs.

A couple of regular buyers were absent, but competition remained robust on the best young lambs and on mutton. Prices for young lambs averaged a few dollars cheaper, while quality dictated results for old lambs in a generally weaker market.

Prices for heavy trade weight young lambs reached a top of $162, followed by about half a dozen pens at $140-$158. Plainer young lambs with not as much weight or carcase finish, then sold from $103-$130. On a carcase basis, the lead drafts of second cross lambs suiting domestic orders made 600-630c/kg cwt. Plainer young lambs trended down to about 570c/kg. The best of the export weight old lambs sold to $151, but most of the offering was secondary. Light lambs made $60-$120.

Two export buyers drove the dearer market, with some ewes gaining $15-$20 compared last week. A pen of heavy Merino ewes in a big skin sold to $127.50, but most of the better-framed shorn Merino ewes made $90-$120. On a carcase basis, the good Merino mutton made 400-430c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes were dearer at $105-$120. A local restocker paid $124 for a line of recently-shorn 5.5 year-old Merino ewes.

Ouyen lambs $10-$15 cheaper

The Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday yarded 5978 old lambs, 3626 new season lambs and 2563 sheep for the usual buyers, less one export processor.

Heavy and trade lambs sold $10-$15 cheaper. Crossbred export lambs sold from $145-$158, or 510-550c/kg, and the trade weights $118-$148, or 560-590c/kg. Light Merino lambs made $65-$92, or 450-480c/kg, and the heavy lines sold from $120-$139, or 450-480c/kg.

The sheep sold to strong trade demand, lifting $3-$5. Light sheep sold from $75-$93, or 390-420c/kg, and heavy lines made $97-$118, or 370-410c/kg.

Katanning lamb quality declines

In Western Australia in the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2500 lambs, 29 more than last week, and 4411 sheep, 2411 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality declined. All usual buyers attended except live export operators.

Light new season Merino lambs made $67-$70 and the trade weights sold for $95-$100. Old season light weight lambs sold from $50-$85. Lambs suitable for air freight sold from $72-$97 and trade weights lifted to $97-$125. Crossbred lambs sold to feeders for $61-$75. Light Merino store lambs sold from $50 up to $90 for the better framed lines.

Mutton and wethers dominated the mixed quality sheep yarding. Young blue tag ewes sold from $69-$96. Prices eased for prime mutton and by up to $5 for store ewes. Light ewes with a full fleece sold from $62-$86. Light weight ewes with a fleece sold to processors for $57-$88 and prime 3 score mutton made $75-$100.

Higher wether prices reflected an improvement in quality and processors paid $78-$108. Restockers and feeder buyers paid $60-$102, depending on frame. Ram lambs sold for $54-$103, depending on size. Older rams made $10-$80, depending on age.

Warwick prices firm to cheaper

In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, agents yarded 713 lambs and hoggets, and 134 sheep.

Prices were quoted as firm to slightly cheaper for all descriptions in the smaller rain-affected yarding of sheep and lambs. The top-priced lambs in the sale made $145 for Tara producers T.G. and M.S. Thomson of ‘Boona-Mia’.

Crossbred lambs weighing 51-55kg lwt sold from $136-$145, 46-50kg lambs made $124-$139, the 41-45kg lines sold for $126-$142 and the 35-40kg lines made $113-$125. Shorn crossbred hoggets 70kg lwt made to $112.

Sources: MLA, NLRS.


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