PRICES for new season lambs lifted by up to $20 in New South Wales late last week.
Increasing numbers of sucker lambs were also sold online last week as the industry transitions from old lamb to new season supplies.
AuctionsPlus said there was a bigger transition last week from old lambs to more new season suckers hitting the market.
Sucker lamb prices were strong, with 450 unshorn February-March drop Poll Dorset cross lambs weighing 14.3kg cwt and mostly score 2, at Temora, NSW, making $115. A line of 235 5-7 month-old White Suffolk lambs, 16.6kg cwt and mostly score 2, also sold at Temora for $116.
Lambs weighing 23-29kg made $80-$105, to average $96 or 363c/kg lwt including skin value, the 29-33kg lambs sold from $88-$115, to average $103 or 321c/kg, and the 34-35kg lines made $84-$116 to average $101 or 286c/kg.
About 1500 new season lambs were yarded at the Cowra saleyards on Friday and there was a small number offered at the Griffith yards, underpinned by strong domestic and restocker competition.
At Cowra the 18.1-22kg young lambs with $6 skins sold for $155-$162, or 696-750c/kg, and 22.1-24kg suckers with $6 skins made $159-$177, or 650-716c/kg, and the 24.1-26kg export weight new season lambs with $6 skins made $175-$181, or 673-677c/kg.
At Griffith, the light trade new season lambs with skins valued at up to $8 made $118.20-$157, or 617-920c/kg. The 22.1-24kg young lambs with $1 skins sold for $154-$155, or 638-684c/kg.
Strong competition at Cowra for new season lambs
In New South Wales at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5350 lambs, 1200 more than last week, and 500 sheep, 50 more than last week.
The NLRS said the quality of the new season and heavy old lambs was very good. There were 1500 new season lambs yarded and they were mainly trade weights in top condition. The old grades were a little mixed, including being well-finished heavy lambs and plainer light weight lines.
All the buyers were operating and competition was very strong for the new season lambs, which experienced some larger gains. New season trade and heavy weight lambs sold $10-$20 dearer, averaging at 670-719c/kg cwt. The trade weights sold from $155-$167 and heavy weights made $159-$181.
Light old lambs were cheaper due to quality and averaged $108. Medium and heavy trade weight old lambs were firm and averaged 600c/kg cwt at $123-$146. Heavy weight lambs were firm to $6 dearer, or 590-640c/kg. A pen of extra heavy weight lambs with an estimated carcass weight of 31kg made $205.
Sheep quality was mixed. Medium Merino ewes sold from $62-$90 or 300-360c/kg. Heavy first cross ewes made $95-$103 or 340-350c/kg.
Griffith’s trade and heavy lambs lift up to $5
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8896 lambs, 4496 more than last week, and 2698 sheep, 1698 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar, with some weather-affected, alongside well-finished trade and heavy lambs. The heavier end of the trade weights and heavy lambs were best-supplied with only a limited number of extra heavy lambs. A small consignment of new season lambs were offered. Not all the usual buyers operated in the dearer market.
The new season trade weights sold from $118-$157. Light 2 score processing lambs made $70-$110. The trade weights were $1-$5 stronger, with the heavier end getting the biggest rise. The medium and heavy trade weights sold from $122-$149, averaging 640c/kg. Heavy lambs were $4-$5 dearer on average, with some lambs showing a much larger gain as buyers looked for finished heavy weights. Prices ranged from $144-$186 and extra heavy lambs sold to $205 to average 600-650c/kg. Heavy Dorper lambs sold to $167. Hoggets made to $156.
Sheep quality was good. Prices were similar, with medium weights making $73-$102 and heavy crossbred ewes to $158. The better covered lines made 380-415c/kg.
Main slaughter lamb categories hold firm
After Friday’s saleyards sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Indicators for the main slaughter lamb categories as generally firm. The lambs ESDIs, their daily and weekly changes are: restocker 617c/kg, up 6 cents, up 97c; Merino 551c/kg, down 8c, down 9c; light 564c/kg, down 1c, up 17c; trade 636c/kg, up 1c, up 29c; heavy 641c/kg, up 2c, up 18c. The national trade lamb indicator is up 1 cent on 637c/kg and the heavy lamb indice is up 2 cents to 641c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton closed down 1 cent on Friday to 386c/kg, up 2 cents for the week. The national mutton indicator is down 1 cent to 384c/kg.
AuctionsPlus numbers decline
Sheep and lamb numbers dropped 11,343 to 18,284 on AuctionsPlus last week, but with tightening supply, 92 percent of lots were cleared.
There was fierce competition from restockers for the fewer Merino ewes offered online. Young ewes averaged $117 and sold up to $170.50 for a small line of 84 20-26 month-old early-April shorn ewes at Deniliquin, New South Wales. The ewes weighed 58.8kg lwt, were mostly score 3, and scanned 100pc in lamb to White Suffolk rams.
Older proven Merino breeders sold from $99 to $148. The top-priced line of 520 mid-February shorn Yarong and Bogo blood 5-6 year-olds from Forbes, NSW, weighed 51.2kg lwt, were mostly score 2 and scanned 100pc in lamb to Border Leicester rams.
Merino ewes with Poll Dorset lambs were highly sought after, with the top priced line of 292 3.5-4.5 year-old late-March shorn ewes selling for $211. The Milburn Creek blood weighed 57.1kg lwt, were mostly score 2 and 3, and had 292 4-8 week-old 19kg lwt lambs.
A smaller offering of Merino wether lambs this week produced an average of $90, with the top line selling for $117.50. The 400 one year-old mid-May shorn Pastora blood wethers at West Wyalong, NSW, weighed 18.5kg cwt and were mostly score 3.
The number of first cross ewes dropped considerably on AuctionsPlus last week. A line 214 May-June drop ewe lambs at Mount Mercer in Victoria sold for $193.50. These weighed 46.2kg, were mostly score 2 and 3, and late December shorn.
A line of 145 unjoined 13-14 month-old first cross ewes at Kanagulk, Victoria, sold for $224.50. The late-October shorn ewes were 61.3kg lwt and mostly score 3 and 4. At Kaniva in Victoria, 215 5-6 year-old late-January shorn first cross ewes with 292 8-14 week-old White Suffolk lambs sold for $262.
At Nyngan in NSW, 220 11-12 month-old White Dorper ewes sold for $178. The Boxdale and Ettiwanda blood ewes were mated to Australian White rams, weighed 44.4kg lwt and were mostly score 2. Another 118 6-7 month-old unjoined Boxdale blood White Dorper ewes, 40.4kg and mostly score 2, sold for $200.
At Sellicks Hill in South Australia, 217 6-7 year-old early November shorn composite ewes sold for $169.50. The ewes were scanned 200pc in lamb to composite rams, weighed 58.5kg lwt and were mostly score 1. Other lines sold by the same vendor and scanned 100pc in lamb to composite rams included 254 2-3 year-olds at $166, 165 4-5 year-olds at $160 and 222 6-6 year-olds at $130.50.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.