EARLY turn-off of new season lambs into saleyards and processors has started to ease in New South Wales after sharp price falls in saleyards in recent weeks.
Some lamb producers had been rushing lambs into saleyards, attracted by prices consistently over 600-650c/kg cwt, but this has been tempered by price drops of up to more than $20 for old season trade and heavy lambs in the past fortnight.
New season lamb prices have been less affected, but the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Indicators for the major slaughter lamb categories as falling 40-46 cents last week, after significant reductions in the previous week.
Landmark Wagga livestock manager Peter Cabot said prices were at record highs, but he said lambs were $20 cheaper last Thursday. The NLRS quoted heavy lambs as $11 cheaper, with extra heavy weights up to $28 cheaper. The price decline continued in saleyards last Friday.
Mr Cabot said producers had been rushing in their new season drafts while prices were high.
“But they won’t do that anymore – your lighter suckers were $20 cheaper last week.”
Producers will now run on their new season lambs as normal into heavier weights, he said.
“They’ve got the feed to get them heavier, they just weren’t getting them heavy because they were getting paid not to – but that’s all changed, so they will just get them heavier again now.”
In the past two weeks, the ESDI for light lambs has fallen 53 cents to 530c/kg, which represents a drop in price of about $8.50 for 1 16kg cwt lamb. The indicator for trade lambs has dropped 57 cents over the sale period to 588c/kg, a fall of about $12.54 for a 22kg cwt lamb. The eastern states heavy lamb indicator has fallen 49 cents in the past fortnight to 596c/kg, representing about $12.25 off the price of a 25kg cwt lamb.
After Friday’s saleyard sales, the ESDIs for lamb, their daily and weekly changes were: restocker 576c/kg, down 14 cents, down 16c; Merino 515c/kg, down 2c, down 37c; light 530c/kg, down 7c, down 46c; trade 588c/kg, down 8c, down 42c; heavy 596c/kg, down 6c, down 40c. The national trade lamb indicator fell 6 cents to 588c/kg and the heavy indice is on 597c/kg, down 6c.
The ESDI and national mutton indicators lost 3 cents on Friday, closing at 387c/kg.
Griffith trade lambs ease $14-$15
In New South Wales at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 11,000 lambs, 1100 fewer than last week, and 3000 sheep, 1000 less.
The NLRS said the quality of the lamb yarding was mixed, but there were plenty of new season drafts with weight and finish. Old lamb quality continues to be mixed and longer wool lambs are being discounted. The usual buyers attended, but not all operated fully.
Demand was subdued for old trade lambs with buyers picking their way through the tail-end of producer drafts. There were fewer heavy lambs and quality was very good.
Trade weight 3 score young lambs sold to slaughter slipped $15 to average $121. Trade weight 3 score Merino old lambs eased $14 to average $111. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold to slaughter fell $12 to $126. Heavy weight 4 score lambs sold to the trade were $16 cheaper, averaging $142.
The sheep yarding included all weights and grades. Heavy weight 4 score ewes sold to slaughter averaged $113. Merino ewes averaged $130 and first cross lines averaged $114.
Cowra’s new season lambs generally sell firm
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 6800 lambs, 1630 more than last week, and 845 sheep, 395 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was good, particularly among the new season lambs, which were in top condition. Old lamb quality was mixed. The yarding comprised mainly trade weight lambs and a few heavy weights. There were 3350 new season lambs.
All the usual buyers operated and competition was quite good, resulting in a generally firm market for the new season lambs. Old lambs suffered bigger price losses.
Light new season lambs sold to local restockers for $109-$115. Medium and heavy trade weight young lambs were firm to $1 dearer, averaging 630c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trades sold from $130-$148. Heavy new season lambs were $3 easier and averaged 625c/kg. A pen of extra heavy weight young lambs with an estimated carcase weight of 27kg made $175.50.
Old trade weight lambs sold around $10 easier and averaged 358-615c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs sold at similar cheaper levels, or 563-600c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $155-$180.
Sheep quality varied. Heavy first cross ewes were firm and averaged from $94-$115 or 340-350c/kg.
Shepparton yards first new season lambs
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 700 lambs, 360 fewer than last week, and 230 sheep, 20 less.
The NLRS said it was another small and very plain winter yarding. Competition was restricted to a couple of regular buyers and there was insufficient numbers or quality to quote reliable lamb or sheep price trends. With more rain forecast, agents said they were not anticipating any numbers of new season lambs until next month.
The single pen of new season lambs were estimated at around 21kg cwt and sold for $149 to a local meat wholesaler $149 or 665c/kg, matching the best of the carcase rates for young lambs last week.
Old season lamb quality was very mixed and they were mostly clean-up lots of less than 10 head. A few pens of heavier lambs with reasonable fat cover sold from $128-$156. Heavy ewes sold from $85-$95 in the token selection of sheep.
Strong online demand for Merino ewes and ewe-lamb units
Sheep and lamb offerings increased on AuctionsPlus last week and more new season lambs also hit the market.
AuctionsPlus said with widespread rainfall over winter, the fast approaching spring season is looking to be very favourable and hopefully bringing with it extra heavy lambs. The number of sheep and lambs offered online last week rose by 8380 head to 50, 696.
Merino ewes were highly sought after, with increased prices. Unjoined Merino ewe lambs averaged $107 and sold up to $148.50 for 600 late-March shorn June-July drop Nyowee Park blood ewes weighing 43.1kg lwt and in mostly score 1 condition at Milparinka, NSW. Ewe hoggets made from $130 up to $177.50 for 210 15-16 month-old mid-July shorn Collinsville blood ewes, 43.2kg lwt and mostly score 2, at Bordertown, South Australia. Proven Merino breeders averaged $104 and sold to $222 for 490 three-year-old mid-November shorn Yarawin blood ewes, 66kg lwt and mostly score 3, at Hay, NSW. They were scanned 100 percent in lamb to Poll Dorset rams.
A line of 320 five-year-old early-October shorn Merino ewes with 315 1-4 month-old 30kg lwt Poll Dorset lambs sold for $230 at Big Springs, NSW. The made top dollar, selling for an outstanding $230.
Merino wether lambs averaged $85 on AuctionsPlus last week, selling to $98 for 410 September-October drop early-March shorn Mulloorie blood lambs, 18kg cwt and mostly score 2, at Bourke, NSW. A line of 600 4-5 year-old mid-February shorn wethers at Bourke, NSW, sold for $115.50 to a processor.
First cross ewes were also in high demand, with the ewe lambs offered averaging $203 and making to $221 for 270 unjoined August-September drop early-July shorn ewes, 48.5kg lwt and mostly score 3, at Wellington, NSW. Older maiden ewes made from $169 up to $251 for 430 12-13 month-old late-July shorn hoggets, 52.1kg lwt and mostly score 3, at Dubbo, NSW, that were scanned in lamb 100pc to Border Leicester rams.
Lambs weighing 20-23kkg lwt made $74-$91, to average $86.50 or 397c/kg lwt, the 24-28kg lambs sold for $91-$125, or an average of $104 or 381c/kg, and the 30-32kg drafts made $85-$128 to average $109 or 348c/kg. Lambs weighing 35-37kg lwt made $102.50-$115.50 to average $109 or 302c/kg, and lines over 40kg lwt sold for $100-$126.60 to average $119 or 261c/kg.
Stand-out sucker lamb prices included $128 or 397c/kg live for 434 unshorn March-May drop Border Leicester/Dohne mixed sex lambs, 14.4kg cwt and mostly score 2 and 3, from Collarenebri, NSW. Other top lines included second cross suckers from Keith, SA, weighing 45kg lwt, which made $126.50 or 276c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.