NEW season lamb prices lost ground in several saleyards early this week as the young lamb turn-off continued, demand for old lambs weakened and over-the-hook rates eased in New South Wales.
The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted prices for young trade lambs as up to $8-$12 cheaper at Dubbo, Tamworth and Inverell, and slightly weaker at Corowa, due to weaker domestic demand, but firm at Forbes.
In NSW, light new season lambs with skins valued at up to $6 made $88-$124, or 461-727c/kg, with good restocker demand. The young light trade lambs, 18.1-22kg, with skins valued at up to $7, sold for $106-$148, or 491-674c/kg. Medium-heavy trade weight new season drafts with $5-$7 skins, made $110-$160, or 452-638c/kg. Heavy young lambs with $5-$7 skins sold from $145-$180, or 560-636c/kg.
In Victoria, prices for new season lambs equalised more, falling $5-$10 in Bendigo and lifting $2-$5 at Ballarat. Young lamb prices also eased in South Australia and Western Australia.
Victoria’s light new season lambs, 12.1-18kg, with $2-$4 skins, made $84-$111.20, or 533-643c/kg. The 18.1-22kg new season drafts with $5-$7 skins sold for $116-$143, or 566-629c/kg. At Bendigo, young 22.1-24kg trade weights with $6-$7 skins made $135-$148, or 565-603c/kg, and 24.1-30kg lambs with $5-$7 skins sold from $145.50-$167, or 541-583c/kg.
In South Australia, light new season lambs with $2-$5 skins made $71-$155, or 528-656c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade weights with $4-$6 skins sold for $108-$136, or 523-616c/kg. At Dublin, heavy 24.1-26kg young lambs with $5 skins made $140-$148, or 539-572c/kg.
Mutton demand strengthened, especially for medium and heavy weight sheep.
NLRS lamb indicators firmer at light end
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were: restocker 616c/kg, up 19 cents; Merino 529c/kg, up 8c; light 546c/kg, up 7c; trade 584c/kg, up 1c; heavy 589c/kg, up 1c. The ESDI for mutton rose 12 cents to 412c/kg.
Dubbo’s new season trade lambs sell $8-$10 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 21,750 lambs, 13,930 fewer than last week, and 7580 sheep, 1500 less.
The NLRS said it was a fair quality yarding with a pretty good selection of new season and trade weight old lambs. There was a reasonable number of heavy weights, but fewer extra heavy weights. Lightweight lambs sold firm to processors, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores making $69-$106. The trade weight new season lambs were $8-$10 cheaper at $114-$144, averaging around 590-610c/kg cwt. Heavy new season lambs sold to $156.
Trade weight old lambs sold firm at $96-$145. Heavy weight lambs were up to $8 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $132-$188. Merino lambs were $6 dearer, with the trade weights making $92-$138. The heavy Merinos sold to $143. Restockers paid to $122 and hoggets made to $127.
Most grades of sheep sold firm to $3 dearer in a mainly good quality yarding. The 2 score ewes sold from $56-$83. The better 3 and 4 score crossbred ewes made $86-$136 and the Merinos sold to $135. Merino wethers sold to $135.
Corowa’s new season lambs meet weaker demand
At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 6445 lambs, 245 more than last week, and 3400 sheep, 200 more.
The NLRS said the yarding included 4415 new season lambs. Quality improved, with fewer secondary lambs and more restocker interest. A major domestic buyer did not attend the sale.
New season trade weight lamb sold to weaker demand and prices were back slightly. The better 22-24kg lambs made $121-$160.
Old Merino trade lamb prices improved $5-$15 to up to $118. Old crossbred lambs varied in quality and prices fluctuated. Light trade weight lambs sold from $96-$127, medium trade made $119-$142 and the small number of heavy trade lambs sold from $134-$144. Extra heavy lambs sold from $164-$174.
It was a good quality offering of sheep, with quite a few excellent pens of heavy ewes. All the usual buyers attended and competition was strong. Heavy weight Merino ewes sold to $130 and heavy crossbred ewes made to $137. Hoggets made to $136.
Tamworth’s young lambs $10-$12 cheaper
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3000 lambs, and 500 sheep, 100 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said lamb quality was generally good, with most in good condition. There was a fair selection of new season lambs, and trade and heavy old lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers attended.
Demand was not as strong, reportedly due a fall in some abattoir grid prices. The reduced demand resulted in cheaper trends for trade and heavy weights. Young lambs sold $10-$12 cheaper to processors, while restocker lambs remained firm. Trade weight old lambs sold to a cheaper trend, down $4-$9. Heavy old lambs lost $10-$17.
The very plain quality penning of sheep, consisted mostly of light weights with a few medium and heavy weights. The light weights sold firm to cheaper and the medium and heavy weights were dearer.
Forbes’ lamb prices hold firm
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 25,680 lambs, 3680 more than last week, and 7950 sheep, 2100 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed, with well-finished and plainer secondary lambs penned. Heavy and extra heavy weights were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a firm market. The agents yarded 8000 fair quality new season lambs.
Prices held firm, with trade weights selling from $117-$148. Heavy lambs made $143-$180. Carcase prices averaged 624c/kg. Old light lambs eased $2 to $95-$117. Trade weights were firm at $114-$137. Heavy and extra heavy weight lamb prices were also fairly similar to last week. Heavy lambs sold from $135-$152 and extra heavies made $151-$175. Carcase prices averaged 580-604c/kg.
Prices lifted for the mixed quality sheep offering. Most were Merinos. Merino ewes sold from $80-$140 and crossbred ewes made $80-$124. Merino wethers sold from $88-$137.
Inverell lambs cheaper
At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3360 lambs, 130 more than the last sale two weeks ago, and 1180 sheep, 60 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to good, with trade and heavy weights well-supplied. Only one pen of new season young lambs was offered. All lambs sold cheaper, with new season draft prices falling $12. Well-finished trade weights were $1-$5 cheaper. Heavy lambs sold mostly $2-$7 cheaper, with an odd sale firm.
Competition was strong for sheep, with prices generally firm. Some higher weight-related prices were paid.
Most of Bendigo’s young lambs drop $5-$10
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 10,096 lambs, 4079 fewer than last week, and 3871 sheep, 414 more.
The NLRS said all agents led their sales with young lambs and the old lamb offering comprised tail-end drafts of very mixed quality. The usual buyers attended, but export demand for heavy lambs was fairly subdued and at least one company did not buy.
Bidding for young lambs weakened again, with most sales $5-$10 below last week’s rates. Heavy young lambs over 24kg were the most affected, with the major domestic buyers no longer pushing into bigger lambs now there is a more abundant supply of trade weight types. The limited supply of heavy young lambs, 25-28kg cwt, sold from $152-$167. The main drafts of young trade weight lambs fitting domestic specifications sold from $134-$146. On a carcase basis, a range of 560-620c covered most sales, although it should be noted that only the neatest medium weight pens commanded over 600c/kg.
Pens of lighter weight young lambs mostly made from $91-$125, with local agents purchasing some for $91-$98 for restockers. The quality of the old lambs was very mixed and buyers picked through the offering, paying firm to slightly dearer prices for the best of the trade weights, but continuing to discount secondary pens. Heavy old lambs sold to $160.
Demand for mutton was very strong and prices were firm to dearer, underpinned by the small yarding. Extra heavy crossbred ewes made $110-$128, with local agents purchasing some ewes to re-join. Some good lines of bare shorn Merino ewes in good condition sold from $90-$125, or 390-400c/kg.
Ballarat lambs lift $2-$5
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1855 lambs, 3560 fewer than last week, and 3065 sheep, 531 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to plain, with many clean-up pens of old lambs and a few new season drafts offered to most of the usual buyers.
Competition was steady in a market that gradually showed more demand as the sale progressed and lambs sold $2-$5 dearer. Restockers paid $45-$84 for light old lambs and $94 for 160 light young store lambs. The few pens of medium trade weight new season lambs sold from $120-$136, or 572-591c/kg cwt. Light weight old lambs sold from $74-$93 and light trade 2 score lambs made $93-$105, averaging close to 540c/kg. Trade weight old lambs 2 and 3 scores sold from $100-$130, or 510-595c/kg, to average an estimated 560c/kg. Heavy old lambs, 3-4 score, sold from $125-$140 and the best of the hoggets made $90-$115.
Sheep generally also sold to stronger demand to be $4-$9 dearer. Sheep quality ranged from good to plain. Light weight 1 and 2 scores sold from $48-$85. Medium trade weight mutton 2 and 3 scores made mostly $72-$100, with a draft of medium weight full wool Merino ewes selling to $133. Merino mutton averaged close to 415c/kg. Heavy weight crossbred sheep sold from $110-$125 to average 350c/kg. Heavy Merino wethers made $103-$128 and medium wethers sold from $80-$103 to average 420c/kg. Rams of all breeds sold from $74-$121. Restockers paid $90-$97 for shorn Merino ewes.
Dublin’s old lambs fall $10-$14
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 8688 lambs, 560 more than last week, and 2427 sheep, 502 fewer.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers attended, but not all were fully active. A large number of restocker buyers rounded out the large crowd. There was less weight and condition in the yarding then previous weeks and prices eased for most lambs.
The light weights in the large offering of new season lambs sold to the trade for $82-$110, down $4. Restockers were very active and paid mainly $66-$98 for Merino and crossbred lambs. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs fell $8 to $99-$115. Trade weight 3 score new season lambs sold from $108-$136, with a similar drop in price. Heavy lambs made $124-$150.
All old lamb prices fell $10-$14. Light weight old lambs sold from $70-$94 and restockers paid $50-$90. Light weight trade old lambs made $78-$100. Trade weight 3 score lambs mainly sold from $89-$120 and heavy old lambs made $110-$130. A large number of hoggets was offered, with light weight types making mainly $50-$68 and medium weights selling from $64 up to $108 for restocking Merinos. Heavy weight hoggets made mainly $75-$122, up to $135 for restocking Merinos. Light weight ewes sold from $50-$81 and medium weights made $64-$88. Restocking Merinos sold to $108.
Heavy weight ewes mainly sold from $75-$122, with restocking Merinos making to $135. Medium weight wethers made $72-$85 and heavy weight full wool types sold to $140. Rams mainly made $70-$111.
Naracoorte lamb prices firm
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1153 lambs, 107 more than last week, and 1296 sheep, 508 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with a few pens of new season young lambs presenting in good condition. The usual buyers operated keenly in a mostly firm lamb market.
Restockers paid $71 for young Merino lambs and from $126-$142 for older Merino ewe lambs with near full wool. Light trade 3 score new season lambs sold to $116 and medium weight 3 scores made $128-$134, averaging around 580c/kg. Light weight old lambs sold to $64. Light trade 2 and 3 scores made $80-$96. Trade weight 3 scores sold from $100-$120 and averaged around 500c/kg. Heavy old lambs made $124-$134. Heavy hoggets made to $119.
Sheep sold from $2-$10 better in places. Light weight sheep sold to $69. Medium weight 2 and 3 scores made $77-$105/head, or 314-420c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 400c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score crossbreds sold from $80-$125. Heavy Merino ewes made $95-$125. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $120 and the medium weights made to $97, all averaging around 400c/kg.
Muchea’s young lambs ease $3-$7
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 5800 lambs, 732 more than last week, and 4620 sheep, 480 more.
The NLRS said the fewer new season lamb drafts were of lower quality and included more light weights. All the usual buyers operated, but there was a noticeable drop in competition and most categories eased $3-$7.
Light weight new seasons lambs mostly sold to processors for $72-$95, close to $4 lower on average. Trade new seasons lambs eased by up to $9, with most sales at $90-$115, or close to 500c/kg. Heavy new season lambs sold to $124, also down on last week.
The old season lambs were of fairly mixed quality and met with more selective bidding. Light weight drafts made $48-$93, with the better drafts sold to processors and feeder making $70-$96 and firm to $7 back on last week. Trade and heavy weight old lambs sold from $83-$110 and were back $7, or close to a 470c/kg average.
Ewe weight and quality remained good, with some drafts carrying good wool length. Ewe prices were slightly back, with light weight ewes making $49-$57 and medium weight 2 score drafts $58-$81, down by close to $5. Better conditioned ewes, including the heavy weight drafts, made $65-$106, $1 easier. The fuller wool drafts had skin values of up to $20.
Restockers paid $75-$111 for younger ewes and $55-$105 for older drafts, depending on quality, weight and wool length. The wethers were purchased by the trade or export feeders at slightly easier prices. Heavy drafts made $80-$115 and were close to $4 back on last week. Lighter and store wethers made from $51-$90, also easier than recent sales. Rams continued to sell well to solid export orders. Ram lambs made $77-$106, with young drafts selling to export buyers for $50-$100. Old rams sold to processors for mostly $25-$69, though some very old rams made $5.
Tasmanian lamb quality mixed
In Tasmania at the Powranna and Killafaddy saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 530 lambs, 250 more than last week, and 190 sheep, 240 fewer.
The NLRS said the small numbers in many categories were not enough for accurate quotes. The old lamb season is coming to an end and young lambs are some months away, so quality is very mixed. Most prices were similar to last week, with butchers and wholesalers trying to get the best quality.
Restockers bought light lambs for $66-$82 and the trade paid $94-$105 for light trade weights and $110-$130 for medium trade lambs. Most heavy pens made $125-$137 and the extra heavy lines sold from $130-$136. Light sheep made $51-$64, medium weights $69-$70 and heavy weights $72-$85.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.