Domestic Lamb

Northern lamb prices slip as seasonal quality declines

Sheep Central, October 27, 2014
These 18.1 cwt Poll Dorset cross lambs sold for $100 on AuctionsPlus last week.

These 18.1 cwt Poll Dorset cross lambs at Young NSW sold for $100 on AuctionsPlus last week.

Saleyard lamb prices continued to slip late last week, as more lambs with drier and grass seed-contaminated skins were penned at NSW and northern Victorian markets.

Meat and Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Easter States Trade Lamb Indicator as down three cents to 455c/kg cwt after Friday’s sales, with the heavy lamb indicator down two cents to 452c/kg and the mutton indicator at 275c/kg cwt, down five cents.

The national lamb and mutton indicators were also all down.

Store lamb prices ease $6-$7 on AuctionsPlus

On AuctionsPlus, sheep and lamb numbers dropped by 9000 to 48,527 head, with catalogues dominated by new season lambs and Merino ewes.

Bigger numbers of store crossbred lambs in line with other marketplaces saw prices ease $6-$7, with only the heavier end of almost-killable lambs holding steady. The 29kg-30 kg lambs sold for $65-$73, and the 31-33kg lines made $68.50-$86. The 34kg-35kg lambs sold from $76.50-$82.50, the 36-37kg lines made $76.50-$90 and drafts weighing 38-39kg ranged from $79-$93. Quality Poll Dorset cross lambs out of Young, estimated at 18.1kg cwt, sold for $99.50-$100, and 43kg first cross lambs at Crookwell made $93.

The numbers of new season Merino lambs increased again on AuctionsPlus, with prices last week steady at $45-$77, averaging $60. The top-priced lambs were Pooginook blood four to five month olds out of Cootamundra.

Demand for unjoined Merino ewe hoggets remained solid, lines selling from $81 to a top of $140 for Keri Keri blood ewes at Wellington. Lines of 2-4 year-old unjoined ewes sold from $74-$90. Aged ewe prices varied from $38-$111, with the top price being for 5-6 year-old Willandra blood ewes.

Trade lambs $2 dearer at Cowra

In NSW at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 7000 lambs, 1605 fewer than last week, and 1250 sheep, 430 less.

The NLRS said quality was very good, however the lambs’ skins were showing signs of dryness. The yarding was mostly trade and heavy weight new season lambs, with fewer old lambs. Store lambs increased slightly in number and all the buyers were operating. Competition was good for the trade and heavy lambs and a little softer for the extra heavy weights.

Light new season lambs were firm and averaged around $89. The quality store lamb lines sold from $68-$93. Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs were $2 dearer, at around 464c/kg- 480c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weight lambs sold from $104-$112. Heavy weight new season lambs 24-26kg cwt sold firm at around 444c/kg-450c/kg cwt. Extra heavy weight new season lambs were $3 cheaper at around 442c/kg cwt, with a few pens making $128-$137.

Mutton quality was reasonable across all grades. Medium weight Merino ewes were $2 cheaper and averaged $63, or 250c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were up to $11 cheaper and averaged $69.10, or 220c/kg cwt.

More dry, seedy lambs at Griffith

At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 7800 lambs, 3700 fewer than last week, and 4500 sheep, 2800 less.

The NLRS said 5200 new season lambs were penned and quality was very mixed. Many lambs showed signs of dryness and seed contamination. Most of the usual buyers competed in the cheaper market.

Light new season lambs slipped $5 to sell from $78-$96. Trade weight lambs eased $3-$5, with prices ranging from $96-$116. Heavy and extra heavy lambs also slipped $3-$5. Heavy lambs sold from $115-$122 and extra heavy lambs made $124-$131. Carcase prices averaged from 456c/kg-485c/kg cwt.

Old trade weight lambs made $85-$102. Heavy and extra heavy lambs received from $116-$130.

Mutton quality was similar to previous sales. Merino ewes sold from $63-$99 and crossbred ewes made $58-$76. Merino wethers sold from $66-$88.

Lamb quality a factor at Shepparton

In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5263 lambs, 1337 fewer, and 1820 sheep, 1020 more.

The NLRS said there was a noticeable decline in the presentation of young lambs this week, with most having dry skins with some seed contamination. The usual field of export and domestic lamb buyers attended, but there was less store lamb competition. The market was cheaper, with quality a factor. The better quality trade weight lambs held their prices the best to average $2-$6 cheaper than last week, while the very dry skinned lambs fell by $8-$10. Store lambs were mostly $3-$4 easier. The market reached a top of $129 for export weight young lambs, however there was only limited sales above $120.

Light weight lambs generally sold from $65-$88 to a mix of restocker and processor competition. The bulk of the young lambs which sold for slaughter were trade weights and made from $90-$112, with the best quality drafts averaging an estimated 450c/kg-455c/kg cwt. The dry skinned types were discounted down to around 420c/kg cwt. The lead pens of export weight lambs, 24-26kg, sold from $117-$129, with only about a dozen sales over $120.

The yarding of sheep was very mixed for quality and mostly comprised smaller pen lots of ewes. Prices were cheaper, with plain and lightweight ewes the most affected. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $62-$75, while the medium grades of mutton sold from $46-$60 for an overall average of 240c/kg-250c/kg cwt across the yarding.

Source: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus

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