Domestic Lamb

Old trade and heavy lamb prices start to slide on quality and competition

Sheep Central, July 10, 2015
These September-November 2014-drop Merino lambs sold for $91 at Brewarrina, NSW, on AuctionsPlus this week.

These September-November 2014-drop Merino lambs sold for $91.50 at Brewarrina, NSW, on AuctionsPlus this week.

BUYERS pulled trade and especially heavy lamb saleyard prices back further mid-week as increasing numbers of new season lambs and more plainer old lambs were yarded.

Rates for old trade and heavy lambs have fallen generally 30-40c/kg cwt this week, with only the better lines of new season lambs making 600c/kg-plus at Carcoar and Wagga in New South Wales.

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for slaughter lambs were all back from 2-10c/kg, although restocker and Merino levels improved with some better quality lines offered.

The NLRS ESDIs for lamb are: restocker 492c/kg, up 3 cents; Merinos 538c/kg, up 10c; light 546c/kg, down 4c; trade 578c/kg, down 2c and heavy lambs 573c/kg, down 10c. The National trade lamb indicator is down 2 cents to 577c/kg and the heavy lamb indice finished the week on 572c/kg, down 10 cents.

Sheep prices varied on quality in the saleyards, but the mutton indicators were unchanged with the ESDI at 392c/kg and the national indice on 391c/kg.

Carcoar’s trade lambs $12-$14 cheaper

In NSW at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7900 lambs, 3000 fewer than last week, and 3000 sheep, 200 less.

The NLRS said it was a much plainer quality yarding with a large percentage of tail-end lambs and only limited numbers of heavy weights and trade lambs.

Lightweight lambs sold $8 cheaper, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $45-$104. Restocker lambs were also cheaper, at $88-$128. Trade lambs sold $12-$14 cheaper with the 18-22kg 3 scores selling from $84-$134 to average 544c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $8-$12 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $127-$177 to average 560c/kg. Hoggets sold to $122.

It was a mixed quality yarding of mutton. Merino sheep sold $3-$5 cheaper, while the crossbreds were up to $8 easier. The 2 score ewes sold from $20-$70, with the better 3 and 4 score Merinos making $82-$124 and the crossbred to $128. The 3 and 4 score woolly Merino wethers sold from $70-$140.

Wagga’s heavy old lambs $7-$15 cheaper

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 32,200 lambs, 2800 fewer than last week, and 11,100 sheep, 100 more.

The NLRS said quality was a little mixed, with the well-finished trade and heavy lambs showing good condition, but there were plenty of plainer lambs. There were 2200 new season lambs penned and some larger runs of well-presented Merino lambs. All the buyers operated and competition was reasonable on the trade weights, but eased for heavy weights.

Light lambs to the processors were down $2 and averaged $108. New season lambs sold at firm levels, from $133-$150. Medium and heavy trade weight old lambs were firm to $5 cheaper and averaged from 568-580c/kg cwt. Most of the better trade weights sold from $130-$140. Merino lambs generally sold well and averaged from $115-$130 for the trade weights. Heavy weight lambs were $7-$15 cheaper at 550-572c/kg. There were a few runs of extra heavy lambs that sold from $168-$186.

Mutton quality was generally good. Mostly Merinos were penned, with medium weight ewes averaging $100, or 390c/kg cwt, while heavy wethers averaged $124, or 437c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes were firm at $111-$136, or 379c/kg.

Hamilton’s trade lambs $4-$13 cheaper

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards, the agents yarded 4987 lambs, 369 fewer than last week and 3564 sheep, 1532 more.

The NLRS said it was a typical mixed yarding for this time of year for the regular buyers, though not all operated fully in the fluctuating market. Better finished domestic trade type lambs, 3 and 4 score, sold to more competition than the plainer medium to light weight 2 scores lambs. There was virtually no store inquiry other than for young Merino sheep.

Light lambs sold unchanged, with the light and medium trade weight 2, 3 and 4 scores mostly $4-$9 easier and in some isolated pens $13 cheaper. The reduced number of heavier lambs sold $2-$4 cheaper. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $76-$115 and medium weight 2, 3 and 4 score lines made $112-$140, averaging an estimated 600c/kg cwt. The heavy trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $148-$162, with the top pen of extra heavy lambs making $176, averaging an estimated 590c/kg.

Prices for sheep overall came back generally $8-$11, but were up to $14 for heavy crossbred ewes, while Merino medium to heavy weight wethers remained unchanged. Light 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $45-$72 and medium weight 2 and 3 score mutton made $74-$100, or 370-380c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep sold from $80-$118, with the best Merino medium weight 3 score wethers selling from $86-$94 at 380c/kg. Best rams sold from $70-$88.

Horsham’s lambs firm to $4 easier

At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3786 lambs, 1346 more than last week, and 2882 sheep, 631 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good. Most of the usual buyers attended.

The better presented lambs in all weight categories sold close to unchanged to $4 easier, with plainer types easing $5-$8. The market reached a top of $180. Restockers were quiet, but paid to $129 for trade lambs and from $55-$77 for lighter lots.

Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $71-$105. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $100-$125 and averaged around 600c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $121 to $148/head and they ranged from 520c to 630c to average around 600c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $150 to $180/head. Merino lambs sold from $85 to $104 and heavy hoggets sold to $130/head.

Sheep quality was good, with several runs of heavy crossbred ewes yarded. Heavy crossbred sheep eased $5-$10 and lighter Merino sheep sold close to firm. Merino wethers also sold easier, but still averaged close to 400c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $63-$73, with very light 1 scores making $12-$45. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $74-$111, or 350-440c/kg, with the Merino’s averaging around 400c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $91-$126. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $95-$130 and medium weights made $75-$85 at around 400c/kg cwt.

Katanning prices firm

In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4973 lambs, 800 more and 4000 sheep.

The NLRS said it was a very mixed quality yarding of mostly store lambs with some very good lines of mutton. All the usual buyers attended and prices remained firm.

Light weight new season lambs under 16kg cwt sold from $45-$75. Light store lambs sold from $21-$50 to average $37. Air freight lambs sold from $74-$100 to average $91. Crossbred lambs weighing 18-22kg made from $96-$112 and Merino lambs 18-22kg sold from $68-$95. Merino lambs sold to restockers for $21-$80, to average $64.

Light ewes sold from $25-$42. The 2 score processor mutton made $45-$65 and the better 3 score sheep sold from $57-$100, to average $87. Young Merino ewes sold to restockers for $30-$78 depending on quality. Wether prices were firm on quality lines, with processors paying from $70-$95. Restockers and feeder buyers paid $60-$95 for young wethers. Live exporters paid $85-$95 for wethers. Rams sold for $20 to processors and live exporters paid $35-$70 for younger lines.

Tasmanian prime lambs firm to $7 dearer

At the northern Tasmanian saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1550 lambs, 680 more than last week, and 400 sheep, 350 fewer.

The NLRS said there more store and light lambs at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday. The prime lamb market was firm to $7 dearer, while restockers and exporters battled for their share of light lambs.

Exporters and wholesalers paid $65-$104 for light lambs, while restockers bought well-bred lambs for $69-$108. Light trade lambs sold for $102-$113 and trade weights made $115-$136. Heavy lambs sold from $135-$150 and a few extra heavy pens made $148-$155.

The mutton market was cheaper than last week’s extreme rates with one regular exporter inactive. Light ewes made $54-$66, medium weights sold from $84-$95 and heavy sheep ranged from $86-$100.

Source: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.  

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