Lamb prices continued their positive pre-Christmas trend and mutton rates held firm at eastern states saleyards last Friday.
The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Trade Lamb Indicator as finishing the week on 519c/kg, up three cents, and the heavy lamb indice went up four cents to 531c/kg.
Restocker interest in lambs remained strong with the ES daily restocker indicator up three cents to 515c/kg and the light lamb indice up one cent to 489c/kg. The Merino lamb indicator fell one cent to 448c/kg.
The national trad lamb indicator finished the week on 519c/kg, up two cents, the heavy lamb indice closed up three cents to 531c/kg and the mutton indictor was 318c/kg, up one cent.
Strong demand on AuctionsPlus
AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said sheep and lamb numbers dropped 2000 this week to total 55,285 head, with 27,000 coming from the Christmas store lamb sale.
Maiden Merino ewes were the biggest movers last week, selling from $88-$141. The top price was for Yarrawonga and Merryville blood ewes in southern NSW with an April skin, she said.
“Strong demand for lambs continued this week, with full clearances of backgrounder lambs offered in all sales.
“The Christmas Store Lamb attracted 194 registered bidders with a full clearance.”
Ms Adams said crossbred and composite lamb prices ranged from $54-$105 and Merino wether lambs sold from $52.50-$87. In other sales, first cross lambs weighing 28kg liveweight at Yass made $86.50 and the 38-40kg lwt lambs sold from $91-$95. The top price was $105 for 20kg cwt White Suffolk cross lambs in Victoria. Merino wether lambs sold from $45-$60 to average $55.
“Lamb confidence further buoyed first cross ewe prices with lambs selling from $92.50-$190.50 to average $161 and composite ewe lambs made $93.50-$117.”
Trade lambs $7 dearer at Griffith
In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8600 lambs, 1250 more than last week, and 4500 sheep, 150 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality continued to be fair, with a large percentage of the yarding being well-finished. However, there were still a few plainer lines. Heavy and extra heavy lambs made up the majority of the offering. The usual buyers competed strongly in a dearer market.
New season lamb prices lifted $3-$5. Trade weight lambs made from $107-$125 and the heavy weights sold up to $136. Light old lambs lifted $4 to sell from $82-$94. Trade weights were $7 dearer, with prices ranging from $105-$125. Heavy and extra heavy lambs lifted $6-$8. Heavy lambs sold from $125-$144 and extra heavy lambs ranged in price from $139-$178. Carcase prices averaged from 520c/kg-564c/kg cwt.
The sheep were mostly mixed quality Merinos. Prices lifted $5, with Merino ewes selling from $70-$110. Crossbred ewes ranged from $70-$96 and Dorper ewes sold from $60-$90. Merino wethers made from $65-$115.
Trade lambs up to $17 dearer at Cowra
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 7250 lambs, 400 fewer than last week, and 3800 sheep, 1240 more.
The NLRS said quality was good across all grades. The new season and shorn lambs were very well presented.
Mainly trade and heavy weights were penned, along with more store lambs. Competition was strong from the usual buyers, particularly for the heavy trade weight lambs.
Light lambs to restockers sold from $83-$97 for the better lines. Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs were $11 dearer and in places up to $17 dearer, ranging from 552c/kg-570c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weight lambs sold from $122-$140. Heavy weight lambs were $1-$6 dearer and averaged from 517c/kg-546c/kg cwt. A pen of extra heavy weight shorn lambs topped at $166 with an estimated carcase weight of 31kg.
Mutton quality was good. Medium weight Merino ewes were $7 dearer and averaged $63, while heavy first cross ewes were $9 dearer and averaged $104.50 or 339c/kg cwt. Heavy wethers sold to $118.
Shepparton lamb prices up $5-$12
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 3125 lambs, 482 more than last week, and 2150 sheep, 572 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality remained very mixed and generally plain. Most lamb sales were $5-$12 dearer as the market caught-up to the stronger results recorded in the past week. Three pens of export weight shorn young lambs sold for more than $140, reaching a top of $145. However, the bulk of the lamb offering comprised lighter weight types and sales over $120 were limited.
The bulk of the slaughter lambs were lighter domestic types that sold to very keen competition processing competition from $90-$118, with some of the 18-20kg cwt pens recording the biggest price gains on the day. There were several lines of young Dorper lambs in the yarding and these sold to $112 and averaged over 500c/kg cwt. Light and plainer conditioned lambs sold from $55-$85, with the better lines of young restocking lambs above $80. There was only a limited selection of well finished heavy domestic and export lambs, with most sales from $120-$132 and only a handful of quality shorn lambs out to $145. The best quality slaughter lambs were estimated at 520c/kg-540c/kg cwt.
The sheep market was mostly $7-$10 dearer, with heavy ewes selling from $82-$99.60 and the general run of plainer conditioned types making $54-$75. The good slaughter sheep were estimated at 300c/kg-330c/kg cwt, with odd sales higher. The Shepparton sheep and lamb sale will resume on Friday, January 9, 2015.
Sources: AuctionsPlus and NLRS.
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