Domestic Lamb

Prices for best lambs and mutton lift as numbers decline

Sheep Central, May 15, 2015
These rising four-year-old first cross ewes scanned in lamb 169pc to White Suffolk rams sold for $210 at Grenfell on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

These rising four-year-old first cross ewes scanned in lamb 169pc to White Suffolk rams sold for $210 at Grenfell on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

Prices for medium trade and heavy lambs climbed over 600c/kg cwt in some saleyards mid-week as quality lines became rarer, forcing northern buyers south.

At Hamilton in Victoria on Wednesday, the National Livestock Reporting Service said medium trade 2, 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $117-$140, ranging from 590-630c/kg cwt. The centre’s heavy trade weight lambs, 3 and 4 score, sold from $136-$155 and the extra heavy export lines made $157-$174, or 560-580c/kg.

At Wagga in NSW on Thursday, heavy lambs averaged 621c/kg cwt, while the extra heavy pens averaged from 587-593c/kg, around 50-60c/kg up on levels just weeks ago.

Mutton also found new levels over the last two days for a reduced mid-week offering, despite the normal winter wind down at some works.

At Horsham on Wednesday, medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $70-$100 or 310-400c/kg cwt to average around 380c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $91-$126, with heavy Merino wethers selling from $114-$125 at around 410c/kg. Limited numbers of heavy sheep at Wagga sold from $111-$145.60 to average 399-414c/kg and trade sheep made from $73-$114 to average 398c/kg.

NLRS indicators average firm to lower for lamb

However, despite the high points in carcase weight rates for quality lambs and sheep, the overall quality of yardings and less interest from restockers contributed to all NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb being quoted either remaining firm or dropping after Thursday’s sales.

The ESDIs for the lamb categories are: restocker 564c/kg, down 7 cents; Merino 523c/kg, no change; light 548c/kg, down 1 cent; trade 575c/kg, down 1 cent, and; heavy 587c/kg, down 3 cents. The national trade lamb indicator closed at 577c/kg, down 2 cents and the heavy lamb indice is on 588c/kg, up two cents.

The NLRS mutton indicators lifted five cents, with the ESDI closing on 361c/kg, and the national indice is on 360c/kg.

Heavy lambs $2-$6 dearer at Carcoar

In NSW at Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday the agents yarded 8400 lambs, 600 more than last week, and 2600 sheep, 100 more.

The NLRS said it was a good quality yarding, with good numbers of heavy weight and heavy trade weight lambs in all runs, along with fair numbers to suit the store buyers.

Light weight lambs sold firm to the processors, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $68-$97. Lambs to the restockers were dearer, with the restockers paying from $51-$121. Trade lambs were firm to $2 cheaper, with the 18-22kg 3 scores selling from $97-$139 to average 578c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $2-$6 dearer, with the over 22kg cwt 4 scores making $128-$190.

It was a mixed quality mutton yarding where most grades were $1-$3 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $30-$76, while the better 3 and 4 scores sold from $70-$103 for Merinos and to $105 for crossbreds. The better medium and heavy weight Merino wethers sold from $78-$105.

Wagga’s heavy lambs average 621c/kg

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 30,000 lambs, 6000 more than last week, and 5900 sheep, 100 fewer.

The NLRS said quality slipped from the previous sale, with greater numbers of dry longer-wool lambs lacking finish. A full field of buyers attended, along with restocker and lot feeder competition. Trade lambs were in reasonable supply, but quality was mixed, causing prices to fluctuate throughout the sale.

Light trade weight lambs were limited and, due to the lack of quality, prices eased $4 to average $121.20. Medium and heavy trade lambs were in reasonable supply, however quality was very mixed, with the supplementary shorn lambs attracting the better prices to average $137.20. Merino lambs were well supplied and well-finished pens suitable for the trade made from $102-$139. Plainer light weight lambs to the processors sold $5-$8 cheaper, making from $75-$108.

Heavy and extra heavy lambs sold to stronger competition, with a major northern processors operating across the better finished pens. The bulk of the heavy and extra heavy lambs made from $158-$204. Heavy lambs averaged 621c/kg cwt, while the extra heavy pens averaged from 587-593c/kg.

Mutton quality was mixed, with the majority of the sheep medium weights. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were well supplied and competition strengthened due to increased buying competition in this category. Trade sheep made from $73-$114 to average 398c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep were in limited numbers, selling from $111-$145.60 to average 399-414c/kg.

Hamilton’s medium trade lambs hit 590-630c/kg

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 6440 lambs, 1634 fewer than last week, and 2877 sheep, 1665 less.

The NLRS said the usual buyers bid on a mixed quality yarding, with some good pens of heavy and trade weights, but more unfinished lambs were again presented. There was virtually no restocker or feeder activity.

Lambs sold to a dearer trend, due to spirited bidding, up $5-$10 across the sale, especially in the trade weight range. Light 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $60-$116. Medium trade 2, 3 and 4 scores sold from $117-$140, ranging from 590-630c/kg cwt. The heavy trade weight lambs, 3 and 4 score, sold from $136-$155 and the extra heavy export lambs sold from $157-$174, or from 560-580c/kg.

A poorer quality yarding of sheep saw light sheep sell unchanged to $5-$6 dearer in places. Medium mutton was unchanged at around 340-360c/kg and the heavier sheep were $4-$5 dearer, averaging 370c/kg. Light 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $44-$66. Medium 2 and 3 scores made from $70-$92 and the heavier 3 to 5 score sheep made to $90. Crossbred wethers sold to $134. The best Merino wethers sold to $105, also around 370c/kg. Rams were $5-$13 dearer at times.

Horsham lambs lift $2-$5

At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8837 lambs, 1999 more than last week, and 1905 sheep, 707 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, with all the usual buyers operating on the lambs, but not all on the sheep.

Lambs generally sold to a dearer trend, with most improving $2-$5 and more in places. The best of the 24-26kg cwt lambs showed the most improvement. Restocking activity was limited to a few pens of light lambs selling to $52.

Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $80-$96. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $93-$123. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $124-$151 and ranged from 540-610c/kg cwt to average around 580c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $140-$185, or 580-590c/kg. Merino lambs sold from $88-$126. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $62-$68.

The sheep offering included all weights, with most selling firm to a few dollars dearer. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $70-$100, from 310-400c/kg cwt to average around 380c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $91-$126, with heavy Merino wethers selling from $114-$125 at around 410c/kg. Heavy rams sold to $100.

Mt Gambier prices firm

In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1435 lambs, 707 more than last week, and 163 sheep, 60 more.

The NLRS said quality was mixed with the majority of the yarding lacking weight and condition. The usual trade and processor buyers attended, however not all were active and prices were generally firm.

Lightweight lambs to the trade ranged from $82-$96, with lightweight trade 2 and 3 score lambs making $95-$112. Restockers were active and purchased from $50-$110. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $109-$132, to be a marginal $2 dearer. Heavy 4 score lambs were in short supply and ranged from $126-$138. Heavy ewes sold to $118 and rams made to $30.

Katanning sheep and lamb prices hold firm

In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 11,406 lambs, 2663 more than last week, and 6500 sheep, 4500 less.

The NLRS said the mixed quality yarding was dominated by store wether Merino lambs. Competition was solid from restockers and regular processors, but there was limited live export competition. Prices remained firm on last week’s market.

Light store lambs sold from $20-$53. Air freight lambs made $55-$110. Crossbred lambs weighing 18-22kg cwt sold firm at $81-$123, while Merino lambs, 18-22kg, sold from $65-$121, to average $102. Merino lambs to restockers sold from $42-$78, depending on quality. Heavy lambs over 22kg were firm and returned $90-$132.

The light ewes made $35-$55 to remain firm. The 2 score processor mutton made $51-$78 and the better 3 score mutton sold up to $105. Wether prices were firm, with feeders bidding strongly for the light weight Merinos which sold from $39-$88. Crossbred wethers sold to processors from $90-$110 and Merinos made $65-$115, averaging $90. Rams remained firm, with heavyweight rams making $20-$112 and ram lambs selling from $30-$97.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.

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