Prices hold for quality lambs despite numbers and skin values

Sheep Central, July 15, 2016
The BR&C Ouyen team selling Murray Pohlner's lambs for $200 this week.

The BR&C Ouyen team selling Murray Pohlner’s lambs for $200 this week.

SLAUGHTER lamb prices improved mid-week driven mainly by strong domestic demand for trade and heavy lambs.

Despite continued subdued demand for skins and a lift in saleyard offerings mid-week, prices for trade lamb prices lifted by up to $10 in New South Wales and Victoria, and heavy lamb prices sold firm to $7 dearer.

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb had all lifted, except for restocker lambs, which lost 1 cents to 579c/kg.

The ESDIs for the other lamb categories are: Merinos 596c/kg, up 3 cents; light 593c/kg, up 4c; trade 639c/kg, up 4c; heavy 655c/kg, up 5c.

Mutton prices were firm to dearer mid-week at most centres, with the ESDI losing 1 cent to 397c/kg.

Carcoar trade lambs lift $9

In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7500 lambs, 500 more than last week, and 2100 sheep, 400 fewer.

The NLRS said the damp cold conditions held numbers back on the expected draw. It was a fair quality yarding with odd pens of heavy weights and a pretty good selection of trade weights. There were also the normal runs of lightweights. Most of the regular buyers competed in the solid market.

Light weight lambs sold $5 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $60-$117. Trade lambs were $9 dearer, with the 18-23kg 3 scores making $120-$170, to average 635-660c/kg cwt.

Heavy weight lambs were $3-$7 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $153-$197. Restockers paid to $92 and hoggets sold to $142.

It was a mixed quality yarding of mutton and most grades finished firm to $3 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $30-$75. The better 3 and 4 score White Dorpers sold from $80-$124 and Merinos made to $122. Merino wethers sold to $94.

Best heavy lambs at Cootamundra lift $12

At the Cootamundra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5384 lambs, 1132 more than two weeks ago, and 3467 sheep, 4 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality varied in the typical cold winter market. Light lambs were well-supplied and there was strong competition from processors and restockers. Trade and heavy lambs were in good numbers with the better lambs coming off crop and feeders. Extra heavy lambs were limited. Not all the usual buyers operated in the dearer market.

Light lambs sold to processors lifted $6 to $72-$108. Trade weights were $4-$5 stronger, with the medium and heavy weights making $122-$164. Better-shaped and bred heavy lambs gained up to $12, with supermarkets and exporters competing for the limited numbers. Prices ranged from $145-$184 and extra heavy weights made to $189. Most carcase prices were from 605-660c/kg.

Sheep quality was mixed. Ewes sold $4-$5 cheaper. Medium weight Merinos made $81-$126 and heavy cross bred ewes sold to $130, or mostly 410-430c/kg. A large run of Merino wethers sold dearer, with heavy weights making $120-$135 and averaging 470c/kg.

Wagga lambs firm to dearer

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 39,000 lambs, 9300 more than last week, and 5000 sheep, 1900 more.

The NLRS said the quality of the trade and heavy lambs slipped, with most pens showing the effects of the harsh winter conditions over the past fortnight. Not all export buyers operated fully or competed in the sheep run, but major domestic processors were very strong on trade and heavy lambs with finish and shorter skins. There were limited store orders, but southern processors were the market drivers over lighter weight categories.

Skins values have almost halved, but this didn’t deter buyers. Grain-fed shorter skinned trade lambs attracted premium prices as major domestic buyers bid on high-yielding pens. Most producers are turning off the tail-end of last year’s lambs, causing buyers to be more selective.

Trade lamb prices firmed as the market progressed, with heavy trade lambs trending dearer. The better finished 22-24kg cwt heavy lambs sold for $140-$178, averaging 666c/kg. Merino trade lambs sold to varying trends at $122-$154. Lighter weight lambs suitable to restock or feed sold to fewer buyers. The best price recorded for backgrounding lambs was $120.

Heavy and extra heavy lambs lacked the weight of the previous week, with some pens affected by the winter conditions. Heavy lambs were generally firm to a few dollars dearer, averaging 688c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to steady demand, but one major processor was not operating fully and prices were generally unchanged at $186-$194. There was a limited number of lambs over 30kg cwt which lacked weight and sold from $206-$212.

The mixed quality offering of sheep included all weights and grades. Heavy cross bred ewes sold $6 dearer to average 339c/kg. Trade sheep sold to fluctuating demand from $77-$110, or 325-364c/kg cwt. Plainer light weight sheep made $51-$75, or 340-360c/kg.

Hamilton trade lambs mostly $4-$9 dearer

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4422 lambs, 1805 fewer than last week, and 2139 sheep, 1263 less.

The NLRS said fewer sheep and lambs were offered to the usual buyers in very cold and wet conditions. Quality was good to average in a stronger, more competitive, market with buyers urgently filling orders as the lamb supply decreases.

Restockers paid $57-$68 for very light 1 scores and $64-$113 for 2 score store lambs, with an extra agent from Ararat active in the sale. Some light weight lambs sold slightly easier. However, light, medium and heavy trade lambs were mostly $4-$9 dearer, especially 3 and 4 scores ideal for slaughter. Carcase weight costs reached up to 700c/kg and higher.

Light weight 2 score lambs sold to processors for $73-$110, averaging close to 600c/kg. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $106-$126, averaging an estimated 645c/kg. Medium trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs made $130-$158, or 626-717c/kg, to average 675c/kg. Heavy trade lambs 3-4 score made $168-$182 and extra heavy export lambs, 4 score, sold from $184- $204. The limited number of hoggets sold from $94-$136.

Prices for sheep were generally unchanged, but heavier crossbred ewes and Merino ewes with good cover were $5-$7 dearer in places. All grades and weights were yarded. The light 1-2 scores made $48-$79. Medium weight 2-3 scores sold from $77-$97. Merino mutton averaged 415c/kg. Heavy crossbred sheep sold from $101-$137, averaging 350c/kg. Merino wethers of mostly medium weights made $86-$113, averaging 423c/kg. Rams sold from $74-$108.

Horsham lambs generally up $5-$10

At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3439 lambs, 862 more than last week, and 1275 sheep, 424 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with some quality pens of trade and heavy lambs. Most of the usual buyers operated in the dearer market.

Lambs generally sold $5-$10 up on last week. The best heavy lambs sold to $207 and heavier trade weights made $157-$188. Merino lambs sold from $99-$134 and the lighter lots sold to $86. Restocking activity was limited to a few pens of lambs at $95.50-$106.50. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $84-$112.

Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $106-$152 and averaged around 670c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $142-$158 with the heavier drafts made $157-$188, or 650-740c/kg, averaging around 680c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $169-$207.

The sheep yarding included all grades. Lighter sheep sold firm and heavy sheep were easier. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $60-$91. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $75-$120, or 395-430c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 410c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $89.50-$122.50 and heavy Merino ewes making $115-$123. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $116-$134.50 and the medium weights made to $100.50, averaging around 430c/kg. Young shorn Merino wethers sold from $97-$117.

Ouyen lambs firm to $6 dearer

At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 7308 lambs and 2750 sheep.

Quality export lambs were quoted firm to $6 dearer and trade lambs $5-$10 dearer. Heavy hoggets made to $166 and mutton was firm to $5 easier.

Crossbred export weight lambs sold from $160-$222, or 590-630c/kg, trade lambs made $121-$178, or 620-700c/kg, and stores sold for $55-$124, or 560-680c/kg.

Light Merino lambs made $62-$128, or $550-600c/kg, and heavy lines sold from $122- $169.60, or 580-680c/kg.

Light sheep sold from $54-$112, or 380-420c/kg, and heavy lines made $95-$147, or 360-400c/kg.

Katanning lambs make to $126

In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3042 lambs, 1191 more than last week, and 1500 sheep.

The NLRS said lambs dominated the yarding, with heavy crossbred lambs selling to $126.

Light weight lambs sold from $35-$79. Trade weight lambs made $95-$119. Lambs suitable for air freight sold from $65-$105. Crossbred lambs sold to feeders for $51-$65. Light Merino store lambs sold from $45 up to $72 for the better framed lambs.

Mutton supply was again limited. Light ewes with a full fleece sold from $50-$78. Heavy prime three score mutton made $81-$125. Young Merino red tag ewes sold from $68-$75.

Young wethers sold to processors for $67-$82, depending on weight. Feeder buyers bought young wethers for $50-$101, depending on frame and quality, and liv exporters paid $85-$113. Ram lambs sold to processors and feeders from $50-$82 and older rams made $15-$76.

Warwick lambs firm

In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1718 lambs and hoggets, and 739 sheep.

In a similar yarding of lambs and a larger yarding of sheep, the lamb prices were quoted as unchanged and mutton was cheaper. The top-priced lambs made $162 for Ellangowan producer Bruce Passmore.

Crossbred lambs weighing 51-55kg lwt sold from $148-$158, 46-50kg lambs made $146-$162, 41-45kg lines sold for $114-$124 and the 35-40kg lambs sold from $96-$103.50.

Shorn crossbred hoggets weighing 61.6kg lwt sold to $130. Trade wethers with $18 skins made to $130, or 330c/kg, and light wethers with $5 skins sold to $70, or 275c/kg.

Heavy crossbred ewes with $18 skins sold to $120, or 315c/kg, and light ewes with $6 skins made to $72, or 260c/kg.

Sources: MLA, NLRS.


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