Processors and restockers keep lamb prices solid in saleyards

Sheep Central, November 27, 2015
Owen McClure with his parents Jane and Gordon, and Elders agent Ian Button at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday.

Owen McClure with his parents Jane and Gordon, and Elders agent Ian Button at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday.

STRONG demand for quality trade and heavy lambs and keen restocking competition into slaughter weight categories firmed lamb prices in saleyards mid-week.

Prices for well-finished domestic and export quality lambs lifted in all markets, by as much as $8 in Wagga and $5 in Hamilton, despite bigger seasonal yardings.

Pasture and crop restockers and lot feeders from across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria lifted store lamb prices by as much as $2-$8 in Hamilton, despite agents yarding their second highest lamb offering for the season, making about 100,000 lambs for the week.

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 551c/kg, up 2 cents; Merinos 456c/kg, up 13c; light 506c/kg, up 3c; trade 515c/kg, up 2c, and heavy 517c/kg, up 2c. The national trade lamb indicator firmed 1 cent to 514c/kg and the heavy indice was up 2 cents to 517c/kg.

The ESDI and national indicators for mutton were unchanged in 327c/kg.

Konongwootong producers happy at Hamilton

A $162.50 McClure White Suffolk cross lamb.

A $162.50 McClure White Suffolk cross lamb.

The McClure family of Konongwootong west of Hamilton in south-west Victoria were happy with their average of $142.30 for 510 White Suffolk cross lambs sold on Wednesday. Their top draft of 158 lambs, estimated at 29kg cwt with a $10-$11 skin, sold for $162 through Elders. Another 236 made $140.50 and 114 sold for $118.

The McClures have been selling lambs off first cross mothers for the past month, with averages lifting $10 a week depending on lamb quality and market rates. Gordon McClure and his son Owen agreed the season was finishing about three weeks earlier than usual.

“We normally sell about now, but usually the lambs are a bit fresher though these have stayed good today,” Gordon said.

“We started selling a week earlier.”

Owen said the mild winter suited the sheep this year and they were happy with the prices so far. They sell all their lambs through the saleyards.

“It is only one draft, we get all the ewes in once and the agents draft them up in here.”

Owen said the prices were the best they had received in about two years. They turn off about 1800 lambs annually, buying in replacement ewes and some Merino wethers for wool production.

Carcoar’s better slaughter lambs lift $2-$3

In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 12,900 lambs, 2500 more than last week, and 5775 sheep, 1175 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was good among most of the unshorn new season lambs, although some were dry in the skin. Trade weights were best supplied and there was a good run of heavy lambs. Lighter store lambs remained in similar numbers. All the usual buyers operated in a market that showed a stronger trend on better presented lambs and easier on the drier unshorn new season lambs.

The better lambs were $2-$3 dearer, with the medium and heavy trade weights ranging from $104-$135, or mostly 530-540c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold from $126-$152 and extra heavy lambs made to $167.

Mutton quality was mixed and the prices were firm to slightly dearer. Medium weight ewes sold from $64-$87 and heavy weights made to $104. Heavy Merino sold to $116. Most sold at 305-335c/kg cwt, while the better wethers sold to 360c/kg.

Wagga’s well-finished trade lambs lift $5-$8

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 26,000 lambs, 1000 more, and 8000 sheep, 2000 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was only fair, with secondary young lambs making up most of the offering. All the usual buyers operated.

Well-bred second cross store lambs were well-supplied and restockers were active over all weights. Store orders were from Albury, Cootamundra, Forbes, Corowa and local areas. New season trade lambs were in limited numbers and sold to stronger demand over all categories.

Well-finished medium and heavy trade lambs were $5-$8 dearer with odd sales lifting above 600c/kg cwt. The better finished lambs made from $130-$150, or 550-578c/kg cwt. Shorn heavy trade lambs averaged 555c/kg. Light trade lamb prices increased $5 due to stronger restocker demand to average $118.60. Immature lamb prices were unchanged, averaging $66.50. Well-bred second cross lambs with weight and frame, and returning to the paddock, sold $7 dearer at $98-$110. Feedlot buyers paid $100-$120.60.

Heavy and extra heavy export lambs were in limited numbers, with all pens caught in bidding duels as buyers scrambled for supplies. Heavy lambs made from $144-$168.20.

The mutton market sold to steady demand, with prices generally firm to a few cents easier. Trade sheep were well-supplied and sold from $67-$96 to average 326c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred and Merino ewes sold $2 easier, with most making 304-353c/kg.

Hamilton slaughter lambs up $3-$5, stores lift $2-$8

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 54,053 lambs, 257 fewer than last Wednesday.

The NLRS said the Hamilton selling centre was completely full with no room to move as new season lamb supply peaked. A full complement of buyers operated at times throughout the sale and more restockers were also present due to the large yarding.

All weights and condition scores were represented in the offering, including extra heavy 5 score young lambs, medium trade 3 and 4 scores suitable for domestic slaughter and the 1 and 2 score lighter plainer lambs ideal for store buyers.

Prices showed a slightly dearer trend compared to Monday’s sale, with heavy lambs $3 dearer, and the trade weights and light trade lambs also stronger by $3-$5. The store lambs sold firm to $2-$8 dearer at times. Restockers came from the Wimmera, Casterton, South Australia, Albury and Shepparton and purchased lambs between 530c and up to 600c/kg cwt and above at times. The store buyers paid $51-$74 for 1 score lambs and $81-$102 for the 2 and 3 score lines weighing 10-19kg cwt.

Very light 1 score lambs sold from $31-$78. The 2 score light weight lambs made $74-$104 and light-medium trade 2 and 3 scores sold from $100-$124. Medium weight 3 and 4 score lambs made $123-$144 and heavy trade weight drafts sold from $135-$148, or 495-550c/kg to average an estimated 525c/kg. Heavy 4 score lambs, 26-30kg cwt, sold from $148-$168 and the extra heavy 4 and 5 score export lambs made $155-$170, to average around 510c/kg. The best old lambs sold to$115 and the better hoggets made $115-$117.

Horsham’s lambs sell firm to dearer

At the Horsham saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 4335 lambs, 5386 fewer than last week, and 5665 sheep, 339 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with young lambs from southern areas making up most of the yarding. Not all the usual buyers attended or operated in a generally firm market, with selected pens a few dollars dearer in places.

Lamb restockers paid mostly $68-$92.50. Trade weight, shorn young lambs sold from $92-$118 and averaged around 510c/kg cwt. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $93-$115 and averaged about 510c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $115-$122, with the heavier lots selling from $122-$136, or 490-530c/kg, to average around 510c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $140-$146 and averaged about 520c/kg.

The sheep offering included all weights and grades, which generally sold firm to a few dollars easier. There were more lighter Merino sheep. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $38-$76. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $58-$94.50, or 290-360c/kg cwt, with Merino mutton averaging around 340c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $68-$100. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $81-$106 and the medium weights made $68-$84.

Hamilton’s heavy sheep lift $2-$4

At the Hamilton saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 11,764 sheep, 1265 more than last week.

The NLRS said sheep quality lifted, especially in the heavy and medium weight Merino and crossbred ewes recently weaned of their lambs. There was also a few pens of overweight crossbred ewes and fewer light 1 score sheep.

The Merino wether offering was also very good, with most in heavy to medium condition. Bidding was steady from a good number of buyers and gained strength as the sale progressed.

Prices were stronger for heavy sheep were $2-$4 dearer. Medium trade weights and light mutton sold firm at the latter stages to be $2-$4 cheaper over the whole market. Restockers were active at times, buying crossbred ewes from $91-$111 and Merino wethers for $80-$97.

Very light sheep sold from $36-$52. Light weight 1 and 2 score ewes sold from $61-$73. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $63-$90, or 310-360c/kg, to average around 330c/kg. Heavy and extra heavy crossbred sheep, 3-4 score, sold from $80-$95, or 270-335c/kg, averaging around 290c/kg. Merino wethers were mostly $4-$7 dearer. Medium weight 2-3 score wethers sold from $70-$93 and heavier 3 and 4 scores made $96-$105, to average an estimated 345c/kg. Rams sold from $38-$65.

Katanning’s quality medium trade lambs sell firm to dearer

In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7000 lambs, 2500 more than last week, and 13,336 sheep, 6233 more.

The NLRS said the increased yarding due to drying conditions was very mixed in quality. Quality medium weight lambs sold firm to dearer and heavy lambs made to $129. All the usual buyers attended and graziers bid on discounted unfinished lambs.

Light weight new season lambs sold from $59-$95, the trade weights made from $97-$110 and heavy weights $117-$129. Lambs suitable for air freight sold from $68-$94. Store crossbred lambs sold to restockers and feeders made from $5 for immature lambs up to $95 for those almost finished. Merino store lambs sold for $5-$69, depending on weight and quality.

Prime ewe mutton was keenly sought and sold dearer again.  Restockers paid to $102 for young Merino ewes and $95 for the young store wethers. Light ewes sold from $15-$46.

Slaughter ewes made $25-$70, while the better 3 score bare shorn sheep sold from $65 and the heavyweights made to $105. Restockers paid $37-$70 for Merino ewes. Wethers sold from $45-$104, depending on quality and weight. Young rams sold to $73, while the older rams only made $10-$51.

Warwick’s heavy lambs sell to $151

In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1487 lambs and hoggets, and 228 sheep.

In a smaller yarding of lambs and a similar yarding of sheep, the market was fully firm on last week’s rates. The top-priced lambs estimated at 59.7kg lwt sold for $151 for Anthony Wallis, trading as Bathampton Trust of Hannaford.

Crossbred lambs 46-55kg lwt sold from $130-$145, 42-45kg lambs made $112-$122, the 36-42kg lines ranged from $109-$119.50 and the 35-40ks lambs sold for $100-$107.50.

Shorn crossbred hoggets 67kg lwt sold to $107. Trade wethers with $10 skins sold to $98, or 320c/kg cwt, and light wethers with $10 skins made to $59, or 295c/kg.

Heavy crossbred ewes with $8 skins sold to $89, or 305c/kg, and light ewes with $6 skins made to $50, or 255c/kg.

Sources: MLA, NLRS.


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