Buyers rewarded quality but continued to discount dry or seed-affected lambs at saleyards early this week.
With numbers of quality new season lambs dropping in the northern markets, buyers are seeing the first runs of young lambs in the south, with exporters seeking fresh quality heavy lines.
MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator as unchanged on 454c/kg cwt after the last sale on Tuesday, with the heavy lamb indicator on 459c/kg cwt. The ES mutton indicator is at 273c/kg, down two cents.
The national lamb indicators were also mostly down or unchanged, apart from the heavy category. A big drop in the restocker indicator, down 11 cents, indicated a slackening in demand to parity with heavy and trade carcase weight prices. The lamb indicators are: restocker 457c/kg cwt, down 11 cents; Merino 381, no change; light 4176c/kg, down 5c; trade 453c/kg, nc; heavy 457, up 4c. The mutton indicator is at 273c/kg, up three cents.
NSW OTH prices follow quality down
Processors reported declines in OTH lamb rates to the NLRS this week, apart from in WA, as the dry season takes its toll on skins and carcase yields. Mutton rates were also generally lower in all states, except WA.
In NSW, the NLRS said OTH lamb and mutton rates again decreased across all weight ranges as physical market prices fell last week. Quality continues to be mixed, with more young lambs presenting with dry skins as the hot and windy weather persists in some areas.
The average NSW lamb rates for 2-4 scores are: 18-22kg, 470c/kg, down 13 cents; 22-24kg, 468c/kg, down 15c; 24-26kg, 463c/kg, down 3c; 26kg+, 443c/kg, down 7c; Merino 16-22kg, 395c/kg, no change. Sheep rates: 14-18kg, 252, nc; 18-24kg, 273c/kg, down 14c; 24kg+, 290c/kg, down 13c.
Victorian OTH rates fall
In Victoria, the NLRS said OTH lamb rates declined across all categories week-on-week, with the majority of contributors making downward adjustments. Mutton rates were also lower, with medium weight carcases averaging 250c/kg cwt.
The average Victorian lamb rates for 2-4 scores are: 16-18kg, 455c/kg, down 10c; 18-20kg, 456c/kg, down 10c; 20-22kg, 464c/kg, down 12c; 22-24kg, 465c/kg, down 15c; 24-26kg, 450c/kg, down 17c; 26kg+, 430c/kg, down 20c; Merinos 16-22kg, 405c/kg, down 10. Sheep rates; 14-18kg, 223c/kg, down 10c; 18-24kg, 250c/kg, down 8c; 24kg+. 230c/kg, down 10c.
SA OTH lamb rates slip 5-10c/kg
In SA, the NLRS said OTH lamb rates declined between 5-10c/kg cwt, with trade weight lambs averaging 470c/kg cwt. Mutton rates remained unchanged week-on-week.
The average SA lamb rates for 2-4 scores are: 18-24kg, 470c/kg. down 10c; 24-26kg+, 450c/kg, down 5c; Merinos 16-22kg, 430c/kg. Sheep rates: 14-18kg, 173c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 220c/kg, nc.
Tasmania’s OTH rates were unchanged for light and trade lambs, slightly better for heavies and down for the extra heavy category. Sheep rates fell across the weights.
The averaged Tasmanian lamb rates for 2-4 scores are: 0-16kg, 430c/kg, nc; 16-18kg, 460c/kg, nc; 18-24c/kg, 470c/kg, nc; 24-26kg, 470c/kg, up 5c; 26kg+, 460c/kg, down 5c. Sheep: 0-14kg, 260c/kg, down 30c; 14-24kg, 280c/kg, down 30c; 24kg+, 250c/kg, down 60c.
Trade lambs $3-$5 dearer at Dubbo
In NSW at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 14,100 lambs, 7100 fewer than last week, and 5800 sheep, 3800 less.
The NLRS said following the cheaper markets of the previous week and with harvest under way in some districts, numbers were back considerably. It was a much plainer quality yarding with limited numbers of new season and heavy weight old lambs. Merino lambs and hoggets were well-supplied.
Trade weight new season lambs were $2-$5 dearer with 3 scores selling from $76-$115 to average 471c/kg cwt. Extra heavy weight lambs were cheaper though the lambs weighing 22-26kg were firm to $3 dearer selling from $106-$122. Those over 26kg sold to $130. Merino lambs were $3-$6 dearer with trade weights selling from $76-$105. Lightweight lambs were $2 dearer with 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $58-$80. Restockers paid to $85 and the best hoggets sold for $82.
Mutton quality was very mixed with no good lines of sheep compared to previous sales. Light and medium weight sheep were $4-$6 cheaper while the heavy weight ewes were $1 easier. Heavy weight wethers were up to $8 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $28 to $60, while the better 3 and 4 score medium and heavy weights sold from $48-$93 for Merinos and $86 for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $56-$94. A single extra heavy weight crossbred wether sold for $100.
Heavy young lambs $6 cheaper at Tamworth
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3550 lambs, 280 more than last week, and 1300 sheep, 100 less.
The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was fair to good with young lambs well-represented. There was a good supply of high quality young lambs along with quite a few secondary lots showing dryness and seed contamination. The usual buyers attended, but the market tended cheaper.
Trade weight young lambs were firm to $5 cheaper. There were some quality-related positive price changes. The heavy young lambs were up to $6 cheaper with a number of pens deemed to carry to much condition.
Demand for old lambs continues to decline with secondary quality lots attracting restricted competition. Although cheaper, the market for the good quality trade and heavyweight lambs held up reasonably well. Once again there were some quality-related positive price changes.
In the sheep market there were large discounts in place for extra heavy sheep carrying too much weight and condition. Overall market trends were cheaper throughout with good quality, well finished medium and heavyweights least affected.
Heavy lambs lift $3-$4 at Forbes
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 15,200 lambs, 9000 fewer than last week, and 8200 sheep, 4500 less.
The NLRS said 5300 new season lambs were penned and quality was similar to previous sales. More of the yarding showed signs of dryness. The usual buyers competed in a dearer market.
Light new season lambs sold from $83-$98. Trade weight lambs were $5 dearer, with prices ranging from $98-$117. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs lifted $3-$4. Heavy lambs sold from $115-$125 and extra heavy weights received from $125-$136. Carcase prices averaged from 460c/kg-490c/kg cwt. Old trade weight lambs sold from $78-$98. Heavy lambs averaged $108 and extra heavy weights received from $116-$144.
Mutton numbers were made up of mostly Merinos and quality was fair. Prices regained all of last week’s decline, lifting $8-$9. Merino ewes sold from $72-$99. Crossbred ewes ranged in price from $65-$87 and Dorper ewes sold from $54-$66. Merino wethers made $64-$89.
Lambs $8-$10 cheaper on quality at Inverell
At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2342 lambs, 43 fewer than last week, and 1589 sheep, 470 more.
The NLRS said the fairly mixed quality yarding of lambs had some well-finished lines. However, several consignments showed the effects of the dry weather. There were a few pens of young lambs, but most were old lambs. Trade weights were well-supplied and there were several pens of heavy and extra heavy lambs.
Competition was weaker, with most lambs selling $8-$10 cheaper. Light 2 score lambs to restockers made from $23-$50, while a run of trade weight 3 score Dorper lambs averaged $3 dearer at $94 or 490¢/kg cwt. Heavy 3 score lambs eased $12, averaging $118 and selling to a top of $122.
The yarding of mutton was made up of a good supply of ewes and wethers. The market was much cheaper with most sales down by $10-$15. Medium weight 3 score ewes sold from $40-$62 and averaged $50 or 212¢/kg cwt. Medium weight 3 score Merino wethers averaged $53, back $12.
Quality lambs $2-$5 dearer at Ballarat
In Victoria at the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 29,014 lambs, 5714 more than last week, and 7700 sheep, 122 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good with a better selection of trade and heavy lambs. The usual buyers bid strongly, with the better-conditioned quality lambs selling generally $2-$5 dearer than last week. The best of the heavy lambs sold to $134 at around 450c/kg cwt. Feeders and restockers sourced light lambs from $28-$60 and heavier lambs from $69-$98.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $52-$72. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $73-$101.50.
Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $95-$102, with the heavier weights selling from $108-$123.50 and ranging from 425c/kg-480c/kg cwt, to average around 460c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $118-$134 at around 455c/kg cwt.
Sheep sold to stronger demand to be $2-$5 up on last week. An outstanding pen of heavy Merino wethers sold to $88, with most wethers selling $2 better. Restockers paid from $72-$83 for crossbred ewes.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $35-$59, with very light 1 scores selling from $22-$42. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $44-$80 and averaged around 280c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $56-$82, with heavy Merino wethers making $70-$88 and medium weights $58-$74.
Sheep up $10-$12 at Naracoorte
In SA at the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 24,667 lambs, 1926 more than last week, and 2526 sheep, 14 fewer.
The NLRS said most of the lamb yarding again comprised light weight store-conditioned lambs. This suited the strong field of store buyers who paid similar to slightly higher prices this week.
The usual meat processors were active and they paid firm to slightly easier prices for trade weight lambs and $2-$4 less for heavier export weights. Overall the quality of the sheep and lambs was again mixed, with fewer being of very good quality due to the continuing dry conditions.
The light weight 2 score lambs sold from $60-$84 to be firm on last week, while light weight trade lambs averaged $4 easier and made $74-$91. The plentiful supply of score 2 restocker lambs ranged from $55-$95, with the odd sale of heavier lambs to $103. Medium to heavy weight 3 score trade lambs sold from $85-$115 and averaged 445c/kg cwt. The 4 score heavy weight export lambs made from $107-$128, with extra heavy weights from $128-$138. These export lambs averaged 450c/kg cwt.
The sheep sale was mainly $10-$12 dearer, with a run of 2 to 4 score ewes mostly between 235c/kg-275c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 and 2 score ewes made from $45-$52, while medium weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $52-$68. The heavy and extra heavy weight 3 to 5 score sheep made $62-$79, with a pen of extra heavy Merino wethers to $84. The few pens of rams also sold at dearer levels to be from $20-$42.
Solid demand despite quality at Dublin
At the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 8673 lambs, 410 more than last week, and 3822 sheep, 181 fewer.
The NLRS said the yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to solid competition from the usual trade and processor buyers. The quality of the yarding was generally poor, with most lambs showing the rigors of the dry season. The few good quality lambs yarded attracted stronger bidding and the large numbers of light weight crossbreds sold to animated bidding by feeders from the mid-north and Yorke Peninsula.
Very light weight crossbred lambs sold to feeder buyers from $31-$75, while light weights lifted $5-$8 and returned $67-$84. Light weight 3 score lambs to trade buyers lifted $4, selling from $75-$90 and averaging 402c/kg cwt. Light weight Merino lambs to restockers sold from $30-$48 and light weight Merinos sold to processors for $70. One good draft of woolly Merino lambs sold at $114. Light trade weight 3 scores lifted $7, selling from $87-$103, averaging 414c/kg cwt, and heavy trade weight 4 scores were scarce and lifted $8, selling from $102-$115 and averaging 438c/kg cwt. The few heavy weights yarded sold from $118-$122, averaging 450c/kg cwt.
The mixed yarding of sheep sold to solid processor competition and restockers bought ewes at $71 and wethers at $63. Light weight 2 score Merino ewes sold from $48-$63, averaging 229c/kg cwt, and heavy weight 3 scores lifted marginally, selling from $48-$70 and averaging 198c/kg cwt. Heavyweight wethers attracted stronger bidding and lifted $9, selling from $60-$80 and averaging 240c/kg cwt and heavy weight rams returned vendors $30-$62.
Most lamb prices slip $5 at Muchea
In WA at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4500 lambs, 892 fewer than last week, and 8632 sheep, 2132 less.
The NLRS said numbers lifted almost 10 percent with harvest commencing in eastern and northern districts. Quality continued to decline, with large numbers of light-conditioned ewes and very limited supplies of prime trade and heavy lambs available. Most lambs were light weight and store categories, with moderate numbers of shorn lambs and light weight Merinos. Restocker interest kept a base in the market, with most processors bidding erratically, particularly on lamb. Prices slipped around $5 across most trade and processor categories, with restocker and ram categories close to firm.
Light weight processor categories remained equal, with prices from $65-$90.50. Trade lamb started the sale at discounts of $12, but closed the sale $5 dearer. Most trade lamb sold from $78-$95 with late sales lifting to a top of $114. Shorn trade and heavy lambs made from $85-$95. Better conditioned light and store lambs to feeders and restockers lifted $2, with sales from $60-$81, while light drafts including most Merino store lambs made from $35-$60.
Ewe prices were mixed with the very light weight drafts remaining close to equal at $30-$48. Large numbers of 2 score processor mutton slipped $5 for a $57 average, with the better 3 and 4 score ewes back by close to $10 and selling from $55-$83. Restockers were active on mature ewe drafts with better conditioned, longer-woolled lines firm and selling from $76-$98. However, most ewes sold close to $8 cheaper, from $55-$70.
Wether prices were mostly cheaper with very limited live export activity. Heavy wethers to processors made from $80-$100 to be close to equal, with those going to feed making $68-$85. Lighter and store drafts slipped $3-$4, with most sales from $55-$77 and very light wether drafts including wether lambs $50-$70. Ram prices were solid, as better young rams made $40-$65, with old rams to processors from $15-$45.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.