Domestic Lamb

Quality trade and heavy lamb prices hold firm as new season turn-off approaches

Sheep Central, June 29, 2015
These Feb-March 2015-drop Poll Dorset cross lambs, 13kg cwt, sold for $100 at Blayney, NSW, on AuctionsPlus last week.

These Feb-March 2015-drop Poll Dorset cross lambs, 13kg cwt, sold for $100 at Blayney, NSW, on AuctionsPlus last week.

QUALITY slaughter lamb and mutton prices held firm late last week after big weekly rises.

Although the few saleyards operating in NSW and Victoria, increased their lamb and sheep yardings, processors bid strongly on any quality offerings, especially heavy lambs and mutton.

The odd pens of early 2015-drop lambs continued to be offered in NSW — on AuctionsPlus last week — but agents are not expecting large numbers until August.

After the close of Friday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the main slaughter lamb indicator categories – trade and heavy lambs — as slightly dearer, up one cent, to 599-600c/kg cwt. Mutton indicators also held firm over 400c/kg cwt.

The Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb, their daily and weekly changes, are: restocker 558c/kg, down one cent, up 28 cents; Merino 552c/kg, down 4c, up 29c; light 574c/kg, down 1c, up 22c; trade 599c/kg, up 1c, down 26c; heavy 599c/kg, up 1c, up 23c. The national trade lamb indicator closed at 600c/kg, up one cent, and the heavy lamb indice is at 599c/kg, up one cent.

The ESDI for mutton finished the week on 404c/kg, unchanged after Friday’s sales, but up 18 cents for the week. The national mutton indicator closed unchanged on 403c/kg.

Cowra’s heavy lambs $5 dearer

In NSW at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5950 lambs, 1750 more than last week, and 720 sheep, 20 more than last week.

The NLRS said the quality of the lamb yarding was reasonable, with heavy lambs in top condition and lighter grades of mixed quality. Mainly heavy weights were penned along with a good run of trade lambs and more stores. All the buyers operated and competition was solid, resulting in trade lambs selling firm and the heavy grades selling to a dearer trend.

Light lambs sold to processors averaged $106.70 and store lambs averaged $91. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were firm and ranged from 570-590c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weight lambs sold from $130-$139. Heavy lambs were around $5 dearer, from 550-596c/kg. A pen of extra heavy weight lambs with an estimated carcass weight of 33kg made $200.50.

Mutton quality varied. Medium Merino ewes averaged $77, while heavy first cross ewes held firm and averaged $119. Young ewes averaged $140.50 to local restockers.

Griffith’s heavy lambs lift $6-$9

At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 7316 lambs, 4543 more than last week, and 575 sheep, 118 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to previous sales with good numbers of well-finished lambs. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed strongly in a dearer market.

Light lambs lifted $4 to sell from $108-$118. Trade weights were $7 dearer at $120-$158. Heavy lambs lifted $9, to $148-$174. Extra heavies held firm to $6 dearer, selling from $150-$207. Carcase prices averaged from 536-632c/kg cwt. Merino lambs sold from $124-$157.

Mutton quality was very mixed and prices remained strong. Merino ewes sold from $91-$124. Medium and heavyweight crossbred ewes made $88-$143. Heavy Dorper ewes sold from $115-$138.

Shepparton lambs reach $200

At the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 1292 lams, 792 more than last week, and 400 sheep, 100 more.

The NLRS said it was a typical winter offering, comprising mostly smaller lots of lamb and sheep in mixed condition, with the exception of a few pens of lambs off irrigation and grain feeders. The few regular meat buyers operated in a generally firm to dearer lamb market. The limited numbers made it difficult to generate accurate trends.

The market reached a top of $200 for 131 heavy export supplementary-fed lambs with an estimated carcase weight of 33kg. Local restockers bought odd pens, paying up to $90 for a pen of new season lambs weaned early.

The top end of the trade weight lambs sold from $132-$155, while a limited selection of export lambs generally sold from $163-$185.  Most of the better quality trade and export slaughter lambs, showing reasonable fat cover and finish, were estimated at 580-610c/kg cwt.

The sheep market averaged cheaper, although poor quality and limited numbers were probably the main reasons. The lighter weight lambs were very mixed for breed type and finish. The general run sold from $94-$116, with very light and plain types from $25-$78. Carcase prices for these secondary lambs fluctuated according to quality. Heavy ewes sold from $90-$116, while the general run of medium and lighter sheep sold from $65-$88.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.

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