Prices held firm for quality export and trade lambs, and lifted for some light and restocker lambs, but dry lamb and plain condition discounting eased national rates for a generally reduced saleyards offering early this week.
With no sales at Dubbo, Tamworth or Inverell due to the public holiday on Monday, NSW sellers early this week had to either send their lambs to Forbes or south to Bendigo. Forbes lamb and sheep yardings both increased by more than 5000 on Tuesday, but Bendigo still yarded fewer lambs than last week.
MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service on Tuesday put the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator at 465c/kg, the heavy lamb indicator at 462c/kg and the mutton indicator at 306c/kg.
Lamb prices ease $4 at Forbes
In NSW at Forbes on Tuesday, agents yarded 34,800, 5200 more than last week, and 12,450 sheep, 5150 more.
The NLRS said 17,000 mixed quality new season lambs were penned. More lambs showed signs of dryness and seed contamination. The usual buyers competed in a slightly cheaper market.
Light new season lambs held firm, selling from $86-$98. Trade weights were $4 easier, with prices ranging from $97-$118. Heavy and extra heavy weights also eased $4. Heavy lambs sold from $115-$130 and extra heavy weights made $126-$136. Carcase prices averaged from 470c/kg-490c/kg cwt.
Old trade weight lambs sold from $72-$110. Heavy weights ranged from $109-$116 and extra heavy weights made $118-$156.
The sheep were mostly Merinos of fair quality. Prices lifted slightly, with Merino ewes selling from $70-$108. Crossbreds ranged from $70-$102. Merino wethers sold from $72 to $108/head.
Best export and trade lambs firm at Bendigo
In Victoria at Bendigo on Monday, agents yarded 23,894 lambs, 1655 fewer than last week, and no sheep for the split series sale.
The NLRS said most were new season lambs from north-east Victoria and southern NSW. Quality varied, with more first cross lambs and many were showing dryness in the skin. There market opened cheaper before gaining strength before a full field of buyers.
Overall prices for lambs sold to meat processors averaged $2-$4 easier, although the best pens of export and trade weight lambs were often similar to last week. Store buyer competition was strong and lambs to restockers were dearer.
Restocker competition was very strong from Ballarat, Shepparton, Birchip, Wycheproof and the local Bendigo area. Two agents from Ballarat stepped up into heavier store lambs and paid from $96-$111 for lambs to go back to the paddock. The general run of lighter store lambs, around 14-16kg cwt, sold from $70-$86.
The market continued to fluctuate on trade weight lambs, with buyers discounting any plainer bred or drier skinned types. Most of the young lambs which weighed 20-23kg cwt sold from $100-$119, with the better-conditioned types still at around 470c/kg-490c/kg, while the plainer runs were around 460c/kg cwt. The market reached a top of $142 for a pen of new season lambs estimated to weigh about 29kg cwt with an $8 skin. It was one of just three sales of extra heavy lambs above $140.
The main run of well-bred heavy lambs weighing 24-26kg cwt sold from $125 to $135. The better quality export lambs were estimated at 470c/kg-475c/kg cwt, although there were some sales of plainer bred heavy lambs at lower prices. There was only a limited selection of old lambs and hoggets, with prices varying according to quality.
Strong restocker demand at Ballarat
At Ballarat on Tuesday, agents yarded 14,095 lambs, 1496 more than last week, and 11,309 sheep, 1205 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average for the near-full field of buyers, with moderate numbers of trade weight and heavy lambs. Large numbers of lighter weight lambs suitable for both processors and restockers were penned. Most lambs generally sold firm on last week, with a few select pens of light trade weights $2-$3 better. The better presented heavy young lambs sold from $126-$131.50 at around 480c/kg cwt.
Restockers from local, north-east, Mallee and Gippsland areas operated strongly on suitable lambs, paying from $62-$68 for lighter lambs and from $75-$99 for heavier lots.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $66-$84. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $73-$104 at around 460c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $100-$114, with the heavier drafts from $110-$129 and ranging from 450c/kg-510c/kg to average around 470c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $126-$131. The heavier old lambs sold from $83.60-$134.
Several large runs of recently shorn Merino wethers sold for $58-$80.50 to both restockers and the trade. Quality was generally mixed, with all weights and grades on offer and most sheep selling to a cheaper trend, back $2-$5 and more in places. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $40-$58, with very light 1 scores selling from $5-$43. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $45-$70 and ranged from 210c/kg-300c/kg to average around 275c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $65-$72, with crossbreds making $58-$74. Heavy crossbred wethers sold from $75-$80, with heavy Merino wethers selling from $66-$80.20 and lighter weights making $54-$78.
Trade lambs firm to $8 up at Naracoorte
In SA at Naracoorte on Tuesday, agents yarded 11,716 lambs, 174 fewer than last week, and 2749 sheep, 1464 fewer.
The NLRS said quality was plain to good over the whole yarding and prices were a little higher for most categories from the usual buyers. Light lambs and those to turn out were mostly equal and slightly dearer in places, while trade weight lambs sold unchanged to higher, though up to $8 dearer in earlier sales. Heavy weight lambs averaged $2-$3 dearer, as were most sheep.
The light weight 2 score new season lambs made from $54-$76, and restockers paid $59-$82. Lighter trade weight 2 and 3 score lambs sold between $74-$100 to restockers and processors, with restockers going to $105. Heavy weight 3 score new season lambs made from $90-$122 and averaged 495c/kg cwt. The heavy 4 scores sold from $118-$134 and averaged 480c/kg cwt. Most heavy weight 3 and 4 score old lambs and hoggets made from $60-$90.
The sheep sale comprised of mainly medium to heavy weight ewes with only a few wethers and rams included. Dressed weight prices for a run of 2 to 4 scores were mainly between 260c/kg-310c/kg cwt. The 1 and 2 score light weight ewes sold from $42-$58, medium weight 2 and 3 scores made from $56-$78, and the 3 to 5 score sheep made $65-$80. Rams sold from $12-$26.
Merino lambs meet strong demand at Dublin
At the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 8053 lambs, 2029 more than last week, and 3523 sheep, 1678 fewer.
The NLRS said the Merino lambs sold to stronger competition from the usual local and interstate trade and processor buyers. Restockers and feeders were more prominent on lightweight crossbred lambs.
Lightweight 2 score crossbreds sold to feeders from $47-$66, while lightweight 3 scores to feeders lifted $8, selling from $71-$81. Lightweight 3 scores to trade buyers lifted marginally, making from $80-$100 and averaged 430c/kg cwt, while light trade weight 4 scores lifted $11, ranging from $103-$115 and averaged 473c/kg cwt. Lightweight Merino lambs sold to restockers for $30-$56, while lightweight Merinos to processors lifted $3 and sold from $75-$86. The few trade weight Merinos yarded increased $6 and sold up to $90, to average 415c/kg cwt.
Heavy trade weight 4 scores lifted $6, selling from $103-$122, averaging 461c/kg cwt, while the heavy weights sold from $118-$132, or around 446c/kg-477c/kg cwt. Fewer old lambs were yarded. The heavyweight crossbred lambs sold from $110-$128, while Merinos sold to a high of $112. Heavyweight Merinos returned from $78-$96.
The usual trade and processor buyers showed subdued bidding for sheep and prices eased. Restockers purchased lightweight ewes at $35 and heavyweight ewes from $52-$65. Lightweight 2 score ewes to processors eased $7, they sold from $42-$57 and averaged 212c/kg cwt, while heavyweight 3 score ewes were plentiful, easing $15 and sold from $40-$72, to average 195c/kg cwt. Wethers were scarce, with the few heavyweights yarded back $9, selling from $60-$76, to average 237c, while heavyweight rams returned from $40-$73.
Prices lift $2-$5 at Muchea
In WA at Muchea on Tuesday, agents yarded 3257 lambs, 343 fewer than last week, and 7500 sheep, 183 fewer.
The NLRS said the lambs yarded were mostly light new seasons drafts with some pens of shorn new season lambs. Wether and hogget supplies increased and were of better quality overall. Ewe supplies included a larger number of light conditioned drafts. Competition improved as the sale progressed with most categories improving by $2-$5 and live export activity returning on select wether and ram drafts.
Light and air freight lamb lifted $3-$5, with most sales at $68-$84. Store lambs were strongly contested with prices rising strongly. Better quality lightweight crossbred lambs made $60-$70 to feeders and restockers, while Merino drafts made from $44-$55. Rates for trade lambs 18-22kg lifted marginally, from $90-$107, or around 455c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs were scarce and made to a top of $112 or 480c/kg cwt. Shorn new season lambs sold at similar prices and old season lambs were marginally dearer.
Ewe prices were mixed with the heavier weight drafts remaining close to firm, while lighter weight drafts lifted $2-$5.
Solid restocker competition lifted rates for Merino ewe hoggets by up to $8, with lighter store drafts making $45-$67 and the better drafts up to $90. Medium weight mutton 18-24kg cwt made $48-$75 for a $64 average at around 285c/kg cwt. Heavy weight and better quality medium weight ewes made from $62-$85. Mature ewes with a good skin and ready to join made $72-$96 and the lighter weight and shorter wool lines sold from $40-$72. Wether prices lifted $3 on quality and demand. Light weight and plainer conditioned wether drafts made $50-$85 with processors, live exporters and restockers all keen to secure numbers. The heavy export weight lines to processors made $80-$92 and $78-$85 to live export orders.
Prices rebound for small numbers in Tasmania
At the Northern Tasmanian Saleyards yesterday, agents yarded 696 lambs, 54 fewer than last week, and 190 sheep, 500 fewer.
The NLRS said the 116 new season lambs included 35 stores types, but the quality of the old lambs was better than the previous sale. All old lamb prices recovered from last week’s drop and mutton rates also rebounded as numbers were low.
Most new season lambs made from $104-$121, with local butchers prominent and the two pens of light lambs sold to restockers for $80-$88.
In the old lamb section, light trade pens made from $78-$88 to average $4 higher and trade lambs made from $87-$116, with averages for the heavier end up by $10-$15. The few heavy lambs sold for $111-$116.
Medium weight ewes made $56-$79, averaging $14 higher than last sale.
Source: MLA, NLRS