Domestic Lamb

Rain and quality helps hold lamb and ewe values up

Sheep Central, April 13, 2015
These scanned 2013-drop first cross ewes sold for $224 on AuctionsPlus last week.

These scanned 2013-drop first cross ewes sold for $224 on AuctionsPlus last week.

Quality trade and heavy lambs sold firm to dearer in saleyards late last week, while interest in breeding stock strengthened in AuctionsPlus online sales.

AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said after the Easter break, sheep and lamb numbers dropped by 10,000 head to 18,042 last week.

Breeding stock prices strengthened this week and interest returned to young ewes scanned in lamb, Ms Adams said.

“A feature line of scanned Border Leicester/Merino ewes from Dunkeld in Victoria prompted bidding activity, with mixed age proven breeders making $123 to $201, to average $165.

“All of these were scanned in lamb to Poll Dorset rams.”

Ms Adams said 62kg lwt first cross ewe hoggets from the same vendor, scanned in lamb 152 percent to White Suffolk rams topped the sale at $224. These were were offered by JM Ellis and Co for client Ken Handreck. The only line of first cross ewe lambs available made $140. These were 9-10 month olds from Trangie NSW.

Scanned Merino ewes also met spirited competition, she said. Merino ewe hoggets ranged from $72.50-$133.50, with the top price being paid for 44kg lwt Merrignee blood ewes from Willaura in Victoria, scanned in lamb to Border Leicester rams.

Aged Merino ewes also attracted buyer interest with two feature lines from Cambrai SA attracting premiums – the five-year-old 65kg lwt ewes made $131 and the 6-7 year-old 70kg ewes sold for $120. Both lines were joined to White Suffolk rams.

Ms Adams said prices increased for the larger offering of Merino wethers this week. Wether hoggets ranged from $53.50-$83, with an average of $66.70. The top-priced line was a line of Wanganella blood wethers, with a 2cm skin from Deniliquin NSW. Grown Merino wethers made from $68.50-$70.50.

Store lamb numbers continued to drop back last week, Ms Adams said. The 34kg lwt lambs offered made $75.50-$80, or 564-590c/kg cwt.

NLRS indicators firm to slightly cheaper

The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Indicators for slaughter lambs as down two cents after Friday’s saleyard sales, with trade lambs closing on 541c/kg and heavy lambs on 545c/kg. The national lamb indicators were similar, with trade lambs on 543c/kg and heavy lambs at 542c/kg.

The other lamb ESDIs are: restocker 541c/kg, down 1 cents; Merinos 493c/kg, up 4c, and light lambs 518c/kg, down one cent. The ES and national mutton indicators are unchanged on 367c/kg.

Griffith trade lambs up $13

In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 11,300 lambs, 1254 fewer than last week, and 2800 sheep, 992 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair with good numbers of well-finished lambs. Most were heavy and extra heavyweight lambs. The usual buyers competed in a market that was fairly similar to the previous sale a fortnight ago.

Light lambs sold from $93-$104. Trade weights sold firm to $13 better, from $102-$126. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs were also fairly firm. Heavy lambs sold from $127-$136 and extra heavies made $135-$180. Carcase prices averaged from 517-537c/kg.

Most of the sheep were Merinos and quality was again mixed. Merino ewes sold from $75-$114. Crossbreds reached $115 and Dorper ewes sold from $88-$113. Merino wethers ranged from $97-$115.

Cowra heavy lambs sell to $185

At the Cowra saleyards last Friday, the agents yarded 4525 lambs, 3825 fewer than last week, and 825 sheep, 675 less.

The NLRS said the yarding eased from the sale two weeks ago as good rainfall was received over the Easter break. Quality was good over the yarding.

Lambs met a mainly firm market, with top heavy weight lambs weighing an estimated 35kg cwt selling at $185. Trade weight lambs mainly ranged from 530-540c/kg cwt.

The limited numbers of 20-24kg cwt sheep yarded averaged around 360c/kg, while heavier weights sold from 330-340c/kg.

Shepparton lambs $5-$12 dearer

In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards, the agents yarded 3000 lambs, 1500 more than last week, and 1000 sheep, 300 more.

The NLRS said the yarding increased for the first post-Easter sale. Dry conditions across the Goulburn Valley and higher prices at saleyards in recent days also prompted more farmers to sell.

The market was dearer by $5-$12 when compared to a fortnight ago. There was a bigger field of meat processors competing, due in part to the bigger lamb numbers.

The market reached a top of $180.50 for a small pen of extra heavy export lambs. Lightweight lambs to slaughter sold strongly at $88-$96 for the better quality pens, which still showed reasonable fat cover. Very small and secondary lambs made from $47-$60. Local agents did pay to $108.50 for a pen of bigger-framed store lambs, but store competition was limited.

The market remained patchy on plainer trade lambs which lacked finish and these lambs generally sold from $100-$116. Well-bred and finished lambs sold to the strongest and most consistent bidding, with the best domestic weight lines selling from $122-$136.

The lead pens of heavy export lambs sold from $150-$165, with only a few pens of extra heavy lambs exceeding this and making up to $180.50. On a carcase basis the majority of quality slaughter lambs ranged from 530-550c/kg cwt.

The mutton market was dearer, with heavy crossbred ewes selling from $100-$118, and heavy Merinos to $95. The general run of medium and lighter weight slaughter ewes sold from $65-$86. The better quality mutton sheep were estimated to return 330-350c/kg cwt.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus

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