Rain cuts new season lamb supply, boosts prices for some

Sheep Central, November 4, 2015
These July/August Poll Dorset cross lambs, 13.4kg cwt, at Ballimore, NSW, sold for $96 on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

These July/August Poll Dorset cross lambs, 13.4kg cwt, at Ballimore, NSW, sold for $96 on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

NEW season trade lamb prices were firm to dearer in most eastern states saleyards this week, except at Dublin in South Australia and at Bendigo in Victoria.

A smaller lower quality lamb yarding was offered at Bendigo the day before the Melbourne Cup. A Dublin, despite a generally good quality yarding, several trade and processor buyers, including supermarkets, did not compete and skin values were discounted.

Rain-reduced lamb yardings across New South Wales helped lift prices, but restockers were quieter at some centres.

Across New South Wales, light new season lambs 12.1-18kg cwt with skins valued at $1-$10 sold from $63-$116, or 388-631c/kg, and light to medium trade weights with similar skin values made $100-$140, or 474-605c/kg. Lambs over 22kg cwt with skins valued at up to $12 sold from $115-$165, or 496-596c/kg.

In Victoria, light new season lambs with skins valued at up to $12 sold from $49-$110, or 207-544c/kg. The light and medium trade weights, 18.1-22kg, made $83-$134, or 395-550c/kg. The 22kg+ lambs with skins worth up to $14 sold from $104-$152, or 433-552c/kg.

In South Australia, light new season lambs with $1-$10 skins made $40-$114, or 277-679c/kg, with restockers at Dublin taking advantage of the reduced trade competition to buy heavier lambs. Light and medium trade lambs with skins valued at up to $12 sold from $80-$126, or 380-568c/kg. The 22.1-26kg lambs with $1-$12 skins made $104-$141, or 388-504c/kg. The 26.1kg+ lambs with skins valued at $4-$12 sold from $118-$148, or 411-474c/kg.

In Western Australia at Muchea, store lamb prices slumped $3-$5 in a yarding dominated by unfinished lines.

NLRS OTH indicators rising in NSW and SA

The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted lamb and mutton over-the-hook indicators in New South Wales as firming this week, to remain higher than in Victoria and South Australia. Rainfall over the weekend and forecast into the week may impact supply.

NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 460-490c/kg, up 2 cents; 20-24kg, 470-500c/kg, up 5c; 24-26kg, 430-500c/kg, up 4c; Merinos 16-22kg, 220-340c/kg, up 7c. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 220-340c/kg, up 7c; 18-24kg, 270-340c/kg, up 18c; 24kg+, 240-320c/kg, no change.

In Victoria, the NLRS said there were some downward adjustments to lamb over-the-hook indicators this week, with trade and heavy weight categories back an average of 20c/kg cwt. Light and medium weight mutton indicators lifted slightly, with medium weights averaging 295c/kg cwt

Victoria’s OTH 2-4 score lamb rates are: 16-24kg, 460-480c/kg, down 20-27c; 24-26kg, 440-460c/kg, down 20c; 26kg+, 440c/kg, nc; Merinos 16-22kg, 440c/kg, nc. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 250-300c/kg, up 3c; 18-24kg, 250-330c/kg, up 3c; 24kg+, 200-270c/kg, nc.

In South Australia, the NLRS said trade and heavy weight lamb over-the-hook indicators were an average of 13c/kg cwt higher this week, with trade weights averaging 480c/kg cwt. Mutton indicators also increased, with medium weights averaging 278c/kg cwt.

South Australia’s 2-4 score lamb rates are: 16-24kg, 480c/kg, up 13-20c; 24-26kg+, 440-480c/kg, up 13c; Merinos 16-22kg, 450c/kg, up 20c. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 240-330c/kg, up 16c; 18-24kg, 250-330c/kg, up 15c; 24kg+, 220-300c/kg, up 15c.

The NLRS quoted Tasmania’s OTH rates for lambs and sheep as unchanged this week. The 2-4 score lamb rates are: 0-18kg, 460-480c/kg; 18-26kg, 470-480c/kg; 26kg+, 480c/kg. The sheep rates are: 0-18kg, 290-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 300c/kg; 24kg+, 280-300c/kg.

Western Australia’s OTH rates were unavailable when this report was published.

NLRS daily indicators show softening restocker market

After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators were: restocker 520c/kg, down 16 cents; Merino 428c/kg, down 2c; light 474c/kg, down 9c; trade 503c/kg, up 2c; heavy 497c/kg, down 1c. The national trade lamb indicator closed at 506c/kg, up 3 cents, and the heavy lamb indice was firm on 499c/kg.

The mutton ESDI closed up 1 cent on 326c/kg and the national indicator improved 2 cents to 328c/kg.

Dubbo trade lambs $4-$6 dearer

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 13,425 lambs, 2295 fewer than last week, and 5685 sheep, 2915 less.

The NLRS said following weekend rain numbers were back on the expected draw. The fair quality yarding had a reasonable selection of trade weight lambs and Merinos, and odd pens of heavy weights.

Light weight lambs sold firm, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores making $58-$102. Trade weight lambs were $4-$6 dearer, with the 18-22kg new season lambs selling from $99-$136 to average 555c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $3-$4 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 score new season lambs selling from $130-$165 and old lambs making to $160. Merino lambs sold $2-$4 dearer, with the trade weights selling from $94-$119 and heavier weights making to $133. Restockers paid to $105 and hoggets sold to $100.

Sheep quality was mixed, but the market was $2-$6 dearer, with some categories enjoying larger rises. The 2 score ewes sold from $45-$82, while the better 3 and 4 score Merinos made $73-$125 and crossbreds sold to $116. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $83-$115, or around 390-440c/kg cwt.

Tamworth’s young trade lambs lift $5-$6

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 1550 lambs, 850 fewer than last week, and 650 sheep, 550 less.

The NLRS said it was a rain-reduced penning of very mixed quality lambs. There was a limited number of well-finished lambs and a large percentage of plain condition Merino lambs. The usual buyers attended, with some extra competition.

Demand outweighed supply and lambs trended dearer, with trade weight young lambs up $5-$6. Prices for heavy young lambs lifted more, but quality was down. Old lambs also sold to a dearer trend, with heavy weights $10-$12 dearer with a lift in quality. There were quality related price changes in a firm to dearer sheep market.

Forbes’ trade lambs firm

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 12,800 lambs, 1800 fewer than last week, and 8200 sheep, 2350 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed. There were some handy lines of well-finished lambs, but more drafts showing signs of dryness and seed contamination. Most of the usual buyers competed in a market that varied around quality. New season lambs sold to restockers for $70-$114. Light lambs ranged from $100-$106. Trade weights were fairly firm at $113-$131. Heavy lambs held firm to $2 dearer at $130-$148. Carcase prices ranged from 504-525c/kg cwt.

Old trade weight lambs sold from $100-$116. Heavy lambs made $121-$127. Extra heavy weights sold from $134-$157.

Mutton quality was fair. Some good lines of heavy sheep were offered and prices lifted. Merino ewes sold from $73-$132. Crossbred ewes made $74-$112. Some handy lines of Merino wethers sold from $85-$131.

Bendigo’s new season lambs sell $3-$5 easier

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 13,075 lambs, 6672 fewer than last week, and 8026 sheep, 60 more.

The NLRS said the Melbourne Cup holiday was suggested as the reason for the sharp decline in the lamb yarding. Quality remained mixed, with only a small percentage of the yarding displaying good weight and cover. All the usual buyers attended, but some just watched the sale.

The market fluctuated with the limited pens of quality slaughter lambs holding their value the best, while plentiful supplies of plainer conditioned trade and light trade weight lambs resulted in some of these categories being discounted.

Overall prices for young lambs sold to slaughter averaged $3-$5 easier. Store lambs were also cheaper compared to the strong prices of the previous sale. The market reached a top of $140 for export weight young lambs estimated at about 28kg cwt. The supply of heavy lambs remained limited with just one sale at $140, followed by about a dozen pens of young lambs at an estimated 25-26kg cwt that made $130-$134.

The best quality trade lambs sold from $119-$126, with the general run of domestic lambs from $100-$115. On a carcase basis, an estimated range of 440-490c/kg covered most sales, with only select pens over 500c/kg.

Store lambs were cheaper, with the main category of 12-16kg cwt types averaging $78, compared to $85 last week. Store lamb orders were from Wagga Wagga, Shepparton, Kerang, Swan Hill, Wycheproof, Echuca and the local Bendigo area.

Apart from a few lines of Merino wethers in one agent’s sale, most sheep were offered in smaller and mixed pen lots. Prices were mostly firm to a few dollars dearer than last week, with the exception of very plain and lightweight ewes which averaged cheaper, down to $23. Merino ewes in a big skin sold to $95. Heavy shorn Merino wethers sold to $92 and heavy crossbred ewes made $83-$90. The good quality slaughter sheep were estimated to cost processors from 280-320c/kg cwt.

Ballarat lambs $5-$10 dearer

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 41,541 lambs, 4644 more than last week, and 9648 sheep, 490 more.

The NLRS said most of the lambs showed dryness in the skin. All weights were well-represented. An additional exporter and a few more restocker buyers operated. Prices for lambs were $5-$10 dearer, but restocking lambs mainly fluctuated around last week’s levels. The light weight 2 score lambs sold from $60-$84, with restockers paying to $91. The light trade weight 2 and 3 score lambs made $80-$110, with restockers paying $100-$108. Most 3 score trade weight lambs sold from $95-$134, mostly from 460-540c/kg cwt. The heavy 4 score lambs made $120-$152, or 475-540c/kg.

Sheep mainly sold firm to $3-$7 higher, but up to $10 better for heavier weights. Most sheep were medium and extra heavy weights. There was good competition, with processors paying 280-350c/kg cwt for 2-4 score mutton. The light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $40-$60, medium weight 2 and 3 scores made $58-$82 with woolly Merino’s sold to $71. The 3-5 score heavy weight ewes made $75-$96, with restockers paying $75-$100. Medium weight Merino wethers sold from $68-$89 and heavier weights made $84-$102. Heavy rams generally sold for $35-$60, with the best making to $70. Woolly Merino rams sold to $75.

Dublin’s heavy trade lambs ease $11

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 6995 lambs, 1609 fewer than last week, and 1959 sheep, 1 less.

The NLRS said despite a generally better quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs being offered, prices eased. All of the usual trade and processor buyers attended. However, several failed to participate and there was no supermarket input.

Feeders and restockers were prominent and the easing prices enabled some judicious buyers to buy heavier crossbred lambs. However, light weight lambs attracted the most competition and prices for these lifted. Ultra-light weight 2 score crossbred lambs sold to feeders made $69-$97, light weights lifted $6 to up to $90 and trade weight 3 scores ranged from $89-$102.

Light weight 3 score lambs sold to trade buyers lifted $3 to $97-$102 to average 479c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 4 scores sold to $110, averaging 452c/kg. Heavy trade weights eased $11 to $100-$115, averaging 426c/kg. Heavy weight 4 scores eased $7-$10 to $110-$140, or 429c/kg.

Light weight Merino lambs sold to restockers eased $7 to $42-$51. Trade weight Merinos sold to processors made $70-$93, or 389-421c/kg. The few heavy weights yarded sold up to $104 to average 388c/kg cwt.

The mixed sheep yarding sold to easing processor competition. All of the usual buyers attended. Restockers had some influence and purchased heavy weight Merino ewes for $65-$89 and crossbreds for up to $71. Light weight 2 score ewes lifted $3 to $55-$77, averaging 289c/kg. Heavy weight 3 score ewes eased $4 to $60-$80, averaging 238c/kg. The few heavy weight wethers sold from $65-$80 and heavy weight rams made $40-$88.

Naracoorte’s light trade lambs lift $4

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 20,485 lambs, 1016 fewer than last week, and 1786 sheep, 1299 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was again mixed. Some excellent heavy lambs came forward. However, there was a large number of lightweight store lambs lacking weight and showing signs of dryness in the skin. The large array of trade and processor buyers were again strong, but not all were fully active. There were fewer restocker buyers. Lightweight lambs were lower in price, heavier lambs dearer.

Lightweight lambs sold to the trade made mainly $75-$100, with restockers again purchasing large numbers for mostly $50-$102, $2-$4 easier in price. Lightweight 2 and 3 score trade lambs improved up to $4 to $97-$114. Trade weight 3 score lambs lifted $5 to $105-$126, or around 500c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs rose $3 to $122-$141 and extra heavy export weight lines made $135-$148, up $5. Hoggets sold to $80.

Sheep prices eased $2-$4. Lightweight 1 and 2 score ewes ranged from $46-$55. Medium weight 2 and 3 score crossbred ewes sold mainly for $67-$83 with similar Merinos making $44-$72, or around 280c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $70-$84. Rams sold to $48.

Muchea’s store lambs ease $3-$5

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4300 lambs, 200 fewer than last week, and 10,000 sheep, 5275 more.

The NLRS said the lamb yarding was dominated by unfinished lines.

Prices for medium and light weight mutton and store lambs eased $3-$5. Lambs suitable to the trade retained their value, with heavy weights making $103-$111. Trade weights made $82-$102 and air freight types sold from $65-$88. Restockers were active on light crossbred lambs at $30-$70.

The sheep were mostly Merino ewes. The supply of young store conditioned Merino ewes outstripped demand and prices eased $3-$5, to generally $35-$76. Light ewes sold from $10-$33. The 16-20kg ewes made $41-$50 and heavier types sold from $57-$81, pushed on by restockers. These were all back $3-$5 on last week’s sale. Outstanding big framed ewes with a big skin sold to $105. Light weight ewes averaged $39. Medium and heavier weights averaged $58.

Young Merino wethers remained firm, with light weights making $24-$67 and heavier types $75-$95. Wethers remained firm and sold from $65-$110 to average $92, pushed up by live export demand. Rams were also firm, with the trade paying $5-$30 for older types. The young rams were pushed by export demand and sold from $50-$100.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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