Rain cuts saleyard supply, keeping heavy lamb rates firm and lifting trade weight prices

Sheep Central, June 8, 2016
These early May shorn September-October drop White Suffolk cross lambs, 14.7kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $110 at Armidale, NSW, on AuctionsPlus this week.

These early May shorn September-October drop White Suffolk cross lambs, 14.7kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $110 at Armidale, NSW, on AuctionsPlus this week.

RAIN cut lamb yardings and kept pressure on saleyard lamb prices early this week, prompting processors to lift over-the-hook rates in most eastern states.

At Bendigo on Monday, the National Livestock Reporting Service said some processers reported that a lot of lambs booked-in for direct kill couldn’t be transported due to the widespread rain, creating demand for extra numbers to fill kill space.

Quality lambs in all weight ranges continued to make over 600c/kg, especially restocking, light and trade lambs attracting feeder and restocker interest after recent rain.

While heavy and extra heavy lamb rates held firm for quality, trade lamb demand intensified at most centres, pushing the NLRS national and Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicators to just under 600c/kg. Domestic processors continued to buy heavier lambs to get the required weight and condition.

After Tuesday’s sale, the NLRS quoted most Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb as improved, except for the restocker and Merino lamb indicators. The lamb ESDIs are: restocker 630c/kg, down 1 cent; Merino 562c/kg, down 3c; light 591c/kg, up 2c; trade 599c/kg, up 4c; heavy 603c/kg, up 1c. The national trade lamb indicator also lifted 4 cents to 599c/kg and the heavy indice closed up 1 cent to 603c/kg.

Mutton demand remains strong, with the ESDI and national indicators unchanged on 392c/kg.

Over-the-hook lamb and mutton rates raised

In New South Wales, over-the-hook rates for lamb and mutton lifted slightly this week. The NLRS said wet conditions this week will tighten supplies and prices should remain firm.

NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 540-600c/kg, up 6 cents; 20-24kg, 580-600c/kg, up 6c; 24-26kg, 550-580c/kg, up 4-7c; Merinos 16-22kg, 470-550c/kg, no change. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 300-340c/kg, up 10c; 18-24kg, 320-380c/kg, up 7c; 24kg+, 330-400c/kg, up 10c.

In Victoria, the NLRS reported that most over-the-hook lamb indicators moved higher week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 607c/kg cwt. Mutton indicators remained unchanged this week, with medium weights averaging 347c/kg cwt.

Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-22kg, 600-620c/kg, unchanged to 7 cents higher; 22-24kg, 580-600c/kg, up 10c; 24-26kg, 580-600c/kg, up 10c; 24-26kg, 560-580c/kg, up 10-20c; Merinos 16-22kg, 520-540c/kg, no change. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 290-340c/kg; 18-24kg, 320-370c/kg; 24kg+, 260-310c/kg.

In South Australia, the NLRS said trade and heavy weight lamb over-the-hook indicators lifted an average of 10c/kg cwt this week, while light weight and Merino lambs were steady. Mutton indicators were unchanged on week-ago levels, with medium weights averaging 313c/kg cwt.

SA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 560c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 560-600c/kg, up 10c; 24-26kg, 560c/kg, up 10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 520c/kg, nc. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 290c/kg; 18-24kg, 310-320c/kg; 24kg+, 260-350c/kg.

In Tasmania, the NLRS reported the over-the-hook rates for lamb and mutton as unchanged this week. Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-18kg, 520-550c/kg; 18-20kg, 520-540c/kg; 20-22kg, 510-540c/kg; 22-26kg, 490-540c/kg, 26kg+, 490-530c/kg. The mutton rates are: 0-14kg, 270-290c/kg; 14-18kg, 280-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 280-310c/kg; 24kg+, 270-290c/kg.

Western Australia’s latest OTH rates were not available when this article was published.

Dubbo’s heavy lambs lift $4-$5

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 14,127 lambs, 9773 fewer than last week, and 4355 sheep, 7825 less.

The NLRS said lamb numbers fell due to rain in the supply area. Quality was good in the trade and heavy runs and most were heavy weights. Store lamb numbers were back and the number of Merinos was limited. All the usual buyers operated in the firm to dearer market.

The light 2 score restocking lambs lifted $7 to $72-$115. Light processing lambs sold firm to $112. The medium and heavy trade weight lambs were $2-$4 dearer at $117-$157, with some excellent large supplementary-fed runs. Heavy lambs were $4-$5 dearer, with the 22-26kg cwt lambs selling from $145-$178. Extra heavy lambs were unchanged, making to $210. Most lambs made 610-625c/kg cwt. The best of the hoggets sold to $122.

Sheep quality varied. Prices $4-$5 due to the limited supply. Medium weight Merino ewes sold from $74 up to $121 for those with a longer fleece. Heavy crossbred ewes sold to $148.20. Most better-covered lines made around 400c/kg.

Corowa’s extra heavy lambs sell to $208

At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 12,300 lambs, 2000 fewer than last week, and 2500 sheep, 400 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality varied, but there were some excellent lines of grain-assisted heavy weight lambs. Prices fluctuated, improving as the sale continued. A major export operator was absent, but prices held firm overall with only small quality-related decreases.

Light trade lambs made $118-$130. Medium trade lambs sold from $126-$146. Heavy trade lambs made from $137-$170, to average 590c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold from $152-$178, averaging 591c/kg. Extra heavy lambs made $172-$208. Heavy Merino lambs sold to $151. Restockers and feeders paid $80-$120.

Sheep quality was mixed. Heavy crossbred ewes sold up to $8 dearer at $130-$170, heavy Merino ewes made to $172, and hoggets sold to $150.

Tamworth’s store lambs lift $7-$15

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 2100 lambs, 1500 fewer than last week, and 910 sheep, 690 less, after rain over the weekend.

The NLRS said the quality and condition of the lambs was very mixed with a fair supply of trade and heavy weights and quite a few store lambs. The usual buyers attended, but without the extra competition from last week. Market trends were again dearer.

Restockers reacted to the rain, lifting store lamb prices by $7-$15 with little regard for breed or quality. Well-finished trade lambs experienced similar gains, with the average quality also improving due to the lower numbers. Heavy lambs sold $6-$7 dearer, with lighter lambs making similar money to last week.

The sheep market was firm to dearer, with the plainer condition light weight sheep showing the greatest improvement.

Forbes’ extra heavy lambs sell to $225, trade lambs rise $3

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 19,550 lambs, 9789 fewer than last week, and 2800 sheep, 1216 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to previous sales, with well finished and plainer pens yarded. The usual buyers competed in a firm to dearer market.

Light lambs held firm at $109-$124. Trade weights were $3 better at $122-$151. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were fairly firm. Heavy lambs sold from $150-$161 and extra heavy weights made $152-$225. Carcase prices ranged from 590-620c/kg. Merino lambs sold from $124-$163.

Sheep quality was again mixed and most were Merinos. Prices lifted, with Merino ewes selling from $84-$170. Crossbred ewes made $81-$160. Merino wethers sold from $93-$120.

Inverell’s heavy lambs $20 dearer

At the Inverell saleyards the agents yarded 1550 lambs, 1708 fewer than last week, and 635 sheep, 1111 less.

The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was fairly good, with several supplementary-fed lots. More Dorper lambs were yarded. Competition was stronger, with trade lambs selling $3-$8 dearer and heavy and extra heavy lambs $20 dearer.

The sheep yarding consisted of a good penning of heavy ewes and wethers, along with a fair number of light and medium weights. The market was generally firm to slightly dearer.

Bendigo lambs sell to $212

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 15,557 lambs, 3005 more than last week, and 4160 sheep, 1918 more.

The NLRS said despite the increased lamb yarding, it was lower than the original draw, due to wet weather. Lamb quality was reasonable, with some well-finished crossbreds and Merinos coming in off grain. The usual buyers operated in the fluctuating market that opened easier before improving. Lamb prices overall were similar to a few dollars cheaper than last week, although any good lines of nicely-presented trade lambs received strong support and were dearer in places. Some buyers reported that a lot of lambs booked-in for direct kill couldn’t be transported due to the widespread rain, and there was demand for extra numbers to fill kill space.

The market reached a top of $212 for heavy export lambs; one of two pens that made more than $200. The general run of export lambs sold from $166-$188. Domestic buyers again competed on heavier lambs to access better carcase finish and fat cover, paying to $170.

Bidding for the lead pens of trade weight lambs mostly ranged from $135-$166, with carcase weight rates of 585-611c/kg covering most better quality slaughter drafts. Merino lambs in full wool sold to $166, with the better-finished trade weights mostly making $132-$148. Light weight Merino lambs made $76-$118. Merino carcase weight rates ranged around 565-580c/kg. Light weight crossbred lambs sold to slaughter made $70-$121, depending on size and quality.

Sheep numbers nearly doubled, but quality remained very mixed with a lot of smaller pen lots. Demand for heavy mutton was not as strong as last week, with heavy crossbred ewes selling from $98-$115. Heavy Merino ewes in a big skin sold to $124 and wethers to $125. Competition for trade weight and light sheep was solid and the better lines of Merino mutton still commanded over 400c/kg.

Ballarat’s heavy trade lambs sell to 670c/kg

At the Ballarat saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 19,968 lambs, 1495 fewer than last week, and 4705 sheep, 696 less.

The NLRS the usual buyers attended in damp conditions. Lamb quality was average to good.

Several pens of excellent extra heavy lambs made to $224, with seven pens selling above $200. Heavier trade weight lambs sold from $140-$165 at around 600-610c/kg cwt.

Lambs generally sold similar to last week. Some of the heavy lambs sold $1-$2 easier and the better covered trade weight lambs were a few dollars dearer in places. Restockers paid from $74-$120 for lambs and to $138 for a pen of first cross ewe lambs.

Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $70-$108. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $90-$134 and averaged around 600c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $131-$144, with the heavier drafts making $141-$165 and mostly 575-670c/kg cwt, to average around 600-610c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $157-$190 and the extra heavy export lambs made $200-$224. Medium and heavier Merino lambs sold from $86-$124 at around 560c/kg.

Sheep quality was mixed, with most sheep selling to keen demand at firm prices. Restockers paid $110-$117 for first cross ewes. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $36-$88 at around 350c/kg. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $58-$113, or 295-450c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 390c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $83-$127 and heavy Merino ewes made $104-$125. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $95 and medium weights made $72-$105, or around 390c/kg. Rams of all weights sold from $35-$125.

Dublin’s light crossbred lambs sell $15 dearer

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9000 lambs, and 1000 sheep, 1000 fewer than last week.

The NLRS said the generally good quality crossbred and Merino lambs sold to the usual trade and processor buyers. Trade and heavy weight crossbreds were avidly pursued by trade buyers, but trade and heavy weight Merino prices eased back on last week’s extreme rates. Feeder and restocker buyers were only occasional participants and full wool Merinos attracted some solid bidding.

The few crossbred lambs that went to feeders sold for $70-$116. Light weight crossbreds sold up to $15 dearer to processors at $106-$118. Light trade weight 3 scores lifted $4 to $124-$145 and averaged 569c/kg. Heavy trade weight 4 scores remained unchanged at $130-$158, or 577c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 4 scores sold fully firm at $148-$206, or 594-619c/kg. Light weight, full wool Merino lambs sold to restockers for $62-$102. Light weight Merinos-processors lifted $4-$9 to $90-$112. Trade weight lambs eased $9 to $110-$117 and averaged 482c/kg. Heavy weights eased $5 to $115-$148, or 504-527c/kg. Heavy weight Merino hoggets sold from $106-$134 and equivalent crossbreds made $120-$140.

The mixed quality sheep sold to very strong processor competition. Light weight 2 score ewes sold from $84-$92, or 360c/kg. Heavy weight 3 scores made $99-$116, averaging 360c/kg. Wethers were scarce and sold from $101-$118, or 362-444c/kg. Heavy weight rams made $110-$128.

Naracoorte lambs slightly dearer

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2583 lambs, 1459 fewer than last week, and 830 sheep, 88 less.

The NLRS said the small field of trade and processor buyers was active on a generally plain quality lamb offering that had only a few pens with weight and condition. The small number of restocker orders provided competition on lighter weights in the generally slightly dearer market.

Light weight lambs sold to the trade from $77-$113 and restockers paid $70-$110. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $112-$121 and similar Merinos sold for $95-$113. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $116-$139, or 580c/kg. Heavy lambs were scarce and sold from $142-$165.

Hoggets ranged from $106-$125. Merino wether hoggets sold from $102-$150. Light weight ewes sold to $68 and medium weights made $80-$110. Heavy ewes sold to $130. Rams mainly sold from $76-$106, with an isolated sale of Merinos to a restocker at $117.

Muchea’s light lambs ease $3-$5

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 6387 lambs, 1387 more than last week, and 3436 sheep, 1514 fewer.

The NLRS said the average quality yarding included better mutton drafts and more heavier lambs.

Prices eased by $3-$5 for air freight and trade lambs and for light store lambs sold to graziers. All other types were firm on last week’s sale. Graziers competed on light store crossbred lambs at $38-$54. Merino wether lambs sold to feeders for $45-$82. Restockers paid $45-$83 for Merino ewe lambs. In the trade section, 15-18kg cwt air freight lambs sold from $75-$92 at close to 500c/kg.

The market eased on trade lambs to $90-$105 and heavy prime lambs made $120-$135. Light ram lambs sold to graziers for $65-$80, down $3-$5, while the trade paid $82-$93 for better types. Hoggets received solid competition from the trade to sell from $60-$105 and live exporters paid to $96.

The best heavy ewes sold from $75-$105 at nearly 325c/kg. The score 2 processor mutton sold from $64-$75 and light boners made $45-$62. The wether market topped at $124, with most better types making $95-$110. Rams remained firm, with older types selling to processors at $61-$94. Better younger rams suitable for live export made $83-$95.

Weather disrupts Tasmania sheep sale

In Tasmania on Tuesday, only the Powranna saleyard operated after days of wild weather and major flooding disrupted livestock movement across the state. Good quality lambs sold to strong demand and restockers bought almost all lambs under 18kg. The restockers paid $64-$80 for light lambs and $106-$110 for light trade types. Trade lambs made $107-$125, heavy weights sold from $131-$146 and one pen of extra heavy lambs made $151.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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