SLAUGHTER lamb prices were firm to slightly dearer late last week, though the biggest weekly gains were made by the restocker and light lamb categories.
Prices for trade and heavy new season lambs continued to firm to mostly 580-660c/kg in New South Wales, as sucker numbers increase and the old lamb offerings reduce.
At the Cowra saleyards in NSW, new season lambs made up 74 per cent of the lamb offering on Friday. The National Livestock Reporting Service said Cowra’s 18.1-22kg new season trade lambs with $9-$12 skins sold for $124-$156, or 600-668c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $11-$12 skins sold from $152-$164.50. Lighter 12.1-18kg suckers with $5-$8 skins made $87-$120, or 547-638c/kg.
At the Griffith saleyards, new season trade lambs with $1-$12 skins sold for $120-$161, or 596-686c/kg. The 22.1-26kg lambs with $1-$13 skins made $155-$175, or 608-668c/kg, and the 12.1-18kg lines with $1-$12 skins ranged from $94-$124, or 581-656c/kg.
At the Shepparton saleyards in Victoria on Friday, 12.1-16kg suckers with $2-$6 skins sold for $89-$96.50, or 553-566c/kg, and the 20.1-24kg lines with $8-$10 skins made $128.50-$152, or 548-592c/kg.
NLRS indicators lift for lamb and mutton
After Friday’s saleyards sales, the NLRS quoted all its Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb and mutton as higher, except for an unchanged Merino lamb indicator. The ESDIs for restocker and light lambs improved by 23 cents during the week.
The ESDIs for lamb, their daily and weekly changes, are: restocker 561c/kg, up 5 cents, up 23c; Merinos 539c/kg, no change, up 3c; light 536c/kg, up 3c, up 23c; trade 592c/kg, up 3c, down 1c; heavy 597c/kg, up 2c, down 3c. The national trade lamb indicator finished the week on 592c/kg, up 3 cents, and the heavy lamb indice is on 597c/kg, up 2 cents.
The ESDI for mutton is on 371c/kg, up one cent for the day, but finishing 3 cents down for the week. The national mutton indicator is on 370c/kg, up one cent.
AuctionsPlus offering increases
The sheep and lamb offering increased last week by almost 13,500 on AuctionsPlus, to 33,483. With the transition from old to new lambs, there were larger offerings of new season lambs with 9500 head offered online.
First cross ewe lambs made $110.50 to $179 to average $147. The top price was for 320 12-month-old 52.2kg lwt future breeders at Somerton, NSW. Merino ewe lambs averaged $96, with 405 11-12 month-old April shorn Weealla blood Merino ewes at Gilgandra, NSW, selling for a top price of $138.50.
Merino wether lambs ranged from $52 to $81, the top price for a large offering of 1500 head of 11 month-old April shorn Hazeldean bred lambs at Cooma, NSW. First and second cross lambs weighing 24-34kg lwt made $75-$108 and the 36-41kg lines sold from $113-$121. The top-priced lambs were part of a large offering of woolly mixed sex April-May drop first cross lambs weighing 39kg from Wee Waa, NSW.
Ewes and lambs were the stand-out article on AuctionsPlus this week, with 137 5-6 year-old March shorn first cross ewes with 222 5-10 week-old Poll Dorset lambs at Crookwell, NSW, making $228. A line of 495 5-6 year-old Mulloorie blood May shorn Merino ewes from Broken Hill with 506 1-6 week-old Merino lambs, sold for $128.
A line 350 two-year-old April shorn Glendemar blood Merino ewes, scanned 146 percent in lamb to Border Leicester rams sold for $156. Older Merino ewes ranged from $77 to a top price of $134.50, paid for 214 3-6 year old May shorn ewes at Nyngan that were scanned 156pc in lamb to Border Leicester rams.
A line of three-year-old January shorn Goodwood blood Merino wethers at Douglas, Victoria, made $97. At Cunnamulla, Queensland, 1200 three-year-old May shorn Avondale and Egelabra blood Merino wethers, weighing 49.2kg sold to a processor for 434c/kg cwt or $89.
Griffith lamb prices lift $2-$3
In New South Wales at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 7900 lambs, 1550 fewer than last week, and 2700 sheep, 900 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair, with good numbers of finished lambs, but also drier plainer types. Most were heavy and extra heavy weight lambs, along with a handy selection of trade lambs. The usual buyers competed in a firm to slightly easier market. The quality of the 2400 new season lambs was fair.
Prices lifted $2-$3. Trade weights sold from $134-$161, with heavy weight lambs making $155-$177. Old light lambs eased slightly to $103-$115. Trade weights held firm, to $115-$153. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were $4 cheaper. Heavy lambs sold from $148-$159 and extra heavies made $154-$198. Carcase prices ranged from 571-627c/kg cwt.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality improved, with a more consistent run of mutton. Merino ewes sold from $80-$123. Crossbred ewes sold from $86-$118 and Dorper ewes made $82-$117.
Cowra’s new season lambs $2-$4 dearer
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 6750 lambs, 2450 fewer than last week, and 2040 sheep, 230 more.
The NLRS said the quality of the 5000 new season lambs was good. The heavy older grades were also well-presented, along with a few plainer lines. Mainly trade and heavy weights were offered. There were a few pens of store lambs and all the buyers were present, with one extra. Competition was solid especially for the new season and extra heavy weight old lambs, resulting in a dearer market.
Light new season lambs sold to restockers for $89-$109. Medium and heavy trade weight new seasons were $2-$4 dearer and averaged 630c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weights sold from $140-$156. Heavier 22-24kg lambs were $5 dearer and averaged 623c/kg or $156.50. Trade weight old lambs were around firm and averaged from 554c to 610c/kg. Heavy weight lambs were $4-$15 stronger and ranged from 583-661c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $199-$219.
Mutton quality was good. Medium Merino ewes were $3 cheaper and averaged $91 or 369c/kg cwt. Heavy cross bred ewes were firm and averaged $125.90 or 387c/kg. Merino wethers sold to $115.
Shepparton lambs 550-600c/kg
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 268 lambs, 622 fewer than last week, and 773 sheep, 82 less.
Numbers declined for a very small yarding of lambs, while. Quality was very mixed, with most lambs offered in pen lots of less than 20, making it difficult to generate any reliable price trends. For the numbers and quality on offer, the market performed reasonably well and there were more buyers than a week ago.
The market reached a top of $174 for heavy export lambs, while the best price for a limited selection of new season lambs was $152. Lighter and secondary kill lambs mostly sold from $78-$110, with odd pens of very plain types from $6-$32. The few drafts of better finished trade weight lambs sold from $128-$155. Included in this were two pens of new season lambs, suiting domestic kill orders, which sold for $128.50-$152. On a carcase basis a range of 550-600c/kg covered most of the better quality slaughter lambs.
A draft of first-cross store ewes helped bolster sheep numbers. The sheep included a draft of recently shorn crossbred ewes, three years to sound mouth, which made $106-$115, with the younger lots selling to restockers. Extra heavy slaughter ewes sold to $125, while the general run of plainer trade weight mutton sold from $35-$78.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.