Restocker and quality trade lamb prices were firm to dearer at the few saleyards selling on April 1 this week, as most centres shut down early for the Easter break.
But overall the National Livestock Reporting Service’s slaughter lamb indicators lost ground over the single selling day, with no sales on Thursday or Friday.
After the week’s last saleyard sales on Wednesday at Katanning in WA and Carcoar in NSW, the NLRS quoted the Eastern States Daily Indicator for trade lambs as down three cents to 523c/kg and the heavy lamb indice down two cents to 522c/kg. The national trade lamb indicator closed on 525c/kg and the heavy lamb indice is 523c/kg.
The other ESDIs for lamb are: restocker 519c/kg, up 3 cents; Merino 458c/kg, no change; light 484c/kg, down 11c. The mutton ESDI is 340c/kg, down one cent and the national indicator is at 341c/kg.
Scanned ewes the highlight in online sales
AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said online numbers were also affected by the short trading week, with just 28,314 sheep and lambs offered.
Scanned Merino and first cross ewes were the standout of this week’s sheep sales, she said. Proven 3-5 year-old September-shorn Egelabra Merino breeders scanned 100pc pregnant to the Border Leicester from a late November joining sold from $101-$131 at Coonamble. Scanned crossbred ewes made to $95 for aged ewes and up to $163 for three year old ewes in lamb to the White Suffolk.
Old ewes attracted processors with mutton selling from 332c to 417c including skin, Ms Adams said.
Merino wether lambs sold from $42-$64.50, but store lamb numbers have dropped right back, with only a handful of lines selling this week, she said. First and second cross lambs weighing 35kg made $89-$89.50 and 44kg lwt first cross wether lambs sold for $99.
Carcoar’s heavy trade lambs up $7
In NSW at Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9000 lambs, 2400 fewer than last week, and 3000 sheep, 300 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was good in the heavy and extra heavy categories. Some of the trade weights were dry in the skin and discounted by buyers. Light lambs were well-supplied and keenly sought after by restockers. All the usual buyers operated in a dearer market.
Restocking lambs ranged from $66-$105. Trade weights gained $4 on the better-supplied heavy weights. Medium and heavy trade weights sold from $92-$128, averaging 540c/kg cwt. The lighter end of the heavy lambs gained $7, with the top end lifting $1. Prices ranged from $125-$144 or 515-540c/kg cwt. Lambs over 26kgs sold from $133 to a top of $200 for a pen of very heavy lambs.
Sheep quality was mixed. Prices lifted $8-$10. Medium weight ewes ranged from $66-$85. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $102-$117 and heavy Merino wethers made $110-$120. Most averaged from 320-350c/kg cwt.
Katanning trade lambs firm to easier
At the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 3035 lambs, 5384 fewer than last week, and 4170 sheep, 2968 less.
The NLRS said sheep and lamb quality was plain. Competition was solid from a full field of buyers and prices remained firm for most of the yarding.
The very light store lambs were mostly Merino drafts that sold $5 easier at $30-$75. Light lambs, 18kg cwt and under, sold to processors, restockers and feeders, from $61-$94 and were also $3-$5 easier. Trade lambs, 18-22kg, also sold firm to slightly easier with most sales from $80-$107 to average 500c/kg cwt. The heavy lambs remained firm and sold to a top of $120 to be nearer 510c/kg cwt on average.
Ewe prices were $10-$15 dearer. Light ewes made $49-$69. The 2 score processor mutton made $60-$92 and the better 3 and 4 score mutton sold from $68-$110 to average close to 340c/kg cwt. Wether prices were $3-$5 dearer. Better export wethers sold from $92-$115 to remain firm along with store drafts that made $57-$84. Rams sold to solid competition, with ram lambs making to $90 and young drafts to feeders selling from $35-$65. Old rams sold to processors for $56-$90.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.