TRADE and heavy lamb prices generally firmed in saleyards mid-week as supply tightened, despite many drafts having seasonal quality issues.
Restockers continue to underpin light and trade weight prices, competing with processors on better lambs over 18kg cwt. Most processors seem to have sufficient intra-state supply not to compete at interstate saleyards.
In New South Wales mid-week, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted new season lambs up to 12kg cwt with skin values up to $6 as selling from 442-592c/kg, or $30-$75, and the 12-18kg lambs with skins worth up to $10 making 388-614c/kg, or $62-$105.
Light trade young lambs, 18.1-22kg with skins valued at $1-$10, made 373-540c/kg, or $80-$127, and the 22.1-26kg lambs with skins worth up $10, sold from 392-551c/kg, or $105-$142. Heavy lambs with $5-$10 skins sold for 422-504c/kg, or $140-$154.20.
In Victoria saleyards on Wednesday, 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $3-$8 skins sold at 350-497c/kg, or $55-$93.50. The light trade lambs with $5-$10 skins made 410-540c/kg, or $84-$118.50. With Hamilton still only getting a few young lambs in, only Horsham yarded 22kg+ lines, with those with $9-$11 skins making 435-500c/kg, or $110-$134.
Has the lamb market bottomed?
Elders Wagga auctioneer Joe Wilks said there had been a panic and glut of lambs and cattle into markets.
“I think the lamb job will slowly improve, a lot of blokes will get on tractors, numbers will cut back a bit and away we go, I would have thought.
“We just had our regular buyers (at Wagga on Thursday), but we probably had 4 or 5 extra restocker buyers that saw the opportunity to buy lambs at store money,” he said.
The restockers were prepared to pay a bit over $100 for 18kg-plus cwt lambs.
“I suppose when they are there the (trade) buyers pick up their game a little bit and don’t want to let them in.”
Mr Wilks said there was still a delay in getting lambs killed, but he expected this to ease up in the near future.
Landmark Wagga livestock manager Peter Cabot also believed lamb prices might have bottomed.
“I think we’ve definitely seen the worst of it.
“People can see over 500c/kg after Christmas, so they’re shearing them or just holding them on.”
With some works offering up to 550c/kg for delivery in January, heavy lambs would be worth more than $140-$150, he said.
“So people won’t sell them fat for $100 anymore anyway.”
The sheep market was also dearer, with Fletcher International at Dubbo now doing two shifts and buying down into Victoria.
NLRS lamb indicators hold firm for all but Merinos
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were: restocker 509c/kg, up 1 cent; Merino 384c/kg, down 10c; light 426c/kg, down 7c; trade 469c/kg, up 1c; heavy 466c/kg, down 1c. The national trade lamb indicator closed on 470c/kg, up 2 cents, and the heavy indice fell 1 cent to 466c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton lifted 5 cents to 282c/kg and the national indicator made a similar rise to 283c/kg.
Carcoar’s better lambs sell $1-$2 dearer
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange near Carcoar, the agents yarded 6700 lambs, 450 more than last week, and 3300 sheep, 900 fewer.
The NLRS said the quality was back with a fair percentage of lambs dry in the skin and lacking finish. Store lambs were in good numbers and there was handy runs of trade and heavy weights.
All the usual buyers operated in a varying market in which better lambs sold $1-$2 dearer and the drier lambs cheaper. Old lambs sold to a softer trend. Restocking light lambs sold from $62-$99. The better medium and heavy trade weights lifted $1-$2 to $90-$122. Heavy lambs ranged from $123-$142, with the best of the extra heavy weights making to $150. Most ranged from 470-490c/kg cwt, but the better runs made up to 520c/kg.
Old medium and heavy trade weight lambs made $87-$101. Heavy lambs sold from $99-$120.
Sheep quality was good, with plenty having weight and cover. Prices were mostly $2-$5 better. Medium weight ewes ranged from $60-$72 and heavy crossbreds sold to $85. Heavy Merino wethers topped at $95. Most sheep ranged from 290-310c/kg cwt.
Wagga’s heavy new season sell firm to dearer
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 27,800 lambs, 3200 fewer than last week, and 8000 sheep, 2000 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality slipped, with more beginning to show dryness. Skin quality has declined, with a fair percentage of new season lambs presenting with seed contamination. The regular NSW buyers attended, with very few southern processors operating. New season trade lambs were well supplied and competition was steady for all trade weight categories.
Well-finished trade lambs made from $110-$140.20 to average 489c/kg cwt. Light trade lambs weighing 18-20kg cwt averaged $104.20, with restocker and feedlot orders supporting this weight range.
There were more new season Merino lambs that sold to processors for $75-$95. Those sold to restockers averaged $66.70. Store lambs sold to slightly weaker demand to average $102.10 for the heavier drafts.
Heavy new season lambs sold generally unchanged to a few dollars dearer, making from $135-$154, or 446-510c/kg cwt. Old lamb quality was mixed, with shorn lambs attracting some competition. Trade lambs made from $86-$115.
Sheep quality was quite good, with limited supplies of lighter weights. A fair percentage of sheep were shorn or with little skin value. Merino trade sheep made from $52-$74.20 to average 265c/kg cwt. Heavy ewes sold unchanged to $3 dearer at $23-$97.20, averaging 233c/kg. Merino wethers were well-supplied, with the heavier pens making $74-$88.
Horsham lamb prices back $2-$5
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 10,202 lambs, 3358 fewer than last week, and 2453 sheep, 1879 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, with reasonable numbers of trade weight and heavy lambs penned. The usual buyers attended.
Lambs sold $2-$5 down on last week, with heavy lambs making to $134. Restockers were active on the large numbers of lighter weight lambs offered at mostly $75-$105.50, with odd sales to $113.50. Lighter lots sold from $33-$68. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $70-$73. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $78-$108 and averaged around 450c/kg cwt.
Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $92-$117. Heavier lots made $110-$125.50, or 400-500c/kg, averaging around 465c/kg. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $120-$134.
Most sheep sold to an easier trend of $3-$8. Some of the lighter sheep were close to unchanged. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $36.50-$58. Medium weight 2 and 3 score made $54-$68 and ranged from 225-300c/kg cwt. Merino mutton averaged around 280c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $54-$67. Medium weight Merino wethers made $61. Merino ewes returned to the paddock at $83.50.
Katanning prices firm as restockers buy ewes
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4990 lambs, 2011 fewer than last week, and 12,000 sheep, 7000 more.
The NLRS said Merino ewes and unfinished lambs dominated the yarding, with prices remaining equal to last week. All regular buyers attended and graziers bought store ewes and unfinished lambs.
New season lambs sold to $102. Trade weight new season lambs sold from $75-$102 and light weights made $55-$70. Very light lambs sold from $5-$50. Old season crossbred trade weight lambs sold from $50-$77. Store crossbred lambs to restockers remained firm at $45-$77. Merino store lambs sold for $30-$70.
Young bare shorn light weight Merino ewes sold to restockers for $20 and those with a fleece made to $78. The best full wool store wethers sold to $110.
Plenty of ewes were offered as the season dries, but strong grazier competition kept prices firm. Light ewes sold for $20-$30. Medium weight bare shorn ewes sold from $30 and those with a 75mm fleece made to $72. The better 3 score bare shorn sheep sold from $42, and those with a fleece made to $77. Restockers and feeders paid $75-$96 for wethers depending on quality and weight. Young rams and wethers were in demand and remained firm. Prime young rams sold from $50-$110 and older rams made $5-$27.
Warwick market cheaper
Warwick Selling Agents yarded 1492 lambs and hoggets, and 419 sheep at the weekly sale on Wednesday.
The market was cheaper for all lambs and sheep. Lambs sold to $135 for the Shelley Family Trust of Warwick.
Crossbred lambs 46-55kg lwt sold from $120-$135, 42-45kg lambs made $110-$117, 36-42kg lambs ranged from $104-$116 and the 35-40kg lambs made $94-$100.50.
Shorn crossbred hoggets, 52kg lwt, sold to $95. Trade wethers with a $12 skin sold to $81, or 340c/kg cwt, and light wethers with a $4 skin made to $45, or 240c/kg.
Heavy crossbred ewes with an $8 skin sold to $89, or 330c/kg, and light ewes with a $4 skin made to $35, or 215c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.