LAMB prices came back further in saleyards last week, but national indicators, live and online auction trends show restocker confidence is still high at current price levels.
After saleyard sales concluded on Friday, Meat and Livestock Australia reported that all National Livestock Reporting Service Eastern States Daily Indicators for the lamb categories had again fallen.
The Merino, light and main trade and heavy lamb ESDIs have also lost between 48-62 cents on levels of a week ago, but the restocker indicator fared best, falling just seven cents for the week.
The restocker ESDI is also 100 cents above its level 12 months ago, indicating continuing producer, feeder and lot feeder confidence in future lamb prices. The other lamb indicators are also still 46-56 cents above levels a year ago, putting the current seasonal price slump in context.
The NLRS ESDIs, their daily, weekly and 12-monthly changes are: restocker 579c/kg, down 3 cents, down 7c, up 100c; Merino 455c/kg, down 7c, down 62c, up 56c; light 496c/kg, down 9c, down 48c, up 46c; trade 522c/kg, down 3c, down 51c, up 54c; heavy 514c/kg, down 9c, down 56c, up 49c.
The national trade lamb indicator closed on Friday at 522c/kg, back 3 cents and the heavy lamb indice is on 519c/kg, down 9c.
The EASDI for mutton finished the week on 356c/kg, down 1 cent for the day, but closing 25 cents lower for the week, and 35 cents below its level 12 months ago. The national mutton indicator is on 355c/kg, down 1 cent.
Restocker lambs average 653c/kg on AuctionsPlus
A big jump in sheep and lambs of 17,000 to 60,430 head, did little to dampen demand or prices on AuctionsPlus last week.
With increasing numbers of lambs and also a feature breeder offering in South Australia, the online marketer had its biggest week since March.
Store crossbred lambs this week averaged 653c/kg cwt, 64c above the restocker lamb indicator which dipped gradually through the week. The 26-28kg lwt lambs made $85-$93, and 29-31kg lambs sold from $90-$93.50, with the top price being for some mixed sex first crosses. The 32-33kg lambs sold from $90-$96, and 36-37kg lines made $96-$100. The 38-39kg lines made $97-$104.50, and 40kg terminal lines sold from $104.50-$106. First cross mixed sex lambs at the same weight sold for $119. The heaviest lambs offered were White Suffolk/Merinos weighing 45kg, that sold for $110.
Young Merino ewes made up the bulk of a large offering of SA breeders, with maiden ewes across all sales selling from $100-$195 to average $155, a jump of $25 on last week. The top price was for July shorn, 17-month-old Moorundie blood ewes weighing 75kg lwt in Balaklava, SA. A line of 61kg Gum Hill blood ewes at Hoyleton sold not far behind at $191.
Young first cross ewes continue to meet strong demand, with lambs this week making from $90 to a top of $181 for April drop lambs at Loxton. Maiden ewes made $135-$200 to average $178, with the top-priced lot again at Loxton — 15-17 month old ewes weighing 58kg. Proven first cross breeders aged from 2-5 years-old made $117-$151, and young ewes with Poll Dorset lambs at Wellington sold for $204.
New season Merino wether lambs sold from $57-$95, to average $82. A feature run of March/April drop woolly lambs weighing 44kg at Nyngan were the tops and the 35kg lines sold for $85.
Processors were seeking heavy mutton online and prices ranged from 363-436c/kg, including skin value.
New season kill lamb price ranges tighten below 600c/kg
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $3-$8 skins sold from $90.50-$112, or 556-619c/kg, and the 18.1-22kg trade weights with $3-$11 skins made $110-$132, or 518-576c/kg. The 22.1-26kg lambs with $7-$11 skins made from $126-$145, or 465-548c/kg, and a 26.1-30kg line with $11 skins sold at $145 or 506c/kg.
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the light new season lambs with $1-$9 skins made $70-$108, or 493-556c/kg. The light and medium trade weights with $1-$9 skins sold from $106-$131, or 491-563c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lambs with $1-$9 skins made $122-$146, or 517-552c/kg.
At the Shepparton saleyards, the 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $1-$8 skins made Z$70-$108, or 493-556c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade weights with $7-$9 skins sold from $105-$123, or 476-543c/kg. The 22.1-26kg lines with $8-$9 skins made $125-$140, or 483-525c/kg.
Cowra’s young trade lambs $4-$8 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8500 lambs, 700 more than last week, and 1120 sheep, 410 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality continued to be good, with new season lambs showing top condition. Mainly trade and heavy weights were penned, along with a reduced supply of old grades and stores suitable for the restockers. All the buyers were present, but not all operated. Competition was easier, resulting in a cheaper market.
Light new season lambs held firm and averaged $110, while store lambs were a little dearer and averaged $97.80. Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs were $4-$8 cheaper and ranged from 530-550c/kg cwt. Most heavy trade weight lambs sold from $120-$128. Heavy weight lambs were $11-$15 cheaper and ranged from 500-525c/kg. A couple of pens of extra heavy weight new season lambs sold for $145, with an estimated carcase weight of 26.5-27kg.
Old trade weight lambs were up to $16 cheaper and averaged $93. Heavy weight lambs sold from $103-$126 or 430-460c/kg.
Sheep quality was generally mixed. Medium Merino ewes were down $7 at $63-$75. Heavy first cross ewes were $6-$8 cheaper at $91-$95 or 320-330c/kg cwt.
Griffith’s trade lambs $6-$9 cheaper
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8900 lambs, 7500 fewer than last week, and 3200 sheep, 400 more.
The NLRS said quality remained similar to previous sales. There were 7300 new season lambs and a good number were well-finished. Most were trade and heavy weights. Not all the usual buyers were active and there was some competition from restockers in a cheaper market.
New season lambs to restockers sold from $82-$108. Light lambs slipped $7 to $98-$108. Trade weights were $6-$9 cheaper at $111-$131. Heavy lambs also slipped $10 to $127-$146. Carcase prices ranged from 523-550c/kg. Old trade weight lambs were limited in number and sold from $98-$119. Heavy lambs slipped $10-$12 to $127-$141. Extra heavies made $145-$158.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality continued to be variable. Merino ewes sold from $84-$110. Crossbreds made $85-$95 and Dorper ewes sold from $81-$104.
Shepparton new season lambs fall $10-$12
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 1540 lambs, 651 fewer than last week, and 1000 sheep, 6 more.
The NLRS said 1040 new season lambs were penned. Quality was good on the small runs of heavy trade and heavy new season lambs, but fell away quickly. Old lambs were mixed and included plenty of 1 and 2 score Merino lambs which returned to the paddock. Not all the usual buyers operated in a cheaper market.
New season trade and heavy lamb prices fell $10-$12 and light lamb rates were held up by restocking orders. Medium and heavy trade weights sold from $105-$123 and heavy lambs made $125-$140. Most ranged from 500-515c/kg cwt. Trade weight Dorpers sold the best of the old lambs, with trade weights making from $103-$121. The best of the crossbred heavy lambs made $142. Light 1 and 2 score Merino lambs to restockers at $9-$50. M
Sheep sold cheaper, with little export competition. Medium weight ewes sold from $58-$85. Heavy Merino ewes with plenty of wool made to $105. The better covered sheep average around 340c/kg cwt.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus