Lamb prices generally eased late last week, with only restockers providing any lift when quality and weight suited in saleyards or on AuctionsPlus.
With all states except Victoria looking forward to a holiday yesterday, buyers competed in mostly cheaper saleyard markets on Friday, bringing the NLRS Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator back one cent to 470c/kg cwt and the heavy lamb indicator to 468c/kg cwt, down four cents. The mutton indicator closed the week on 316c/kg cwt, down two cents.
The NLRS national lamb indicators finished the week in similar form with only the restocker indicator, up two cents to 477c/kg cwt and the light lamb indicator, up one cent to 441c/kg cwt, showing positive movement. The others all drifted down: Merinos, 416c/kg, down 2c; trade, 470c/kg, down 2c, and; heavy, 468c/kg, down 3c.
Lamb demand drives first cross prices on AuctionsPlus
AuctionsPlus said strong export demand for lamb, that seems unlikely to decline, continued to buoy the first cross ewe market.
First cross ewe lambs sold from $83 to $156, and maiden ewes made from $150 to a top of $189 for a well-grown 65.2kg liveweight line out of Narrandera. These were 14-15 month-old late July-shorn Burdo blood ewes from P.&M. Burden, Mt View, Colinroobie, offered through Ray White Rural Narrandera. Composite proven breeders in NSW sold from $96 to $119. Sheep and lamb numbers last week dropped to 38,189 head, 2000 fewer than the previous weekly listing.
Store lamb prices were generally up $8-$10 on AuctionsPlus last week. The 33kg-35kg lines sold from $80 to $88.50, and the 37kg-39kg drafts made $82.50 to a top price for the week of $90 for May drop second crosses weighing 37kg.
Demand for Merino wethers eased, with few sales to report last week. Grown Merino lambs made $40.50 in Tasmania and $65 out of central NSW, and 54kg two to three year olds in southern NSW sold for $75.
Young Merino ewes sold for solid prices to restockers on AuctionsPlus, but did not reach the same highs as last week. Merino ewe maidens sold from $103.50-$140 and unjoined proven breeders made $100-$128. Older lines of ewes attracted processor competition, with 19kg-21kg mutton prices ranging from 259c/kg-263c/kg cwt, including skin.
Trade weight lambs $3-$4 cheaper at Griffith
In NSW at Griffith on Friday, the agents yarded 14,100 lambs, 5852 more than last week, and 6000 sheep, 1320 more.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said 10,200 new season lambs were penned and quality was good, with fair numbers of well-finished lambs. More lambs showed signs of dryness and seed contamination. The usual buyers competed in a cheaper market.
Light new season lambs averaged $89. Trade weights were $3-$4 easier, from $91-$114.
Heavy and extra heavy weights were $2-$3 easier, as heavy lambs sold from $111-$123 and extra heavy weights made $116-$137. Carcase prices averaged from 461c/kg-470c/kg cwt. Old trade weight lambs sold from $84-$101. Heavy weights made $100-$119 and extra heavy weights sold from $115-$146.
Mutton quality was very mixed. Most of the sheep were Merino ewes that sold from $76-$100. Crossbred ewes made $71-$95.
Heavy new season lambs down $5-$6 at Cowra
At Cowra on Friday, the agents yarded 9600 lambs, 500 more than last week, and 1600 sheep, 160 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was excellent, particularly the new season lambs, which were in top condition. There were mainly trade and heavy weights and some light lambs suitable for restockers. All the buyers operated, but were subdued in places, resulting in a cheaper market.
Light new season lambs to the processors were down $3 and averaged $88. Medium and heavy trade weight new seasons were $3-$5 cheaper and averaged from 461c/kg-464c/kg cwt. Most of the quality heavy trade weights sold from $105-$110. Heavy weights were $5-$6 cheaper and averaged from 447c/kg-462c/kg cwt. A few pens of extra heavy weights sold from $128-$136.
Old trade weight lambs were firm and averaged $92.70, while heavy weights were $2-$6 cheaper and ranged around $100-$117.
Mutton quality was good. Medium Merino ewes averaged $64.80 or 287c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were $2 cheaper and averaged $85.80 or 271c/kg cwt.
Restockers lift lamb rates $10-$14 at Shepparton
In Victoria at Shepparton on Friday, the agents yarded 6350 lambs, 1939 more than last week, and 850 sheep, 304 more.
The NLRS said quality was mostly good in the mainly new season lamb offering. Light weights were in good numbers, while trade weights were best supplied, along with a handy run of heavy weights. All the usual buyers operated in a cheaper market.
Restocking lambs went against the trend to sell $10-$14 dearer, as buyers acquired a better and mainly heavier lamb.
Prices ranged from $64-$98. New season trade lambs were $6-$9 cheaper, with the medium and heavy trade weights receiving from $83-$116 and averaging 465c/kg-475c/kg cwt. Heavy new season lambs eased at a similar rate, ranging from $122-$128, while the extra heavy lambs made to $136 and averaged 425c/kg-470c/kg cwt, with weight decreasing week-on-week.
Mutton quality was mixed. Most sheep eased $3, with medium weight ewes ranging from $60-$68, and heavy weights from $70-$82. Most averaged near 277c/kg cwt.
Sources: NLRS, AuctionsPlus