Restocker lamb demand holds as saleyard and hook rates level

Sheep Central, February 10, 2016
These late January shorn August-September drop White Suffolk cross lambs, 14.2kg cwt and mostly score 2 and 3, sold for $100 at Bundarra, NSW, on AuctionsPlus this week.

These late January shorn August-September drop White Suffolk cross lambs, 14.2kg cwt and mostly score 2 and 3, sold for $100 at Bundarra, NSW, on AuctionsPlus this week.

RESTOCKER lamb demand remained strong for suitable drafts in saleyards mid-week.

But trade and heavy lamb rates varied in the live markets, despite quality slaughter supplies tightening, as processors lifted grid rates.

Trade lamb prices were firm to dearer at Dubbo and Tamworth on Monday and at Naracoorte and Dublin on Tuesday – up to 600c/kg at Tamworth and 618c/kg at Dubbo, but rates slipped at Bendigo on Monday and at Forbes and Ballarat on Tuesday.

The variance around quality and skin value for light slaughter lambs continues to widen at some centres. Dubbo’s 12-18kg cwt lambs with $1-$8 skins made from $52-$115, or 343-633c/kg, while at Forbes, similar weight lambs with $1-$11 skins sold from $32-$105, or 186-625c/kg.

Light and medium trade lambs made from 463-625c/kg in NSW on Monday, but didn’t venture over 600c/kg in Victoria, New South Wales and SA on Tuesday, ranging mostly from 450-580c/kg.

Prices for lambs over 22kg cwt have generally lost ground in most saleyards over the last two days, , with most lambs over 22kg selling for less than 600c/kg, and mainly from $120-$180, or 450-570c/kg, and less per kilogram for extra heavy lambs over 26kg.

NLRS lamb indicators falling

The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted only the eastern States Daily Indicator for restocker lambs as improving after Tuesday’s saleyard sales, with all other indicators lower.

The ESDIs for lambs are: restocker 559c/kg, up 9 cents; Merinos 492c/kg, down 15c; light 525c/kg, down 4c; trade 547c/kg, down 3c; heavy 546c/kg, down 5c. The national trade lamb indicator closed down 3 cents to 546c/kg and the heavy lamb indicator was back 6 cents to 545c/kg.

The ESDI and national mutton indicators both finished down slightly on 310c/kg.

Over-the-hook rates improving

In NSW, the National Livestock Reporting Service said over-the-hook rates for 2-4 score lambs were moderately higher this week as saleyard prices remained buoyant. Good quality trade weight lambs remain in tight supply, while there is strong demand for heavy weight lambs. Mutton rates were firm to slightly dearer.

In Victoria, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates also trended higher this week, due to buoyant saleyard prices. Light weight sheep rates eased, however demand for medium and heavy weight mutton remains solid.

In South Australia, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates were firm to dearer this week. Mutton rates moved higher as demand shifts.

In Tasmania, OTH rates for lambs were firm to dearer, while mutton rates dropped. The WA OTH rates were not available when this report was published.

Dubbo’s trade lambs firm to $2 dearer

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 16,430 lambs, 765 more than last week, and 7220 sheep, 2885 fewer.

The NLRS said there was a good selection of heavy weight lambs and a fair selection of trade weights. Dorper lambs were also well-supplied. All the usual buyers operated.

Light weight lambs were firm to $2 dearer, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores sold to processors making $56-$107. Trade lambs were firm to $2 dearer, with the 18-23kg 3 scores selling from $92-$139 to average around 560c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were firm to $3 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $130-$179 to average 562c/kg. Merino lambs were firm, with the trade weights selling from $118-$130. Restockers paid to $110 for lambs to fatten and $158 for first cross ewe lambs. Hoggets sold to $115.

Most weights and grades were represented in the mixed yarding of sheep. Merino ewes finished firm and crossbreds were dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $38-$76. The better 3 and 4 score crossbreds made $68-$105 and Merinos sold up to $116. Merino wethers sold to $112.

Tamworth’s good trade weights lift $1-$4

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3300 lambs, 1100 fewer than last week, and 2160 sheep, 760 more.

The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was fairly mixed, with trade weight and heavy weights well-represented. There were fewer good quality young lambs suitable for restockers. The usual buyers attended.

Market trends varied through the lambs, with increased demand for good quality trade weights resulting in a slightly dearer market trend, up $1-$4. There was little change for secondary quality lambs, with odd sales slightly cheaper. There was less competition participating for the relatively low numbers of suitable restocker lambs with the market trend slightly cheaper. Heavy and extra heavy old lambs sold to a slightly cheaper market – around $3 — with more for buyers to choose.

Heavy well-finished sheep were well-supplied and were mostly crossbred ewes. There was a small number of heavy Merino wethers. Market trends were firm to a shade dearer.

Forbes’s trade lambs $2-$3 cheaper

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 28,036 lambs, 1886 fewer than last week, and 10,127 sheep, 331 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to previous sales, with good numbers of well-finished lambs offered along with the plainer types. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs were again well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a slightly cheaper market.

Light lambs were firm to $3 easier at $96-$104. Trade weights were $2-$3 easier at $103-$134. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs slipped $5-$7. Heavy lambs sold from $127-$146 and extra heavy weights made $140-$199. Carcase prices ranged from 495-548c/kg. Trade and heavyweight Merino lambs sold from $115-$141.

Most of the sheep were Merinos. Prices were erratic, with Merino ewes selling from $67-$119. Crossbreds made $70-$106 and Dorper ewes sold from $62-$90. Merino wethers sold from $72-$126.

Bendigo’s export and trade lambs $3-$10 easier

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 18,071 lambs, 5904 more than last week, and 5306 sheep, 2305 more.

The NLRS said lamb numbers lifted after strong sales last week and the return of hot weather. Quality remained very mixed, with only supplementary-fed lambs now showing decent carcase finish. The usual field of buyers attended, but not all made purchases. Bidding fluctuated and the market lost momentum later in the auction.

Most export and trade weight lambs sold to slaughter averaged $3-$10 easier, with the heaviest pens recording some of the biggest price corrections. The exceptions were quality trade weight Merino lambs finished on grain with high value skins, and light export lambs suiting MK processing orders, which averaged a few dollars dearer.

Bidding reached a top of $180 for a pen of extra heavy shorn lambs. There was only about half a dozen pens of extra heavy lambs which sold above $160 and these trended below 500c/kg cwt. The lead drafts of heavy lambs weighing around 24-27kg cwt sold from $130-$150, and the next run of medium trades from $120-$130. After this, most plain domestic lambs sold from $105-$118. On a carcase basis, most of these shorn lambs made mostly 510-530c/kg cwt. A nice run of trade weight Merino lambs off grain feeders sold from $110-$123 to average an estimated 500c/kg.

Processor demand for light lambs was keen, with the best lines selling from $85-$100. A feedlot order paid to $108 for bigger framed store lambs, while the general run of small lambs made $70-$90 with restockers.

The sheep yarding was very mixed and comprised mostly smaller lots, with only limited lines of Merinos. Prices varied, with the heaviest ewes trending cheaper, but the better quality trade weight sheep mostly dearer. Prices reached $100 for heavy Merino ewes nearing full wool and the heaviest crossbreds made from $80-$95. Most trade weight ewes sold from $55-$78. Light mutton made from $37-$50. The best trade weight mutton trended over 300c/kg cwt.

Ballarat’s heavy lambs drop $2-$8

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 19,867 lambs, 11,282 fewer than last week, and 13,784 sheep, 882 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was again good, with fair numbers of extra heavy and heavy lambs. Trade weight and light lambs were also well-supplied, with the heavy lambs reaching $175. A few lots were passed in. The usual buyers operated in a cheaper market.

Heavy and extra heavy lambs generally sold $2-$8 easier. The best domestic lambs sold close to unchanged, with the better covered lambs well-sought after. The best unshorn lambs made to $129.

Restockers and feeders were again very active and paid from $92-$128 and from $49-$80 for lighter lots, with most processor and restocker lambs a few dollars dearer. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $69-$92.

Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $92-$115 and averaged around 530c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $109-$126, with the heavier lots making $121-$146, ranging from 495-590c/kg to average around 540c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $134-$162 and extra heavy export lambs made $171-$175.

The sheep offering included all weights and grades. These sold generally firm to a few dollars dearer. Several runs of young crossbred ewes sold from $94-$123 to local restockers. Heavy Merino wethers in near-full wool sold to $112. Most of the heavy crossbred ewes were a few dollars better this week, averaging around 280c/kg cwt. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $44-$74. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $56-$90, or 240-340c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 310c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $65-$110.50. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $76-$112 and medium weights made $56-$86. Rams sold from $22-$84.

Dublin’s best trade lambs sell firm

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,000 lambs, 4676 fewer than last week, and 3000 sheep, 690 less.

The NLRS said a very mixed quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to fluctuating competition. The usual trade and processor buyers attended, but feeders and restockers were more prominent.

Demand for light weight Merino lambs was strong and prices were pushed upward. Light weight crossbred lambs sold to feeders for $70-$100. They also bought trade weight crossbred lambs for $97-$105. Light weight 3 score crossbreds sold to processors eased $11 to $95-$104, averaging 474c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 4 scores sold from $110-$123 to average 493c/kg. Heavy trade weight 4 scores remained firm at $118-$142, to average 509c/kg. Heavy weight lambs eased up to $17 to $130-$162, or 506c-512c/kg.

Light weight Merino lambs sold to restockers and feeders lifted $6 to $64-$96, light weights bought by processors rose $6 to $88-$106, averaging 436c/kg. Heavy weight lambs lifted $2 to $105-$130, or an average 444c/kg.

The mixed sheep yarding sold to solid competition from the usual processors. Restockers purchased ewes for $34-$82 and wethers for $82. Light weight 2 score ewes lifted $7 to $55-$75, to average 250c/kg. Heavy weight 3 score ewes lifted $4 to $75-$99, averaging 270c/kg. Heavy weight wethers eased $11 to $80-$95, averaging 280c/kg. Heavy weight rams sold from $60-$90.

Naracoorte’s light lambs lift $8-$12

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3300 lambs, 373 fewer than last week, and 1360 sheep, 1370 less.

The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers were joined by a major domestic buyer who wasn’t active. Quality was mixed and a large number of light weight Merino types was offered. Restockers were active and prices improved.

Light weight lambs sold to the trade made $53-$100 and light trade 2 and 3 score lines ranged from $96-$111, lifting $8-$12. Light weight Merino lambs were plentiful and sold from $55-$95. Light trade 2 and 3 score Merinos sold to $106. Restockers paid mainly $70-$105 and also bought Merinos for mostly $65-$87.

Trade weight 3 score lambs were scarce and made $100-$128, or an average of 560c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $124-$140 and a few extra heavy export types sold to $154.

Hoggets ranged from $45-$86 with Merino wethers made $88-$102. Lightweight ewes sold to $60 and medium weights made $55-$82 at an average of 330c/kg. A line of mixed age restocking Dohne Merino ewes sold from $106-$121. Heavy crossbred ewes made $90-$101 and heavy Merino ewes ranged from $75-$106. Rams sold from $50-$70.

Muchea’s lamb prices lift

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3500 lambs, 100 more than last week, and 4497 sheep, 347 fewer.

The NLRS said the very mixed lamb yarding contained only a few pens of prime trade and heavy lambs. Quality across the yarding was mostly plain, with many tail drafts. All the usual buyers attended, with reasonable competition for the better drafts of lambs.

Prime lamb prices lifted slightly. All other segments of the market remained close to firm. Light store lambs sold from $10-$66. Light weight Merinos made $10-$47 and crossbreds sold $6 dearer. Light lambs suitable for air freight processors and feeders were close to firm at $50-$93. Trade lambs made $90-$117, with the prime portion up to $5 dearer and close to 500c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold from $118-$125 to be up to $5 dearer.

There was reasonable competition for the better drafts of light weight ewes. Live export orders were limited to finished wethers and rams. Overall sheep prices remained firm, with rates erratic at times due to quality.

Ewe mutton sales were stronger for light weight drafts with increased processor competition and restocker demand. Light weight ewes sold from $25-$58, up to $8 dearer. Medium weight processor drafts made $47-$68.50 to be marginally easier. The better conditioned and heavy mutton was marginally dearer at $50-$86. Dearer ewes had wool values of more than $18. Restockers purchased limited numbers of lighter conditioned ewes for $46-$57 and better ewes for $57-$72.

Wether sales were selective, with the finished heavy wethers for live export making $80-$104 and lighter drafts $65-$88. Store wethers sold to feeders and restockers made $50-$85. Bare shorn, very small and plain drafts made from $37. Ram prices were mixed. Better ram lambs sold to $97 and most live export drafts made $55 and $70. Old rams sold to processors for $10-$35.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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