SALEYARD lamb prices continued to improve this week, with some domestic processors forced into secondary and heavy lines as yardings were further limited by rain in New South Wales.
Light lambs also met strong demand from restockers, feeders and exporters this week across all states, especially in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. At the South Australian Livestock Exchange, feeder demand for light 12-18kg cwt lambs lifted prices $17 to $100.
Trade lamb rates are now mostly well over 500c/kg and up to 560-590c/kg in Victoria. At Dubbo in New South Wales, trade lamb prices lifted $7-$11 and light lamb rates rose $7-$12.
Bendigo in Victoria and the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin were the only saleyards to increase their lamb offerings this week.
NLRS lamb indicators all firm to higher
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted all Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb and mutton as firm to higher. The lamb ESDIs are: restocker 540c/kg, up 28 cents; Merino 485c/kg, no change; light 517c/kg, up 2c; trade 527c/kg, up 6c; heavy 519c/kg, up 2c. The national trade lamb indicator rose 8 cents to 527c/kg and the heavy indice is on n519c/kg, up 3 cents.
The ESDI and national indicator for mutton both lifted 7 cents to 330c/kg.
NLRS over-the-hook indicators lamb rates firm to dearer
In New South Wales, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook indicators for lamb as firm to dearer week, after widespread rain across the state saw contributors hold a wait-and-see approach. Light and medium mutton rates lifted slightly and heavy weight rates eased.
NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 460-540c/kg, up 2 cents; 20-24kg, 490-540c/kg, up 2c; 24-26kg, 500-520c/kg, no change; Merinos 16-22kg, 500-520c/kg, nc. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 190-300c/kg, up 5c; 18-24kg, 260-300c/kg, up 3c; 24kg+, 220-300c/kg, down 13c.
In Victoria, the NLRS said light weight lamb over-the-hook indicators eased slightly week-on-week, while trade weights were unchanged, averaging 533c/kg cwt. Heavier weight lamb categories moved higher this week. Medium weight mutton lifted 5c/kg on average, to 300c/kg cwt.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 500-540c/kg, down 3c; 18-24kg, 500-540c/kg, firm to up 3c/kg; 24-26kg, 510-520c/kg, up 5c; 26kg+, 510c/kg, up 10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 480-520c/kg, nc. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 270-280c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 300c/kg, up 5c; 24kg+, 240-300c/kg, nc.
In South Australia, the NLRS quoted trade and heavy weight lamb over-the-hook indicators as edging slightly higher this week, while light weight and Merino lambs were unchanged on last week’s levels. Mutton indicators were also firm.
SA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 500c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 500-550c/kg, up 3c; 24-26kg, 500-510c/kg, up 3c; Merinos 16-22kg, 470c/kg, nc. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 190-300c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 210-300c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 170-300c/kg, nc.
In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted the over-the-hook lamb and mutton rates as unchanged. Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-20kg, 490-520c/kg; 20-26+kg, 480-500c/kg. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 260-280c/kg; 14-24kg, 270-300c/kg; 24kg+, 260-270c/kg.
Western Australia OTH rates were not available when this article was published.
Dubbo’s trade lambs lift $7-$11
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 14,100 lambs, 14,405 fewer than last week, and 5750 sheep, 5850 less.
The NLRS said following the very useful weekend rains sheep and lamb numbers were back considerably on the expected draw. It was a fair to good quality yarding, with some top heavy weight lambs and a reasonable selection of trade weights. Merino lambs were in limited supply.
Compared to the sale of two weeks ago light weight lambs sold $7-$12 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $60-$108. Trade lambs gained momentum as the sale progressed to finish $7-$11 dearer, with the 18-23kg 3 scores selling from $94-$134, to average 533c/kg cwt.
Heavy weight lambs were firm to $4 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $113-$181.50, to average around 537c/kg. The few Merino lambs yarded sold $15 dearer, with the trade weights making $93-$126. The restockers paid to $113 for young first cross ewes and hoggets sold to $118.
There were some good lines of well-finished sheep and a fair selection of plainer types in the mixed yarding. Despite the rain, plainer conditioned sheep sold $2-$5 cheaper, while the better conditioned sheep were $1-$3 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $20-$72 and the better 3 and 4 score crossbred and Merinos sold from $65-$112. Merino wethers sold-$120.
Tamworth’s heavy and extra heavy lambs $5-$7 dearer
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 2050 lambs, 250 fewer than last week, and 1000 sheep, 1050 less.
The4 NLRS said weekend rain affected sheep and lamb numbers, with agents yarding fewer than expected. Lamb quality was quite mixed, with a very good quality penning of heavy and extra heavy weights. The usual buyers attended.
Good quality trade weight lambs sold to a dearer trend compared to two weeks ago and secondary quality lambs remained firm. Restockers were a little more active following the rain, with a preference for the better quality lots. The market for good quality store lambs was slightly dearer, with the plainer lots experiencing little change. The heavy and extra heavy weight lambs sold $5-$7 dearer and the quality also improved.
Light and medium weight sheep sold to a firm market trend and heavy sheep rates also change little.
Forbes’ light and trade lambs lift $3
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 21,400 lambs, 9880 fewer than last week, and 5050 sheep, 2597 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair, with some good lines of well-finished and grain-assisted lambs, and plainer types. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a firm to slightly better market.
Light lambs lifted $3 to $96-$103. Trade weights were firm to $3 better at $104-$136. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were steady, with heavy lambs selling from $126-$141. Extra heavy weights made $135-$186. Carcase prices mostly ranged from 489-530c/kg. Merino and Dohne lambs attracted strong competition, selling from $107-$136.
The sheep were made up of mostly Merinos and quality was mixed. There were some good runs of medium and heavy weight sheep and prices lifted $4-$6. Merino ewes sold from $70-$126. Crossbreds made $74-$110. Merino wethers sold from $75-$138.
Bendigo’s well-finished trade make $130-$140
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 14,717 lambs, 4717 more than last week, and 5150 sheep, 2150 more.
Lamb numbers increased as selling resumed after a fortnight’s break due to Anzac Day. Several large lines of lambs came in from the Riverina and north of Mildura, although the best slaughter lambs were mainly from the Mallee district off stubbles or supplemented with grain.
The market trended dearer with most categories gaining $2-$6 compared to the last sale. Extra heavy export lambs sold to $183.60, but well under 500c/kg cwt. The quality of the export lambs varied, with most offered in small and mixed pen lots, that made $150-$166.
The strongest competition of the sale was for well-finished trade weight lambs, which consistently made from $130-$140. The next run of medium trade weight lambs made from $116-$127. On a carcase basis, the pick of the trade weight lambs were estimated at 530-560c/kg. However, when all lambs were put in, sale averages came down to around 520-525c/kg.
Secondary and light crossbred lambs sold strongly to processors, with most making $80-$114, or more than 500c/kg. The varied selection of Merino lambs fluctuated in size, fat cover and skin value. The best trade weight Merino lambs sold from $100-$118, with lighter types making $63-$94. Some of the light weight Merino lambs made more than 500c/kg.
Sheep numbers remained tight and a couple of buyers were keen to fill orders, resulting in a dearer trend. Prices were mostly $5-$10 dearer, with the main run of lean trade weight Merino ewes averaging an estimated 345c/kg cwt. Extra heavy crossbred ewes sold from $80-$95 and Merino wethers in a big skin topped at $106.20.
Ballarat’s lambs $4-$8 dearer
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 17,493 lambs, 6903 fewer than last week, and 6578 sheep, 126 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, with all weights and grades offered.
The usual buyers operated keenly in a dearer market, with most lambs $4-$8 dearer and more in places. The better extra heavy lambs sold to $190 and the heavier trade weights made $128-$143 at around 550c/kg cwt. Domestic orders sometimes stepped up to the heavier weights to fill orders.
Better Merino lambs sold to $104. Restockers and feeders paid from $77-$116, with most restocker lambs a few dollars dearer. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $63.50-$95. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $88.20-$117 and averaged around 560c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lamb sold from $116-$140, with the heavier drafts making $128-$143 and ranging from 520-590c/kg, to average around 550c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $139-$165, with the extra heavy export lambs making $172-$190 and averaging around 500c/kg. Several lots sold for more than $180. Heavy hoggets sold to $115.
The sheep attracted more interest from the usual buyers, with most selling unchanged to $3 up on the last sale. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $114. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $35-$69. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $52-$103, or 250-380c/kg, with Merino mutton averaging around 330-335c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $64-$110. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $90.50-$114 and the medium weights made $65-$107, or around 335-340c/kg. Rams made from $44-$95. Restockers also paid from $81-$82.50 for crossbred ewes and $74-$92 for Merino wethers.
Dublin’s light crossbred lambs lift $17
In South Australia at the Dublin saleyards, the agents yarded 13,000 lambs, 5114 more than last week, and 3000 sheep, 555 more.
The NLRS said the mixed quality crossbred and Merino lambs sold to erratic demand from the usual trade and processor buyers. Quality trade weight lambs were eagerly sought by butchers, and feeders and restockers were active on light weight, late-drop crossbreds and Merinos. Light weight crossbred lambs sold up to $17 dearer to feeders, making to $100. Light weight crossbreds bought by processors remained unchanged at $90-$102, or an average of 470c/kg. Light trade weight 4 scores lifted $9 to $112-$125, to average 522c/kg. Heavy trade weights sold from $120-$140, to average 514c/kg. Heavy weights were plentiful and sold from $130-$170, or an average of 514c/kg. Extreme heavy weights made $176-$180.
Light weight Merino lambs sold to feeders and restockers from $46-$80. Light weights sold to processors eased $6 to $80-$100 and averaged 475c/kg. Trade weights made $100-$125, to average 458c/kg. Heavy weights eased $4 to $108-$145, or 440c/kg.
The good quality yarding of sheep sold to stronger processor competition. Some restocker activity was evident. Woolly wethers sold from $85-$115. Light weight 2 score Merino ewes lifted $6 to $64-$79, averaging 280c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 scores lifted $7 to $80-$120, to average 307c/kg. Heavy weight Merino wethers lifted $7 to $80-$122, averaging 297c/kg. Heavy weight rams made $70-$120.
Naracoorte’s lamb prices struggle to hold firm
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1047 lambs, 427 fewer than last week, and 1122 sheep, 104 more.
The NLRS said a small field of trade and processor buyers, and some restockers, were active. Quality was average at best, with weight and condition hard to find among the lambs. Prices struggled to maintain last week’s rates. Light weight crossbred lambs sold from $42-$97 and light weight Merinos made $87-$96. A small number of Merino and crossbred lambs were purchased by restockers for $27-$73. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $88-$102 and trade weight 3 score lambs made $105-$120, or an average of 520c/kg cwt. Similar Merinos ranging from $97-$116. Heavy lambs mainly sold from $128-$137 and up to $155 in an isolated sale.
Light weight ewes sold from $30-$68 and medium weights made $70-$88, to be firm at an average of 305c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score ewes sold up to $3 easier at $75-$92. Hoggets ranged from $76-$105 and rams sold from $50-$80.
Muchea’s trade lambs lift $2-$4
In Western Australian at the Muchea saleyards, the agents yarded 4662 lambs, 151 fewer than last week, and 3550 sheep, 980 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was again mixed and reflected the time of year. Prime lamb numbers were reasonable, with some good heavy and trade weight lambs. Most were secondary and light weight lambs. Ewe drafts included some good heavy weight drafts along with the lighter conditioned and plain lines. Most of the usual buyers were active, including live export operators on better wethers. There was solid restocker activity on suitable drafts across the categories.
Very light store lambs were in demand at $33-$66. Light lambs, suitable to feed or for air freight processors, were dearer by close to $5 at $62-$97. Trade lambs were $2-$4 dearer, with the better drafts making $100-$116, or close to 480c/kg cwt. Secondary drafts sold to feed or process made around 450c/kg. Heavy lamb prices remained similar to last week at $109-$119.
Most ewes sold $4-$5 dearer and more in places. Light ewes made $20-$66, with the 2 score medium weight processor mutton selling from $60-$77, to be close to $5 dearer. Better conditioned and heavy Merino ewes sold from $65-$95 and some very heavy cross bred ewes sold to $107. Mutton prices generally exceeded 300c/kg cwt, with lighter categories making close to 320c/kg.
Restockers were active on lighter conditioned and younger ewe drafts, which were up to $5 dearer at $40-$78.
Wether prices and quality improved, with some larger drafts suitable for export offered. Export weight wethers made $82-$105 to be firm to $5 dearer. Bare shorn drafts suitable for feeders and restockers made $60-$95 and longer wool lines made up to $105.
Ram lambs sold to $102 and younger rams for export made $40-$66. Old rams met with strong competition, selling for $30-$70 to processors.
Northern Tasmania’s trade lambs $3-$6 dearer
After some much needed rain over the past few days, the NLRS said lamb numbers were similar at Killafaddy and Powranna on Tuesday, with more store type lambs included. Agents yarded 1000 lambs, 25 more than last week, and 560 sheep, 340 fewer.
Most lambs met an improved market with trade and heavy lambs $3-$6 dearer, and several light lamb lines sold $10-$12 dearer. Exporters bought light lambs for $64-$77 and restockers paid up to $48 for very light pens and $70-$87 for light lambs. Trade lambs sold for $91-$116, heavies sold for $107-$123 and extra heavies made $120-$126.
Most sheep prices were fully firm and up to $3-$5 dearer. Very light weight ewes made $28-$40, light weights sold for $44-$70, medium weights made $65-$77 and heavy weights sold from $74-$76. A major exporter was back in the market after an absence of a few weeks and combined with strong Victorian competition, made the sale.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.