Restocker lamb prices surged in saleyards and on AuctionsPlus late last week, and mutton rates continued to climb despite quality declining.
After Friday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service was quoting the Eastern States Daily Indicator for restocker lambs as up 12 cents to 599 cents.
Merino lambs lifted eight cents to 487 cents and the light lamb indice closed at 537 cents, up three cents. The ESDI for trade lambs was at 552c/kg, up four cents and the heavy indicator closed on 567 cents, up four cents.
The national trade lamb indicator finished at 554 cents and the heavy indice was on 570 cents, also up four cents. The ES and national mutton indicators finished the week up two cents to 358 cents.
AuctionsPlus pass-in rates were low
AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said the first two weeks of trading for AuctionsPlus has demonstrated the power and importance of the auction selling system, both physical and online, in establishing a true floor price to the market.
Last week sheep and lamb numbers doubled to 42,292, including almost 17,000 in the store lamb sale. Pass-in rates across all sales were again very low.
Processors have been buying sheep and lambs in the Tuesday and Thursday sales, but were only able to purchase one lot in the store lamb sale, Ms Adams said.
Merino prices improve
Merino wether lamb prices were unchanged on last week, selling from $40-$80 to average $62. The top price was for Pooginook and Pastora blood, June/July drop December shorn lambs weighing 38kg liveweight, she said.
Ms Adams said after a slow start to Merino ewe offerings for the year, numbers and prices increased this week. Maiden ewes sold from $75-$149, and 17-month-old Egelabra blood ewes at Trangie in lamb to Poll Dorset rams made $166.50. Unjoined young ewes made from $75 to a top of $140 for three and four year old Westray blood ewes in central NSW.
Store lambs sell above NLRS restocker indicator
In the strongly supported Farmgate Store Lamb sale last Thursday, crossbred lambs averaged $89 a head, 268c/kg liveweight or 664c/kg carcase weight. About 88 percent of the offering sold above the NLRS restocker lamb indicator for the day.
Ms Adams said Tuesday’s regular sale also yielded some excellent lamb prices, with 38-39kg liveweight lambs making $105-$112 and 35-36kg lambs selling for $98.50-$115. The top price was for 39kg second cross lambs out of Mudgee.
Restocker lambs up $6-$10 at Cowra
In NSW at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8830 lambs, 2080 more than last week, and 1300 sheep, 1520 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality continued to be excellent, with good numbers of well-presented heavy and extra heavy lambs. Weight improved at the top end with the heaviest lambs averaging 77kg live weight. There was also a good number of trade lambs and a small but handy run of store lambs. All the usual buyers operated in a dearer market.
Restocking lambs gained $6-$10 to sell from $88-$119. Trade weight lambs were $2-$3 stronger with the medium and heavy trades ranging from $113-$138 to range from 575c/kg-585c/kg cwt.
Heavy lambs gained $6, with strong competition from export and domestic buyers. Prices ranged from $135-$154 to average 570c/kg cwt. Extra heavy lambs gained $2-$3 to reach a top of $198 and average 527c/kg cwt.
Mutton quality was very mixed. Prices were $5-$10 dearer on the medium weights, with added pressure from restockers, and firm to $5 dearer on the heavy weights. Medium weight ewes sold from $70-$84. Heavy crossbreds sold from $90-$123. Most of the better 3 and 4 scores averaged 340c/kg-360c/kg cwt.
Griffith lambs dearer
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8788 lambs, 212 fewer than last week, and 1638 sheep, 262 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair. There were good lines of well-finished lambs and most of the offering was heavy and extra heavyweight lambs. The usual buyers competed in a dearer market.
Light lambs lifted $4 to sell from $95-$105. Trade weights were $5-$7 dearer with prices ranging from $105-$134. Heavy and extra heavy lambs also sold $5-$6 better. Heavy lambs sold from $130-$151 and extra heavyweights made from $144-$187. Carcase prices ranged from 542c/kg-589c/kg cwt.
The sheep were mostly mixed quality Merinos. Prices lifted, with Merino ewes selling from $79-$110. Crossbred ewes made from $61-$94. Dorper ewes sold from $65-$98.
Shepparton sheep and lamb quality mixed
In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 1648 lambs, 769 fewer than last week, and 747 sheep, 574 less.
The NLRS said sheep and lamb quality was very mixed across all categories. The usual buyers attended and most lamb sales were firm to dearer in places and mutton market also improved. Prices reached $150 for a small pen of export weight young lambs, however the supply of heavy lambs was limited and there were only two sales above $140. The bulk of the yarding comprised of lighter weight lambs less than 20kg cwt and these generally made from $70-$110. There were several pens of Dorper lambs in this section.
Nearly all the light lambs sold to meat processors, mainly due to the mixed quality and smaller pen lots that made it difficult for restockers to operate. The better quality pens of trade weight lambs sold from $122-$138, with most sales estimated in a range of 530c/kg-560c/kg c/wt.
The mutton market was dearer compared to the previous week, with most sheep estimated at 330c/kg-370c/kg cwt. A few pens of extra heavy crossbred ewes sold from $110-$129, while most of the middle weight and lighter ewes made from $68-$95.