Light and restocker lamb prices lifted in some saleyards across Australia as confidence among restockers continued mid-week.
Lambs required for earlier TFI and ALC contracts for late 2014-early 2015 kills have been filled and mostly sourced. But restockers are still buying, and into heavier categories, underpinned by good prospects of grid prices around 500c/kg cwt for 18-22 kg lambs in the next three weeks and the likelihood of tighter supplies later on.
Agents are being assured that prices around 500c/kg cwt over-the-hooks will be achievable in the next three weeks for good 18-22kg trade lambs suitable for the domestic market.
Trade and heavy lamb prices to processors continued to slip mid-week as carcase yields fall as the weather heats up and processors with good supplies booked direct buy to quality in the saleyards, avoiding dry and seed-affected lines.
The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator down two cents after Thursday’s sales, at 458c/kg cwt, and the heavy lamb indicator was at 454c/kg, down one cent. The mutton indicator was 279c/kg cwt, down three cents.
The national lamb and mutton indicators also fell mid-week, with the exception being an unchanged restocker level. The lamb indicators were: restocker 473c/kg cwt, no change; Merinos 381c/kg, down 5c; light 425c/kg, down 1c; trade 456c/kg, down 2c, and; heavy 453c/kg, down 1c. The mutton indicator closed at 278c/kg, down 3 cents.
Carcoar prices drop for all but light lambs
In NSW at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange near Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5120 good quality lambs, 2300 more than last week, and 1560 sheep, 60 more.
The NLRS said there was a good selection of trade and heavy weight new season lambs throughout. Old lambs and Merinos were in limited supply.
Lightweight lambs were $5 dearer with 12-18kg 2 score new season lambs selling from $58-$91. Trade weight lambs were $3-$4 cheaper, with new season lambs selling from $82-$113 to average 474c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $4-$6 cheaper with over 22kg new season lambs selling from $117-$128, while heavy weight old lambs sold to $130. Restockers paid to $98 and hoggets sold to $86.
The mixed yarding of mutton had some very heavy crossbred sheep and good lines of Merino wethers. A fair percentage of plainer sheep was penned. Ewes were $12-$15 cheaper, while wethers were $7. The 2 score ewes sold from $37-$54 while the 3 and 4 scores sold from $50-$77 for Merinos and $80 for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $52-$84.
Light trade lambs up $5 at Goulburn
At the Goulburn saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1400 lambs, 600 more, and 1100 sheep, 400 more.
The NLRS said the mostly new season lamb offering was of good quality and condition. Old lambs were mixed and included fair numbers of Merinos and Dorpers. The usual buyers competed in a mostly cheaper trade market. Restockers were more active on light and lighter trade weight well-bred lambs, and prices lifted around $5.
Lambs from 15-20kg cwt returning to the paddock made $85-$100 to mostly local orders. Trade weight young lambs to process ranged from $94-$105, to be $4-$5 cheaper. A few heavy weight lots reached $110 for most of the new season lambs, to average 440c/kg-470c/kg cwt. In the old lamb section, the market also eased by around $5 for trade weights to make $72-$98, while heavy weights sold from $100-$123. Carcase prices varied along quality lines and averaged 380c/kg-450c/kg cwt.
The mutton market was mostly around $6 cheaper, but up to $12 lower for light weight and plain condition sheep. Medium and heavy weight ewes and wethers made $50-$97, for carcase prices to average 220c/kg-300c/kg cwt.
Heavy trade lambs down $4 at Wagga
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 27,150 lambs, 2600 fewer than last week, and 12,200 sheep, 1800 more.
The NLERS said lamb quality was very good, but skin quality declined significantly with more lambs dry in the wool and showing seed contamination. Not all domestic or export buyers attended.
Trade lambs were well-supplied and prices were slightly weaker over all categories. Light trade weight lambs were in reasonable supply and steady competition from restockers contributed to the better finished lambs averaging $98.20. Medium and heavy trade lambs were in greater numbers, with increased supplies of shorn young lambs, and prices were generally $2-$4 cheaper as the heavy trade lambs averaged 472c/kg cwt. Trade weight Merino lambs were in short supply and the better finished drafts suitable for the trade made from $70-$110. Heavy and extra heavy young lambs sold to strong northern competition, with northern processor, TFI Tamworth, the market driver on the better-finished pens. Heavy and extra heavy lambs sold from $119-$131, with the extra heavy lambs averaging 430c/kg cwt.
Lambs suitable to turn out were well-supplied and sold to solid demand, with several buyers purchasing lambs weighing above 18kg cwt. Store orders were in place from Queanbeyan, Forbes and the local area. The better quality second cross lambs to turnout sold from $80-$97.
Mutton numbers were marginally higher and quality was mixed, with all weights and grades represented. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were in reasonable supply and sold to weaker demand, with prices varying depending on skin length and competition. Trade sheep made from $50-$82.20 to average 242c/kg cwt. Heavy mutton were in good numbers and prices were $6-$9 cheaper. Heavy wethers carrying a full skin reached a top price of $105, while most sales ranged from $72-$98.
Landmark livestock manager at Wagga Peter Cabot said until this week his clients’ lambs have been yielding more than 50 percent over-the-hooks, but yields had dropped to 46pc in recent consignments due to the hot weather. This would make some drier saleyard consignments dearer to processors once processed. He said rates for heavier store lambs were firm, but the light store were $5-$8 cheaper.
Lamb prices firm at Horsham
In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 16,134 lambs, 2662 more than last week, and 4550 sheep, 339 more.
The NLRS said the usual buyers operated on the average to good quality yarding, with a lot of lambs showing dryness in the skins. As the sale progressed, quality improved, with most lambs generally selling firm on last week’s levels. The better end of the heavy lambs sold to $139.50, at around 470c/kg cwt.
Restockers were again active on the large number of suitable lambs and, paying from $42-$60 for lighter weights and from $67-$91 for heavier lots. These went to Kaniva, local, Ballarat, Shepparton, Finley and Mallee clients. A good quality sheep offering, across all weights and grades, was penned and competition was keen, with most sheep selling to a dearer trend to be $5-$8 up on last week’s levels.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $59-$76. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $71-$99. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $83-$105 and from $99-$122 for the heavier lots, and ranged from 380cc/kg-480c/kg cwt, to average around 450c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $117-$139.50, to average around 460c/kg cwt.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $34-$49. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $46-$75 and ranged from 220c/kg-300c/kg cwt, to average around 260c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $61-$77, with heavy Merino wethers making from $69-$75 and medium weights selling from $57-$63.
Firm to dearer mutton prices at Hamilton
At the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2567 lambs, 1465 more than last week, and 2439 sheep, 131 more.
The NLRS said about half the lamb yarding was new season lines. These were mainly light to medium trade 2 and 3 scores from the northern and eastern districts of Hamilton. Most buyers operated in a competitive market for lambs. There was a firm to dearer trend of $3-$5 for mutton.
Light young lambs sold to strong restocker demand, as they made from $51-$66 to average close to 470c/kg cwt.
Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made from $77-$88. Medium 3 scores sold from $82-$98, while a heavier trade pen estimated at 24kg cwt made $118, with around a $7 skin value. Overall across the weight ranges, the price varied between 450c/kg-470c/kg cwt to average 460c/kg cwt. This was on par with other centres as the district gets ready for the new season lamb selling period due to the influence of the weather.
There was more competition on sheep due to an extra buyer attending, which lifted all prices on the sheep. Light sheep made $25-$40, while medium 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $48-$60. The heavier crossbred ewes made $55-$65 and the best Merino wethers sold from $68-$78. The market averaged mostly in the 220c/kg-260c/kg cwt range. Old lambs were mainly unchanged and made from $53-$78, or from 330c/kg-400c/kg cwt to average near 360c/kg cwt. Ram lambs made up to $65, while old rams made between $12-$40.
Restockers and TFI boost sheep rates at Bendigo
At the Bendigo saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 6165 sheep, 4889 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said agents suggested mutton supplies in the area are starting to tighten. The smaller yarding, plus strong bidding from one major exporter, TFI, meant prices for the lighter grades of Merino sheep rebounded and were $5-$11 dearer for some lines. Buyers were more selective on the heavier and over-conditioned crossbred ewes which averaged about $4 dearer. Some meat buyers dropped out of the auction as the sale progressed due to the stronger prices.
Local agents were again active on the top runs of Merino wethers to go back to the paddock, paying from $72.60 to a market top of $98.60 for wethers offering a wool rebate. The wethers sold to restockers averaged an estimated 300ckg cwt. Processors paid from $61-$78 for Merino wethers to slaughter, and from $61-$78 for the better quality runs of Merino ewes, with these sheep making an estimated 270c/kg-300c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $64-$77, improving to around 250c/kg-260c/kg cwt.
Demand for light ewes was strong and there weren’t many sales under $50, with these sheep often making similar carcass prices to the better conditioned and heavier lots. Processor interest in rams remained subdued at $12-$26.
Restockers active at Ouyen
At the Ouyen saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 5380 lambs and 1866 sheep.
The reduced number of lambs consisting mainly of trade and store weights that sold to a slightly smaller contingent of processor buyers.
Restockers from the southern Mallee, central Mallee, Sunraysia and Ouyen regions were active, paying up to $84 to return lambs to the paddock. Processors paid to $119.60 for new season lambs.
Dorper lambs sold to strong competition reaching tops of $108. Selected lighter weight Dorpers sold for an estimated 500c/kg cwt. In the new season lambs the trade weights made from $71.60-$83.60 or 430c/kg-440c/kg cwt, the light stores sold from $39-$52.60 and the heavy store lines made $65.20-$84. Store Dorper lambs sold from $76-$108. The light Merino lambs made $39-$46 and heavy lots sold from $58-$73.
The heavy mutton sold from $74-$88 to be $10-$20 dearer than the last sale, while light sheep sold from $52-$76.
Trade buyers dominate at Mt Gambier
In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5328 lambs, 2944 more than the last sale, and 937 sheep, 512 more.
The generally very good quality yarding of crossbred new season lambs sold to solid bidding from trade and processor buyers. Restockers operated on a few light weight lambs at prices from $57-$73, but trade bought most of the yarding.
Light weight 3 score lambs eased $2-$8, selling from $79-$106 and returned 448c/kg-460c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 4 scores sold from $98-$121, averaging 472c, while heavy trade weights eased marginally, selling from $108-$125 to average 464c/kg cwt. Heavy weights sold from $125-$136 returning 470c/kg-480c/kg cwt.
The heavy weight 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $50-$68 to average 225c/kg cwt. Rams made $10-$28.
Restocker lambs up $6 at Katanning
In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5229 lambs, 1329 more, and 7100 sheep, 1528 fewer.
Ewe mutton and light weight lambs made up the majority of the yarding.
New season lambs were in solid supply with limited prime lamb drafts and more shorn young lambs available. The quality of the lambs was reasonably good, although most lines were in the light and very light weight categories. Ewe weight and wool length continued to decline. Competition remained similar although there was improved restocker interest from the south and eastern coastal areas.
Light lamb to processors and air freight markets made $67-$80, with most marginally dearer. Trade weight lambs sold from $75-$98, to be $3 easier, with heavy weight drafts to a top of $105. Old season lambs were very limited in number and sold at similar prices. Light lambs to restockers and feeders lifted close to $6. Better-framed drafts, including shorn young drafts, made $65-$82, up almost $5, while the lighter lambs including most Merino drafts made $33-$71, up $3-$9.
Ewe prices eased across the categories, largely due to weight and wool length, with light weight drafts making $35-$51, and close to $7 cheaper. The 2 score ewes to processors averaged $57, to be $6 easier, while restockers were active on suitable light conditioned drafts, with prices from $38-$68. Merino ewe hogget sales were firm, with prices from $60-$76 for the better quality drafts.
Wether prices remained close to firm without live export activity. Light weight wethers sold from $50-$72 to be close to firm. Heavy weight wethers made $60-$78, mostly to processors, while those to restockers and feeders made $55-$79. Ram lambs sold from $60-$80, with young rams, mostly to feeders, making $25-$61. Old rams again lacked demand and sold from $5-$35.
Sources: NLRS, Ouyen Livestock Exchange.