EARLY season sucker lambs are reaching processor grids and AuctionsPlus catalogues in New South Wales at rates above those achieved last year, but could even better prices be coming?
Online sheep and lamb numbers increased 1600 last week to 39,972 on AuctionsPlus, with rain driving breeder prices.
One highlight of the AuctionsPlus listings was the online platform’s first offering of new season suckers this year, with the result indicating a positive outlook for the upcoming lamb season.
A line of 360 unshorn February-March drop Poll Dorset-Merino cross lambs at Cootamundra, New South Wales, weighing 23kg lwt and estimated at 9.5kg cwt with a $6-$7 skin, sold to a restocker for $86.50 or about 830c/kg cwt. The lambs were mostly condition score 1 and 2.
The price paid by a Wagga buyer for the grain-imprinted lambs was $11.50 better than last year’s opening price for the same vendor’s lambs. They will be fed on to be sold as heavy domestic or export lambs
Riverina Livestock Agents partner Tim Drum said he had encouraged the lamb seller James Gooden from “Gidgee” at Brawlin via Cootamundra, to run the young lambs on for a few weeks longer than he did last year to allow crops to get away in the likely buying areas.
“Which probably made the difference of about $10 compared to last year – three weeks ago the crops around here (Wagga) weren’t advanced enough to put lambs on, but they are now.
“It’s really Merino wethers country, he lambs them in the autumn when he’s got a bit of feed and sells them before it gets too cold.”
Mr Drum said he had already been selling January and February-drop lambs weaned on lucerne and topped off on grain in the area to around 23.5kg cwt over the hooks to supermarkets. This was at prices at times about 10c/kg or $2.50 a lamb above 2015 rates.
He expected the normal sucker turn-off fresh off their mothers into saleyards to be later in the Wagga district this year, not before the end of July.
Mr Drum said the Wagga area was running out of finished lambs and the wet weather was making it hard to access properties.
“I think you will find they (the processors) will all be back into it in August expecting to have the lambs here, but there won’t be enough suckers to keep them going.
“I’m tipping August will be the dearest of the lot.”
Older crossbred lambs 32-34kg lwt sold from $89-$100, the 36-38kg lambs made $103-$117.50, and 39-41kg lambs sold for $110.50-$125.50. The top price was paid for October/November drop second cross White Suffolk lambs from northern New South Wales.
First cross ewe lambs sold from $115 to a top of $176 for a run of lambs as part of a large offering in western Victoria. Rising two year old scanned in lamb first cross ewes made $192-$194 from Cooma, and older scanned ewes sold from $155.50 for aged ewes to a top of $188.50. Composite ewes scanned in lamb from Victoria made $98.50-$180 and a run of scanned in lamb ewe lambs on Kangaroo Island sold for $232.
Merino ewe lambs sold from $74.50-$80 and scanned rising two year olds made $85.50-$140. Proven Merino breeders sold from $110 to a top of $161.50 for a small line of young ewes with a full fleece at Temora that were in lamb to Poll Dorset rams. Aged scanned ewes sold from $88 up to $151.50 for 70kg lwt, November shorn, six year old ewes at Wellington that were in lamb to White Suffolk rams.
Merino wether lambs sold from $57-$100.50 last week, averaging $75. The top price was for July/August drop, January shorn Hazeldean blood lambs weighing 39kg. Grown wethers sold from $75.50 to a top of $91.50 for five to six year old wethers from southern Queensland weighing 55kg with a big October-shorn fleece.
Griffith trade and heavy lambs cheaper
In New South Wales at the Griffith saleyards last Friday, the agents yarded 7100 lambs, 1100 fewer than last year, and 2200 sheep, 1200 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality reduced slightly. Fewer heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were penned. The usual buyers competed in a fairly similar market.
Light lambs eased to $106-$120. Trade weights were firm to $2 easier at $125-$149. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were firm to $3 easier. Heavy lambs sold from $151-$168. Extra heavies made $162-$216. Carcase prices ranged from 594-624c/kg. Merino and Dohne lambs sold from $125-$163.
Most of the sheep were Merinos. Quality reduced and prices slipped. Merino ewes sold from $84-$144. Crossbreds made $102-$160. Dorper ewes sold from $75-$136.
Cowra’s heavy lambs firm
At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5400 lambs, 150 fewer than last week, and 500 sheep, 120 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was generally good across all grades. Mainly trade and heavy weights were penned along with a limited supply of store lambs. Not all buyers operated, but competition was solid, allowing the market to hold firm.
Light lambs to the processors were $3 cheaper and averaged $111, and store lambs ranged from $77-$124. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were firm to 2c/kg cheaper and averaged around 610c/kg cwt. Most of the better heavy trade weight lambs sold from $130-$147. Heavy weight lambs were firm and averaged 600-610c/kg cwt. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $170-$188.
Sheep quality was very mixed. Medium first cross ewes sold from $69-$85. First cross ewes sold to local restockers averaged $117 and heavy ewes made to $96.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.