Rough weather helps mainland lamb prices, dulls Tasmanian competition

Sheep Central, July 13, 2016
These late-February shorn September-October drop Poll Dorset cross lambs, 18.9kg cwt and score 2, sold for $131.18 at Walcha, NSW, on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

These late-February shorn September-October drop Poll Dorset cross lambs, 18.9kg cwt and score 2, sold for $131.18 at Walcha, NSW, on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

MAINLAND lamb prices lifted early this week after rough weather disrupted shipments from Tasmania.

About 10,000 lambs and some sheep were due to be shipped from Tasmania this week, but have been delayed at least until next week due to rough weather in Bass Strait, with swells of 8-10 metres forecast last night.

Slaughter sheep and lambs have to be shipped from Tasmania on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to make that week’s abattoir schedules.

Prices for quality trade lambs lifted by as much as $22 in some saleyard centres as processors attempted to replace the delayed Tasmanian supplies.

After Tuesday’s saleyards sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service reported the Eastern States Daily Indicators for trade and heavy lambs as recording the biggest gains. The ESDIs for lambs are: restocker 584c/kg, down 7 cents; Merinos 592c/kg, no change; light 582c/kg, up 3c; trade 628c/kg, up 8c; heavy 645c/kg, up 11c. The national trade lamb indicator closed on Tuesday at 629c/kg and the heavy indice is on 646c/kg.

The ESDI for mutton is on 391c/kg, up 4 cents, and the national indicator is on 390c/kg.

New season lambs starting

New season lambs are starting to trickle into some New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australian markets, although most drafts are light and trade weights.

At Corowa, new season lamb drafts weighing 16.1-18kg cwt and with $8 skins sold for $100 or 541c/kg. The 18.1-22kg drafts with $8-$10 skins made $113-$136, or 525c/kg, and the 26.1-30kg lines with $10 skins sold for $178, or 622c/kg.

At Forbes, new season lambs 18-22kg with $10 skins sold from $124-$168, or 600-750c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg young lambs with $11 skins made $168, or 683c/kg.

Deniliquin agents sold 20.1-22kg young lambs with $9 skins for $164, or 705c/kg, and some 24.1-26kg lambs with $10 skins made $165-$175, or 620-660c/kg.

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange, 12.1-16kg new season lambs with $5 skins made $109, or $743c/kg.

In Western Australia’s Muchea saleyards, 12.1-16kg new season lambs with $2 skins sold from $75-$84, or 521-547c/kg, and some 18.1-22kg lambs with $4 skins made $120, or 552-580c/kg.

Over-the hook rates vary

In New South Wales, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb rates eased slightly this week, after supply outstripped demand at saleyards last week. Lamb slaughter levels were steady week-on-week. Mutton rates show a no-quote due to a regular contributor not quoting.

NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 560-650c/kg, down 4 cents; 20-24kg, 600-650c/kg, down 4c; 24-26kg, 600-610c/kg, down 6-10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 490-570c/kg, down 3c. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 100-340c/kg; 18-24kg, 200-380c/kg; 24kg+, 300-400c/kg.

In Victoria, the NLRS said there were some upward adjustments to light and trade weight lamb over-the-hook indicators this week, while heavier categories remained steady. Mutton indicators eased across all categories, with medium weights averaging 350c/kg cwt.

Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 620-640c/kg, up 10c; 18-22kg, 620-650c/kg, up 7c; 22-24kg, 600-650c/kg, no change; 24-26kg+, 600-610c/kg, nc; Merinos 16-22kg, 600c/kg, nc. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 320-330c/kg, down 5c; 18-24kg, 340-360c/kg, down 3c; 24kg+, 300-360c/kg, down 3c.

In South Australia, the NLRS said trade weight lamb over-the-hook indicators averaged 603c/kg cwt this week, while medium weight mutton averaged 330c/kg cwt. No trend is reported due a regular contributor resuming to quote.

South Australia’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 580-680c/kg; 18-24kg, 580-650c/kg; 24-26kg+, 580-610c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 540c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 240-380c/kg; 18-24kg, 260-380c/kg; 24kg+, 280-360c/kg.

In Western Australia, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook rates for lambs and sheep as unchanged. WA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 4540c/kg; 18-22kg, 520-550c/kg; 22-26kg, 550c/kg. The sheep rates are: 18-24kg, 250c/kg.

In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook rates for lambs and sheep as unchanged. Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-16kg, 530-560c/kg; 16-26kg, 540-560c/kg. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 270-300c/kg; 14-18kg, 280-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 280-310c/kg; 24kg+, 270-290c/kg.

Dubbo’s heavy lambs lift $6-$11

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards, the agents yarded 23,000 lambs, 9795 more than last week, and 5500 sheep, 1332 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was good, with plenty of heavy and extra heavy lambs offered. There was a limited supply of trade weights in good condition, but good numbers of store and light processing lambs. All the usual buyers operated in a dearer market.

Light restocking lambs sold from $52-$93. The 2 score processing lambs gained $3 to $72-$118. Medium and heavy trade lambs were $4-$5 dearer at $122-$166. Heavy lambs sold to increased competition and gained $6-$11 to $155-$187. Carcase prices ranged from 630-670c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to $226. Trade weight Merino lambs sold from $98 up to $168 for heavy lines.

Sheep quality was mixed. Fewer heavy sheep were penned. Merinos with longer wool were dearer and plainer crossbred ewes were firm. Medium weights sold from $74-$129. Heavy Merinos made to $160. Most sold from 380-440c/kg cwt on average.

Corowa’s heavy lambs firm to $5 dearer

At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 8300 lambs, 7800 fewer than last week, and 1700 sheep, 3200 less.

The NLRS said lamb numbers decreased significantly due to the wet conditions. The yarding consisted of mainly good trade lambs that were weather-affected, with quite a few secondary lambs bought by processors. While the lighter trades were back slightly the heavier weights sold firm to up to $5 dearer. Light trade lambs sold from $113-$139. Medium trade lambs made $114-$156. Heavy trade lambs sold from $145-$165. Heavy lambs made $157-$181. Extra heavy lambs sold from $181-$205. Heavy Merino lambs sold to $155.

It was a mixed quality offering of sheep, with all weights and grades represented. Heavy Merino ewes sold firm, but crossbred ewes were back $10, with the tops selling to $151. Hoggets were up to $10 dearer, selling to $162.

Tamworth lamb prices helped by quality

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 2500 lambs, 2450 fewer than last week, and 1000 sheep, 450 less.

The NLRS said there was a good supply of well-finished heavy weight lambs and a few secondary quality lots. The market recovered some of the previous market’s losses, while the improved quality also contributed. Market trends for good quality trade and heavy weight lambs were slightly dearer. The secondary quality lambs sold to the trade were harder to sell, with restricted competition. The quality of the sheep was very mixed, with the market trend firm to cheaper.

Deniliquin yards first new season lambs

At the Deniliquin saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1181 lambs, 1124 fewer than two weeks ago, and 364 sheep, 547 less.

The NLRS said the sale highlight was the first few pens of new season young lambs. Quality was mixed, with the better quality medium and heavy trade weight lambs receiving the best support from buyers.

The pick of the slaughter lambs were dearer, while prices for plainer types and light weight lambs fluctuated to average below the previous sale held a fortnight ago. Quality and numbers were an issue on some of the easier results, with a lot of smaller pen lots in the yarding as the last of the old season lambs are cleared out.

About 180 new season young lambs were yarded and these sold at buoyant price rates, based on conservative values of $9-$10 for skins. Local agents said they expect new season lambs to start trickling into the market, although volume numbers are not expected for another month or so. A feature line of 104 new season lambs estimated at around 22kg sold for $164 at an estimated cost of around 700c/kg cwt.

The best of the old season lambs sold from $154-$185, averaging over 600c/kg, with the top pens commanding up to 680c/kg. Domestic lambs generally sold from $124-$144. The lead pen of new season young lambs were estimated at 25kg carcase weight and sold for $175. There was only a very limited and patchy selection of Merinos and small crossbred lambs, making accurate price quotes difficult.

Sheep sold at cheaper rates, but in line with more recent market trends. A small pen of heavy crossbred ewes sold for $115 and the better covered Merino ewes sold from $86-$105.

Bendigo lamb prices helped by Tasmania shipment issues

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 8759 lambs, 3260 fewer than last week, and 1840 sheep, 122 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality remained mixed, reflecting the season, although there were some very good pens of neat trade lambs off grain. Competition for the main lines of trade weight lambs was exceptionally strong, amid reports the wet weather had disrupted the movement of lambs to mainland abattoirs from Tasmania. One of the major domestic orders was particularly strong and underpinned the dearer rates on the better quality fat score 3 and 4 trade lambs.

Prices for slaughter lambs over 20kg cwt were $5-$20 dearer. Plain and light weight lambs under 16kg sold at similar rates. The market reached a top of $210 for a pen of heavy export lambs estimated at around 33kg cwt. The limited selection of heavy lambs over 30kg was dearer, averaging an estimated 605c/kg.

The sale highlight was bidding for trade lambs, with domestic buyers paying to $190 for lambs destined for a local kill. The main drafts of lambs in the 22-24kg range averaged $173 at an estimated 700c/kg cwt. Once off the real pick of the supermarket style lambs, most sales ranged from $128-$160 at an estimated range of 650-680c/kg. Fewer Merino lambs were offered and quality was plainer. Prices fluctuated depending on quality, with the best light trade types making more than 600c/kg. However, most of the small and light types trended under this at similar rates to last week.

The sheep were mostly mixed pens of crossbred and Merino ewes. The market trended cheaper, although the best Merino sheep still made over 400c/kg in places. Extra heavy Merino ewes in a good skin sold to $132 and heavy crossbreds made $106-$126. Averages of 350-400c/kg cwt covered most mutton sales.

Ballarat’s domestic lambs $3-$7 dearer

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10.797 lambs, 883 fewer than last week, and 2040 sheep, 1480 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with most of the regular buyers attending in cold and wet conditions.

The best heavy lambs sold to $210 and the better presented heavy trade weights made $153-$181. Lambs suiting domestic orders sold to keen competition to be $3-$7 dearer, reaching over 700c/kg at times to average around 680-690c/kg. Feeders paid $115-$175 for lambs and the lighter drafts sold to restockers for $65-$100. Restockers also paid $120-$152 for first cross ewe lambs and $80-$97 for young Merino wethers.

Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $72-$110. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $100-$150 and averaged around 680c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $138-$157, with the heavier drafts selling from $153-$181, or 630-725c/kg to average around 680-690c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $170-$200, with a pen of extra heavy lambs reaching $210. Medium weight Merino lambs sold from $79-$129 and the lighter lots made $78-$95 to average around 550c/kg.

The sheep yarding of all weights and grades mostly sold similar to last week, with heavier crossbred ewes a few dollars cheaper. Light weight 2 score sheep sold from $64-$83. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $65-$110, or 315-450c/kg cwt. Merino mutton averaged around 420c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $87-$126.20. Heavy Merino ewes made $90-$125. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $110 and medium weights made $84-$116, averaging around 430c/kg.

Dublin’s heavy trade lambs lift $22

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3295 lambs, 5738 fewer than last week, and 602 sheep, 2097 less.

The NLRS said the mixed quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to the usual trade and processor buyers in near Antarctic conditions. Demand was strong throughout and supermarket buyers competed strongly with wholesalers to secure the limited numbers of trade weight lambs available. Feeder buyers were occasional bidders on crossbreds and restockers bought light weight Merinos at easing rates.

The one consignment of new season lambs yarded sold at $109, including $5 skin value, returning an estimated 743c/kg cwt. Light weight crossbred lambs sold to feeders for $60-$104. Light weight lambs were pursued by processors, lifting prices $5-$14 to $110-$122, or 586-632c/kg.

Light trade weights were scarce and sold from $120-140. Heavy trade weight 4 scores lifted $22 to $130-$175, averaging 658c/kg. Heavy weights lifted $17 to $160-$182, or an average 640c/kg. Light weight Merino lambs sold to restockers and feeders for $46-$68. Light weight Merino lamb prices paid by processors remained unchanged at $100-$118, but trade and heavy weight Merino prices lifted $6 to $110-$150, or 522-561c/kg. A good hogget offering sold to strong competition, with heavy weight Merinos making $110-$140 and crossbreds selling for $128-$142.

The mixed sheep yarding sold to strong processor competition and restockers operated on light weight wethers from $72-$88. Light weight 2 score ewes eased $4 to $66-$88, averaging 301c/kg. Heavy weight 3 score ewes rebounded from last week’s losses, lifting $22 to $95-$132 and averaged 371c/kg. Heavy weight wethers sold from $104-$134 and averaged 427c/kg. The few heavy weight rams made $90-$108.

Naracoorte lamb prices soften

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 892 lambs, 308 fewer than last week, and 581 sheep, 1714 less.

The NLRS said fewer trade and processor buyers attended and not all were active on the very mixed quality penning. A number of lamb pens had seed issues, affecting prices in the overall softer market.

Light weight lambs sold from $64-$81, with restockers paying to $77. Restocker Merino lambs sold from $47-$55. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold to $110 and trade weight 3 scores made $108-$124, back $12, to average 560c/kg. The few heavy lambs mainly sold from $132-$158, with only a handful of extra heavy types selling to $166.

Hoggets sold to $115 and the small number of Merino wethers made $76-$87. Ewe prices retreated by up to $18, with light weight types selling to $56. Medium weight ewes sold to $82 and heavy lines made $102-$122, averaging 330c/kg. Rams sold from $60 for light weight Merinos up to $115 for heavy Poll Dorset types.

Muchea lamb prices firm

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 6400 lambs, 1000 more than last week, and 1964 lambs, 1426 fewer.

The NLRS said quality eased with supply, but some good lambs and ewes were offered. Small numbers of new season lambs were available, but were mainly small light weight drafts. Most buyers attended, but one major processor was absent due to seasonal maintenance.

Prices held their recent levels across most categories. Light store lambs sold to restockers for $40-$60. Better framed and conditioned drafts suited to air freight processors and feeders made $65-$97, to be firm to slightly easier. Trade lamb prices were marginally higher at $87-$119, to be firm to $4 dearer overall. Prime trade weight drafts averaged around 504c/kg, with plainer and Merino drafts making around 485c/kg on average. Heavy lambs sold to $133, with a number of pens exceeding 25kg cwt.

Ewe prices eased $4, with weight and quality back on last week. Light ewes made $38-$55 and medium weight 2 score processor mutton sold from $50-$82, back $4. Heavier ewes, including better conditioned Merino drafts, made $70-$97, and crossbred ewes sold to $107.

Wether prices were firm, with most purchased by export feeders and restockers. Heavy wethers sold for $90-$113 and bare shorn lines made $85-$95. Lighter and store wethers sold from $85-$95. Ram lambs sold to processors and export feeders for $75-$103. Rams suitable for export feeders $60-$85 and old rams sold to processors for $40-$65.

Tasmanian lamb prices slip with less competition

At then northern Tasmanian saleyards at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday, the agents yarded 850 lambs, 155 fewer than last week, and 600 sheep, 150 more.

The NLRS said the sales were held in driving rain. Recent rain has seen most of the state being wetter than for many years and is definitely affecting supply to local and interstate destinations. Recent rough weather has held up much of the interstate shipping and in turn has meant that some regular Victorian buyers were not active.

There were fewer heavy lambs and in most cases lamb prices were $2-$7 cheaper. Exporters paid $82-$90 for light lambs and $96-$106 for light trade pens. Restockers paid $74-$100 for light and light trade lambs. Trade lambs sold from $105-$131, heavy weights made $127-$144 and extra heavy lambs sold from $146-$150.

Mutton prices dropped $5-$15 with less competition. Medium and heavy wethers sold from $93-$100, light ewes made $35-$62, medium weights $66-$74 and heavy weights sold from $94-$97.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.



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