SALEYARD trade and heavy lamb prices held firm to dearer for quality lines mid-week despite general larger yardings.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said eastern states lamb yardings up to Thursday this week jumped 41 percent week-on-week to 185,587 head – 23pc higher than the same time last year (152,186 head).
The NLRS said saleyard and direct-to-works prices over the last two weeks have been buoyed by rain across many of the key lamb producing regions in early May and forward contracts put out this week for June delivery have also provided more stability for the market going into winter.
Supermarket chain Coles this week released its July contracts for lamb of 590c/kg for 18-25kg cwt shorn lambs delivered to Gundagai in New South Wales and 600c/kg for deliveries of approved lambs to Brooklyn in Victoria. Coles’ June lamb contracts of 580c/kg at Gundagai and 600c/kg at Brooklyn have been filled.
Saleyard buying interest focussed on lines suitable line to restockers and any well-finished trade and heavy lambs suited to domestic or export orders, with the best lambs in these categories making from 540-600c/kg-plus cwt. At Wagga in New South Wales extra heavy lambs sold to $215 and Mt Gambier sold its first pen of lambs for more than $200, with a processor paying $205 for the estimated 36kg cwt lambs.
NLRS indicators hold ground despite bigger yardings
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 555c./kg, up 7 cents; Merino 514c/kg, down 6c; light 549c/kg, down 1c; trade 559c/kg, down 4c; heavy 561c/kg, up 1 cent. The ESDI for mutton lost cents to 361c/kg.
Carcoar’s heavy trade lambs lift $4
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8400 lambs, 2150 more than last week, and 5200 sheep, 1800 more.
The NLRS said the mixed yarding of lambs included some outstanding heavy weight lambs and a pretty good selection of trade weights. Light weight lambs were also well-supplied. Light weight lambs sold firm to $2 cheaper to processors, with the 12kg-18kg 2 scores making $60-$107.
The lighter trade weight lambs were a little cheaper and the heavier trade weights were $4 dearer. The 18-23kg 3 score lambs sold from $108-$151 to average 570-590c/kg.
Heavy weight lambs up to 26kg cwt were $2 cheaper and the extra heavy weights were a little dearer. The 22-30kg 4 scores sold from $132-$190, while the extra heavy weights over 30kg sold to $200. Lambs sold to restockers and feeders at similar rates, with the better types making $99-$125. Crossbred hoggets sold to $131 and Merino hoggets to $120.
The mostly plain quality yarding of mutton had only odd pens of properly finished sheep. Light weight ewes were a little cheaper and the balance were firm. The 2 score ewes sold from $40-$78. The better 3 and 4 score Merinos made $71-$98 and crossbreds sold to $130. Merino wethers sold to $124.
Wagga’s heavy and extra heavy lambs in demand
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 37,090 lambs, 2590 more than last week, and 7800 sheep, 750 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb prices fluctuated due to the plainer selection of trade and light weight lambs. Shorter skinned grain-fed lambs and lambs finished on lucerne attracted the best competition. All major export and domestic processors operated fully.
Well-finished grain fed trade lambs ignited the bidding, while dryer longer wool types were avoided by some processors. Generally trade lambs were unchanged to $4 cheaper, averaging 576c/kg cwt. Restockers had the greatest influence over the lighter weight categories, with restockers from Goulburn and Yass driving the market. Lambs returning to the paddock sold up to $19 dearer. Lambs with frame sold at $73-$120. Merino trade lambs sold to solid demand from $106-$145.20, with sales erratic at times.
Heavy and extra heavy lamb numbers increased slightly and prices continued to strengthen as the market progressed. Heavy lambs sold from $151-$165, averaging 576c/kg. Increased interest and stronger bidding pushed extra heavy lamb prices a few dollars higher. The better finished and heavier pens sold at $170-$215.
The mixed quality offering of sheep included all weights and grades. Demand fluctuated for heavy weight categories, with prices firming for crossbred ewes. Heavy sheep sold from $91-$140. Merino trade sheep sold to weaker demand, easing $3-$6 to 347-386c/kg. Plain light weight ewes sold at $46-$69.
Hamilton’s light lambs lift $5-$10 to restockers
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7005 lambs, 1438 more than last week, and 5231 sheep, 2034 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality improved for the mixed quality yarding. More buyers attended and most competed keenly in the generally dearer market.
Light lambs sold $5-$10 dearer, medium weights were firm to $2 higher and heavy lambs were slightly cheaper.
Restockers from South Australia paid from $25-$60 for light lambs and $75-$108 for better conditioned 2 and 3 score store lines. Light weight and light trade 2-3 score lambs made $85-$115 and averaged close to 600c/kg. The medium 3 and 4 score trade weight lambs sold from $113-$139, ranging from 535-616c/kg, to average an estimated 565c/kg. Heavier trade 3 and 4 scores sold from $131-$152. Extra heavy lambs sold from $158-$184, mostly from 530-550c/kg.
The improved yarding of sheep contained good lines of crossbred and Merino ewes and wethers that sold to consistent competition, with one extra buyer on heavier weight mutton. Sheep prices were generally $5-$10 dearer at times, mostly for the light and heavy mutton, and Merino wethers.
Light 1-2 score sheep sold from $53-$80 and medium 2 and 3 scores made $73-$104, or from 318-422c/kg cwt. Merino mutton averaged around 360c/kg. Heavy crossbred 3 and 4 score sheep sold from $90-$112. Medium Merino wethers made $76-$106 and heavier drafts sold from $95-$132 to average 380c/kg. Rams of all breeds sold to increased competition for $40-$94.
Horsham’s best Merino lambs make $150
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5314 lambs, 2629 fewer than last week, and 792 sheep, 320 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average and most of the regular buyers group operated in the firm-slightly dearer market.
Supplies of good trade weight and heavy lambs were limited, with heavy lambs reaching $190, and the better trade weights selling from $132-$149 to average around 550c/kg. Quality heavy Merino lambs in near-full wool sold to $150 and the medium weights made $97-$130. Restocker activity was limited and they paid to $113.50 for lambs.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $70-$93. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $93-$123 and averaged around 565c/kg. Medium weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $120-$136. Heavier drafts made $132-$149, or 515-580c/kg to average around 555c/kg.
Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $150-$173, with the few pens of extra heavy lambs making $176-$190. Heavy Merino lambs sold from $130-$150, medium weights made $97-$120 and the light weights sold for $60-$97.
The sheep sold to keen demand, with heavy crossbreds making up to $10 more than last week. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $65-$70. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $71.50-$108, or 350-400c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 370c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $90-$120 and medium weight Merino wethers sold to $85. Heavy rams made to $92.
Ouyen lambs $2-$6 dearer
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents yarded 4917 lambs and 790 sheep.
Quality well-finished lambs were $2-$6 dearer and sold-$199. Mutton sheep sold $5-$8 dearer.
Crossbred export lambs sold from $140-$199, or 510-550c/kg, and trade weights made $118-$146, or 540-570c/kg. Store lambs sold from $79.60-$117, or 550-560c/kg. Light Merino lambs made $43.60-$105 and the heavy lines sold from $115- $138, or 490-520c/kg.
Light sheep sold from $65-$96.60, or 360-400c/kg, and heavy lines made $98.60-$120, or 350-375c/kg.
Mt Gambier lambs reach $205
In South Australia at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1354 lambs and 120 sheep.
The NLRS said a small field of trade and processor buyers attended, but not all were fully active on the mixed quality yarding.
Lamb prices were generally dearer, with light weights making $55-$110 and the light trade 2 and 3 score types selling from $105-$112. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $112-$130 at an average of 550c/kg cwt.
Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $132-$150, with the few extra heavy export weight lambs making $152-$205. This $205 pen was estimated at 36kg cwt and the first pen to break the $200 mark at Mt Gambier.
Hoggets ranged from $70-$112 and light weight ewes sold to $22. Medium weight ewes sold to $68 and heavy ewes made to $96. Rams sold to $18.
Katanning lamb prices ease on quality
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4875 lambs, 125 fewer than last week, and 4800 sheep, 2368 less.
Lamb prices eased due to quality, except for trade and heavy weights, which were dearer than last week. Light weight lambs sold from $59-$93, and Merino lambs made $51-$78. Trade weight lambs were up, selling from $100-$111, and heavy weight lambs sold from $114-$124. Lambs suitable for airfreight made $59-$88. Light store crossbred lambs sold to feeders from $35 up to $105 for the better quality lines. Light Merino store lambs sold from $34 up to $96 for the heavier better-framed types.
Young Merino red tag ewes sold for $35-$100 to restockers, depending on size and quality, in the mixed quality sheep yarding. Light ewes sold for $18-$38, boners with a fleece made $40-$70 and prime heavy score 3 mutton sold from $75-$100. Wether sold to processors for $55-$100 and feeder buyers paid $24-$106 depending on frame and quality. Very light ram lambs sold from $10 up to $88 for the better heavier better lambs. Older rams sold to restockers for $45, but others only made $5-$20 with processors.
Warwick’s heavier lambs dearer
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1950 lambs and hoggets, and 798 sheep.
The lamb and mutton markets were quoted as firm overall, with better heavier lambs dearer. The top-priced lambs weighing 63.5kg lwt made $167 for J. and J.R. Neal of ‘Taraview’, Tara.
Crossbred lambs weighing 51-55kg lwt sold from $129-$148, the 46-50lg lambs made $122-$134, 41-45kg lambs sold from $120-$136 and 35-40kg lines made $98-$123. Shorn crossbred hoggets 56.6kg lwt sold to $91.
Trade wethers with $3 skins sold-$78, or 330c/kg, and light lines with $5 skins made to $48, or 305c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes with $10 skins sold to $90, or 320c/kg, and light lines with $5 skins made to $55, or 295c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS.