Domestic Lamb

Saleyard lamb and mutton prices hold firm for quality

Terry Sim, September 12, 2014
Ouyen lambs Wally Towk, Michael Fernandez LMK, $140.60

Walpeup producer Wally Towk, left, with Landmark agent Michael Fernandez with Mr Towk’s lambs that sold for $140.60 at Ouyen on Thursday.

Lamb and mutton prices generally held firm across Australia’s saleyards mid-week, with restockers continuing to compete strongly on lighter lambs.

Carcase weight prices edged over 500c/kg at some markets as buyers competed for the best quality medium and heavy trade lambs showing bloom and with good skins, notably at Wagga, Horsham and Ouyen.

MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service said the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator finished on Thursday at 492c/kg, up on cent on Wednesday and the heavy lamb indicator closed at 483c/kg, up also up one cent. The mutton indicator ended on 338c/kg, up two cents.

Eastern states lamb supply up 20pc

Eastern states lamb supply increased to 143,035 head for the week to Thursday, up 20 percent on the previous week. The rise was mostly attributed to higher turnoff in NSW and Victoria, as young lambs become more apparent and prices improve, NLRS said.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s markets the Eastern States Restocker Lamb Indicator was 88 cents higher than on the same day last week, Merino lambs had lifted 25 cents to 416c/kg, while light lambs gained 14 cents to 452c/kg cwt. The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator increased 21 cents over the week, while heavy lambs improved 19 cents.

Eastern states mutton supply was relatively stable week-on-week, settling around 56,500 head. The NLRS said stronger demand for sheep in NSW this week helped spur the mutton indicator forward 13 cents.

Heavy trade weight lambs $2-$5 dearer at CTLX

In NSW at Carcoar’s Central Tabelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday, agents yarded 4350 lambs, 1820 more than last week, and 1750 sheep, 365 more.

The NLRS said the fair quality yarding had a good selection of heavy weight new season lambs and a reasonable selection of trade weights. Old lambs were in limited supply.

The lighter trade weight new season lambs were $9 cheaper while the heavier trade weights were firm. The 18-22kg cwt 3 scores sold from $76-$121. Heavy weight new season lambs were $2-$5 dearer with the over 22kg cwt 4 scores selling from $112-$140 or around 499c/kg cwt.

Old lambs sold at firm prices with the over 18kg cwt old lambs making $75-$140. Lightweight lambs were firm with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $56-$78.

The fair quality yarding of mutton had good numbers of young Merino ewes and wethers in store condition and only limited numbers of sheep to suit processors. Lightweight sheep to the processors were $2 dearer while the heavier weight sheep were $2-$5 cheaper. The 2 score ewes to the processors sold from $49-$70 while the better 3 and 4 scores sold from $72-$86 for Merinos and to $100 for crossbreds.

The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers to slaughter sold from $70-$100. Restockers bought good numbers of young longer wool Merino ewes for $30-$79 and wethers sold for $67.

New season lambs sell to $104 at Goulburn

At Goulburn on Wednesday, agents yarded 800 lambs, no change, and 900 sheep, 500 more.

The NLRS said the plain yarding included some young lambs and a mixed selection of older drafts in most weight categories. With a couple of regular buyers absent, the trend was cheaper although accurate comparisons were difficult on the small numbers. The few young lambs made from $80-$104, to average around 520c/kg cwt. Light old lambs weighing 16-18kg, including a run of Merinos, made $68-$86, while a secondary run of trade weights ranged from $80-$90. A few heavy weights made $93-$125 for most of the old slaughter lambs, to average 425c/kg-460c/kg cwt.

The sheep were mostly very light 1 and 2 score ewes, and prices tended a little cheaper due to quality and condition. Very light 1 score ewes made $16-$37, with light 2 scores from $38-$68. Medium and heavy sheep ranged from $40-$94 for most of the mutton, to average 280c/kg-350c/kg cwt.

Buyers bid up on big quality yarding at Wagga

At Wagga on Thursday, agents yarded 36,850 lambs, 13,300 more, and 13,550 sheep, 1950 more.

The NLRS said new season lambs numbers lifted by 25 percent to about 21,050. Old lamb numbers declined and quality was quite good, with a good portion of the offering shorter skinned lambs showing bloom. All domestic and export buyers attended and most companies operated. There was increased interest from restockers across the young lighter weight lamb category, with buyers from Griffith and the local area.

New season heavy trade lambs regularly made from $119-$130, with bidding strongest for lambs in full bloom. Light and medium weight trade lambs made from $104-$121 to average 510c/kg cwt, with buyers operating on skin values of $7-$9. New season lambs to turnout made $60-$84.20. More light 2 score lambs suitable for restockers and processors were yarded and lambs to slaughter sold from $62.20-$108. The few pens of new season Merino lambs made $65-$110, with several buyers eager acquire the lighter weights.

Old trade lamb quality improved and prices were generally $3-$5 dearer for trade weights. The better finished 21-24kg cwt lambs sold from $90-$120, with heavy trade lambs averaging 455c/kg cwt. The mixed selection of heavy and extra heavy lambs sold to a small group of buyers. The 24-26kg cwt lambs sold up to $5 dollars dearer, while extra heavy lambs sold from $128-$160, averaging 476c/kg cwt.

More medium weight ewes and wethers were offered, with many shorn. Merino ewe mutton sold to steady demand, with prices generally unchanged to $3 dearer. Heavy crossbred ewes were not as keenly contested and prices eased by $5, with heavy grades averaging 298c/kg cwt. Merino wethers were in shorter supply and quality was not the standard of the previous sale, with most categories carrying less condition and skin value, resulting in a cheaper trend of $16 to average 349c/kg cwt.

Young lambs $5-$8 dearer at Horsham

In Victoria at Horsham on Wednesday, agents yarded 4856 lambs, 32 fewer, and 5196 sheep, 1253 more.

The NLRS said quality was generally good, with most regular buyers operating keenly on the 3800 young lambs. Young lambs sold generally $5-$8 dearer with the heavier end selling to $143 at around 500c/kg cwt. Old lambs sold mostly unchanged with the heavier export weights sold from $113-$122. Restockers paid from $66-$75 for young lambs and from $87-$97 for Merino wethers in a good skin.

New season light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $70-$88. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $82-$105 and the heavier drafts from $99-$115. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $109-$135 and ranged from 490c/kg-550c/kg cwt to average around 520c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $134- $143 to average around 500c/kg cwt. Heavy hoggets sold from $72-$98.

The sheep offering included mostly recently shorn very light and Merino’s and heavy crossbreds. They generally sold $2-$4 better for the light and medium weights with most others mostly firm. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $40-$70 with very light 1 scores making $32-$48. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $62-$88 or around 330c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $68-$92 with the heavy Merino wethers making $80-$100 and medium weights from $70-$78 at around 310c/kg cwt. Rams of all weights sold from $15-$46.

Lambs $5-$10 dearer at Hamilton

At Hamilton on Wednesday, agents yarded 1399 mostly old lambs, 65 fewer, and 737 mixed quality sheep, 470 less.

The NLRS said demand from the current small field of buyers was stronger with most lambs $5-$10 dearer and sheep mainly unchanged to slightly higher.

The light weight 2 score lambs sold from $54-$65, while light trade weight 2 and 3 scores made $64-$76. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $77-$100, to average 410c/kg cwt. The heavy weight lambs sold from $90-$102 or around 390c/kg cwt.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep made $30-$53, with a pen of wethers topping at $63. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $61-$75 and the heavy to extra heavy 3 and 4 score lines made $76-$98. A run of 2 to 4 score sheep averaged an estimated 290c/kg cwt. Rams maintained their prices at $20-$31.

Fresher Ouyen lambs $6 dearer

Ouyen lambs BR&C agent Rory Singleton, Burns lambs $127.20

BR&C agent Rory Singleton, with lambs from Kayne Burns, Tempy, that sold for $127.20 at Ouyen on Thursday.

At Ouyen on Thursday, agents yarded 9974 lambs and 1812 mutton, with the Ouyen Livestock Exchange quoting lamb prices overall $6 firmer on the fresher lines.

The quality offering of new season lambs reached to a top price of $142 for 96 heavier export weights from L. and C. Dunstan from Underbool. The trade weight lambs made $104-$131 or 480c/kg-520c/kg cwt. Sucker lamb price ranges were: export weight $117-$142 or 480c/kg–500c/kg; trade weights $104–$131 or 470c/kg-520c/kg, and the store and light lambs made from $78.60-$106. Merino lambs made from $66-$96 or 400c/kg-420c/kg.

Mutton prices were firm to $5 dearer for the lighter weights, which sold from $40-$82. Heavy weight sheep sold firm to $10, from $72-$110 or 270c/kg-350c/kg.

Mutton dearer and lambs firm at Katanning

In WA at Katanning on Wednesday, agents yarded 2500 lambs, 3627 fewer, and 5800 sheep, 1320 less.

The NLRS said the smaller yarding was possibly due to wet road conditions. Very few prime trade lambs and only moderate numbers of light trade and store lambs were available. The mutton yarding included reasonable numbers of heavy ewes but was mostly lighter weight lines. Wether, hogget and ram numbers and quality were also limited. All buyers were present but one lamb processor did not operate in a market that was relatively firm for lambs but trended higher for ewe mutton.

With very limited numbers of trade lambs available and quality very plain prices appeared to ease slightly. Light weight young trade lambs over 18kg cwt made $87-$95 or about 461c/kg cwt. Light and air freight young lambs 13-17kg cwt made $64-$88 with the Merino drafts at $75.

The old season lambs were of plain quality with most in store condition. Trade weight old seasons lambs, mostly Merinos, sold from $82-$103. Lighter weight old seasons lambs of air freight weight, 13kg-18kg cwt, made $60-$85. Store drafts returning to the paddock or feed made $40-$65.

Ewe mutton prices were generally firm with a higher trend indicated by the gallery. Heavy 3 and 4 score ewes made $81-$99.50 to be $4 dearer. Prime 3 score ewe mutton was dearer, averaging $79. Most light conditioned ewes made $50-$70, with very light drafts from $35-$57. Restockers purchased solid numbers of Merino ewe hoggets at $45-$83 and mature drafts made $59-$80.

Wether prices remained very similar with heavy wethers making $68-$92, with processors paying to a top of $92 for very heavy drafts and select live export sales at $75-$88. Store wethers to feeders and restockers made $53-$85.50, marginally dearer.

Ram prices lifted marginally with ram lambs selling up to $70.50 and young drafts to live export and export feeders making $35-$65. Old rams to processors made $15-$35.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, Ouyen Livestock Exchange.

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