Saleyard lamb prices drop, but stores hold firm in online sales

Sheep Central, March 7, 2016
These 350 June-July drop late November shorn White Suffolk cross lambs, 19.7kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $108 at Euroa, Victoria, on AuctionsPLus last week.

These 350 June-July drop late November shorn White Suffolk cross lambs, 19.7kg cwt and mostly score 2, sold for $108 at Euroa, Victoria, on AuctionsPLus last week.

LAMB prices fell further in saleyards late last week as seasonal quality continued to decline, while store lamb rates held steady online.

At the Cowra and Griffith saleyards on Friday, trade lamb prices fell $5-$8, light lamb rates slipped up to $8 and heavy lines were $6-$8 cheaper.

Although some well-finished lambs were offered, more drier lambs affected by the continued dry seasonal conditions are being yarded in saleyards.

The National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicator results for the week show lamb carcase rates across the categories fell 17-24c/kg last week.

After Friday’s saleyard sales, the ESDIs for lamb, their daily and weekly changes were: restocker 530c/kg, down 3 cents, down 18c; Merino 475c/kg, down 1c, down 17c; light 506c/kg, down 2c, down 24c; trade 512c/kg, down 4c, down 18c; heavy 506c/kg, down 3c, down 24c.

The ESDI and national indicator for mutton both closed down 1 cent to 298c/kg on Friday.

Griffith lambs fall $5-$8

In New South Wales at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 6400 lambs, 800 fewer than last week, and 2300 sheep, 700 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed, with a higher percentage of lambs showing the effects of the continuing dry weather. Some well-finished lambs were penned. Not all the usual buyers were present or competed in the cheaper market.

Light lambs slipped $8 to $88-$100. Trade weights were $5 easier at $100-$124. Heavy and extra heavy lambs slipped $6-$8. Heavy lambs sold from $123-$138 and extra heavies made $138-$171. Carcase prices ranged mostly from 454-510c/kg.

Sheep quality was very mixed. Prices declined, with Merino ewes selling from $71-$107. Crossbreds sold from $73-$101 and Dorper ewes from $72-$94.

Cowra’s medium and heavy trade lambs $6-$8 cheaper

At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5980 lambs, 2170 fewer than last week, and 640 sheep, 460 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality varied, with some well-finished heavy weights, but more drier lambs. Mostly heavy lambs were penned, with limited numbers of trade weights and stores. All the usual buyers operated, but competition was weaker, resulting in an easing of the market.

Light lambs to the processors averaged $85, while stores mostly sold from $60-$107. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were $6-$8 cheaper at mostly 480-490c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weights sold from $115-$118. Heavy weight lambs were $3-$4 cheaper, with the odd sale around $10 lower at mostly 470-490c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $160-$170.

Sheep quality was very mixed. Medium Merino ewes fell $8 to average $68 or 250c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes averaged $92.80 or 280c/kg.

Merino ewes dominate online offerings

AuctionsPlus sheep and lamb offerings fell 6881 to 67,036 head last week as above-average temperatures continued across the eastern states. Ewes dominated listings, accounting for nearly 70pc of the offering.

Last week, stock were on the move with a line of Dorper wether lambs making the 1350km journey from Augathella, Queensland down to Rochester, Victoria, and Merino wether lambs getting trucked the same distance from Warren, New South Wales, to Kingscote, South Australia.

Demand was strong for Merino ewes with supply matching demand. Merino ewes accounted for more than half of the ewes offered last week. Strong buyer interest increased prices an average of $14 in all age categories. Young ewes made from $110-$217 and older ewes averaged $120.

Proven Merino breeders sold from $58 to $208 on AuctionsPlus last week. The top price was paid for a line of 165 34-35 month-old mid-August shorn Gumhill blood Merino ewes, 69.7kg lwt and mostly score 3 and 4, at Keith in South Australia, that scanned in lamb 125 percent in lamb to Poll Dorset rams. A second line of ewes the same age sold for $207. A line of 22-23 month-old Merino ewes from the same vendor was the signature line this week, making $217. These ewes weighed 65.9kg lwt, were mostly score 3 and 4, and scanned in lamb 126pc to the Poll Dorset. Another 298 of the young ewes sold for $216, the five year-olds sold for $176 and the four year-olds made $185.

The Merino wether offering continued to be dominated by lambs which sold from $50-$93.50 to average $74. The top price was reached twice; including at Wombelano in Victoria, with 685 July-August crop mid-December shorn MerinoTech blood lambs weighing 13.8kg cwt and mostly score 2. The NSW lambs were a line of 800 August-September drop wethers, 19.1kg and mostly score 2.

Older Merino wethers made to $86.50 with 440 mid-July shorn Tallawong blood 2.5-3.5 year-olds at Murrumbateman, NSW, which weighed 19.5kg cwt and were mostly score 2.

Store lamb prices remained steady online last week. Lambs weighing under 25kg lwt sold from $68.50-$86.50 to average $75.50 or 321c/kg (including skin value), the 30-33kg lambs made $80-$98.50 to average $90 or 282c/kg, and the 34-36kg lines ranged from $83-$97 to average $91 or 252c/kg. The 38-40kg lwt lambs made $97.50-$107 to average $103 or 258c/kg and heavier lambs over 40kg lwt sold from $97.50-$108.50 to average $105 or 246c/kg. The top store lamb price was paid for 600 unshorn August-September drop Poll Dorset cross lambs, 18.2kg cwt and mostly score 2 and 3, at Cassilis, NSW.

Prices remained strong for a smaller offering of first cross ewes on AuctionsPlus last week. Ewe lambs made $125-$182, with the top price being paid for 300 well-grown unjoined 11 month-old early November shorn ewe lambs, 55.5kg lwt and mostly score 2 and 3, at Mendooran, NSW.

First cross ewe hoggets averaged $182, while older ewes made from $81 up to $190 for 345 1.5-1.9 year-old late-February shorn ewes, 71kg lwt and mostly score 5, and scanned in lamb 118pc, at Trundle, NSW. A line of 182 15-16 month-old late-July shorn first cross ewe hoggets, 67kg lwt and mostly score 3, and joined to the Poll Dorset at Manildra, NSW, sold for $195.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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