SLAUGHTER lamb prices fell further in saleyards this week as dry conditions continued across most of the eastern states.
Quality lambs held firm, but secondary and plainer lambs in most categories, including restocking lines, were discounted.
Despite lamb yardings falling in most centres, processor interest in trade and heavy lambs was not as strong and especially in Victoria.
At the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the National Livestock Reporting Service said competition eased and some lamb buyers didn’t purchase their usual numbers amid reports many meatworks have good supplies around them.
NLRS eastern states indicators falling
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for most lamb categories fell, except for Merino lambs. The lamb ESDIs are restocker 524c/kg, down 6c; Merino 466c/kg, up 2c; light 495c/kg, down 5c; trade 510c/kg, down 4c; heavy 501c/kg, down 3c. The national trade lamb indicator closed 6 cents down on 508c/kg and the heavy indice finished 3 cents low at 500c/kg.
Over-the-hook lamb rates falling
In New South Wales, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb indicators as marginally cheaper this week, after softer saleyard prices last week. Mutton rates over all categories remained unchanged week-on-week.
NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 460-540cc/kg, down 4 cents; 20-24kg, 490-540c/kg, down 4c; 24-26kg, 500-520c/kg, down 4-7c; Merinos 16-22kg, 390-470c/kg, down 20c. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 190-280c/kg; 18-24kg, 240-300c/kg; 24kg+, 260-300c/kg.
In Victoria, the NLRS quoted light and trade weight lamb over-the-hook indicators as lifting slightly week-on-week, while heavy weight categories were firm. Mutton indicators were higher overall, with medium weights averaging 293c/kg cwt.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 530-540c/kg, up 3c; 18-22kg, 530-540c/kg, up 3c; 22-24kg, 520-550c/kg, no change; 25-26kg, 510-520c/kg, nc; 26kg+, 510c/kg, nc; Merinos 16-22kg, 460-550c/kg, nc. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 260-280c/kg, up 7c; 18-24kg, 280-300c/kg, up 5c; 24kg+, 230-300c/kg, up 6c.
In South Australia, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb rates as declining in all categories week-on-week, with trade and heavy weights down an average of 13c/kg cwt. There were some slight upward adjustments to medium and heavy weight mutton indicators.
SA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 500-550c/kg, down 20c; 18-24kg, 500-550c/kg, down 13c; 24-26kg, 500-510c/kg, down 13c; Merinos 16-22kg, 470c/kg, down 20c. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 190-300c/kg, no change; 18-24kg, 210-300c/kg, up 3c; 24kg+, 170-300c/kg, up 4c.
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, 500-530c/kg; 16-20kg, 500-520c/kg; 20-26kg, 500-510c/kg; 26kg+, 480-505c/kg. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 260-280c/kg; 14-24kg, 270-300c/kg; 24kg+, 260-270c/kg.
Western Australia’s OTH rates were not available when this report was published.
Dubbo’s trade lambs $2-$6 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 28,395 lambs, 1045 more than last week, and 12,425 sheep, 1575 fewer.
The NLRS said the continuing dry conditions found just over 1000 extra lambs. Some excellent heavy weight lambs were yarded, along with a reasonable selection of trade weights. There were also good numbers of light weight Merino lambs and hoggets all being sold due to the dry conditions.
Light weight lambs sold to processors were $8 cheaper, with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $57-$98. Trade lambs were $2-$6 cheaper, with the 18-23kg 3 scores making $85-$123 to average 485c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs up to 26kg cwt were $3-$4 cheaper and those over 26kg sold firm. Over 22kg 4 score lambs sold from $112-$180. Merino lambs were $7 cheaper, with the trade weights selling from $85-$116 and the heavier weights making to $145.
Restocker lambs were $1-$3 cheaper, with the crossbreds selling from $53-$116. Crossbred hoggets sold to $108 and Merino hoggets mad to $118.
Most grades were represented in a mixed yarding of mutton. The plainer conditioned light weight sheep sold firm, while the better medium and heavy weights were $4-$6 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $35-$68. The better 3 and 4 score Merinos sold from $54-$116 and the crossbreds made to $110. Merino wethers sold to $115.
Tamworth’s well-finished heavy lambs firm
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 4250 lambs, and 2070 sheep, 155 more than last week.
The NLRS said the quality and condition of the lambs was very mixed. There was a good number of well-finished heavy lambs and restockers were well catered for, but a limited supply of well-finished trade weights. The usual processor and trade buyers attended and there was increased restocker competition, both local and from outside the region.
Market trends varied. There was weaker demand for the plainer quality and unfinished trade lambs, resulting in cheaper trends. Prices changed for well-finished trade weights around quality. Restocking lambs sold $4-$8 cheaper despite increased restocker activity. Well-finished heavy lambs prices changed little.
A large percentage of the grown sheep were light weights and plainer in condition. There were limited supplies of well-finished medium and heavy weights. Market trends were also cheaper, with the good quality well-finished sheep least affected.
Forbes trade and heavy lambs $2-$3 cheaper
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 24,850 lambs, 6385 fewer than last week, and 5650 sheep, 1597 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality reduced slightly from the previous sale, with a higher percentage of plainer drier lambs. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a firm to easier market.
Light lambs eased $3 to $94-$104. Trade weights were firm to $2 cheaper at $102-$126. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were firm to $3 easier, with heavies selling from $124-$136 and extra heavy weights making $136-$176. Carcase prices mostly ranged from 485-520c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was very mixed. Prices slipped, with Merino ewes selling from $72-$109. Crossbreds made $72-$123. Dorper ewes sold from $66-$94. Merino wethers made $75-$103.
Bendigo’s slaughter lambs $2-$4 easier
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 14,180 lambs, 2535 fewer than last week, and 5950 sheep, 1090 more.
The NLRS said there were fewer heavy export lambs and the quality and condition of the domestic drafts was similar to last week. Competition eased and some lamb buyers didn’t purchase their usual numbers amid reports many meatworks have good supplies around them.
The market fluctuated; opening cheaper before improving. This resulted in mixed price trends, with the best trade weight lambs often similar to last week, but the general run of slaughter lambs sold $2-$4 easier. The limited selection of extra heavy export lambs was discounted, reaching a top of $163. Competition for extra heavy lambs over 30kg cwt remained easier and there was only a handful of sales over $160.
The main runs of heavy trade lambs, 24-26kg cwt, sold from $125-$140 to average around 480-490c/kg. Demand was strongest for 20-24kg domestic lambs, with most making $106-$125, or around 500c/kg cwt across the sale. Although select pens still commanded up to 540c/kg.
Bidding for light weight lambs was not as strong from either processors or restockers and they sold to easier trends. The plainest and smallest store lambs recorded the biggest price corrections due to the absence of some regular store buyers that usually support this end of the market. Merino lambs sold according to quality and fat cover and averaged lower overall.
The sheep sale was mostly firm to dearer for the main lines of crossbreds and Merinos. One export company which hasn’t operated on mutton for some time rejoined the market on leaner grades of trade weight Merino ewes, helping drive a $3 lift to an average of 335c/kg cwt for pens in the 18-24kg range. Heavy Merino wethers topped the sale at $118 and extra heavy crossbred sheep sold from $90-$106.
Ballarat’s best trade lambs $2-$3 cheaper
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 22,674 lambs, 2337 fewer than last week, and 9127 sheep, 229 less.
The NLRS said another average to good quality lamb yarding was offered to the usual buyers.
The best extra heavy and heavy export lambs presented very well and made to $174, although interest was not as strong and prices were generally $5-$10 easier. Eight pens of lambs made over $160. The better covered domestic lambs sold mostly from $122-$137 and averaged around 520c/kg cwt to be $2-$3 down on last week. There were good numbers of lighter lambs suiting restocker, feeder and processor orders that sold for $80.20-$120. The lighter lots made $53-$75 to be mostly around last week’s levels. Light weight 2 score lambs sold to $68.50. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $80-$114 and averaged around 530c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs made $107-$124. The heavier trade drafts sold from $122-$137, or 480-570c/kg to average around 520c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $131-$145 and averaged around 510c/kg. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $160-$174.
Sheep quality was good, with several pens of near-full wool Merino ewes and wethers. The heavy Merino wethers made to $126. There was more competition this week, with one major exporter again making purchases. Sheep generally sold $2-$6 dearer and more in places. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $42-$77. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $56-$93, or 250-350c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 320c/kg cwt. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $71-$102. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $82-$126 and averaged around 330c/kg. The medium weight Merino wethers sold from $70-$101. Rams made to $80.
Dublin’s heavy lambs ease $3, prime light trades lift $3
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9000 lambs, 4626 fewer than last week, and 2000 sheep, 1852 less.
The NLRS said the very mixed quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to generally easing competition. Several trade buyers and one processor didn’t participate and prices fluctuated throughout. Restockers and feeders were more prominent than in recent weeks and bid strongly on suitable light weights.
Light weight crossbreds sold to feeders for $48-$84 and trade weight lambs bought to feed on made $93-$110. Light weight 3 score crossbreds sold to trade buyers lifted very marginally to $98-$110 and averaged 465c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 4 scores were pursued strongly, lifting $3 to $110-$119, averaging 509c/kg. Heavy trade weights remained unchanged at $111-$135, averaging 499c/kg. Heavy weights eased $3 to $130-$153, or 478-505c/kg. Extreme heavy weights sold from $160-$165.
Merino lambs were plentiful and restockers purchased light weights for $38-$78. Light weight Merino lambs sold to processors eased $7 to $90-$100 and averaged 423c/kg. Trade weights lifted by up to $5 to $100-$128, or 459-474c/kg. Heavy weights eased $3-$8 to $120-$138, or 459-466c/kg.
The generally light weight sheep sold to stronger competition from the usual processor buyers. The 2 score Merino ewes lifted $12 to $71-$80 and averaged 248c/kg. Heavy weight 3 score ewes lifted $14 to $70-$108 to average 273c/kg. The few wethers yarded sold from $90-$120. Demand for heavy weight rams lifted significantly and they sold from $80-$140.
Naracoorte’s best trade lambs sell firm
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2684 lambs, 999 more than last week, and 1141 sheep, 23 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality and type was very mixed and these sold to a larger field of trade and processor buyers, with more restocker orders also operating. There were a large number of shorn store lambs and there was strong competition on these.
The offering received varying amounts of competition, with not all of the buyers fully active across the yarding. This led to the lamb price holding firm.
Light weight lambs ranged from $78-$100, with light weight Merino lambs ranging from $61-$95. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold-$106. Restockers provided strong competition on suitable lines as they purchased from $61-$109. Trade weight 3 score lambs were firm in price as they ranged from $108-$125 and averaged 520c/kg. Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $114-$130. Extra heavy export weight types sold to $153.
It was a mixed offering of sheep and prices eased. Light weight ewes sold from $25-$50 and medium weight types made $64-$84, averaging 320c/kg. Heavy ewes fell by up to $11 and made $81-$103. Wethers sold to $100 and rams to $75.
Muchea numbers fall after rain
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,450 lambs, 350 fewer than last week, and 4455 sheep, 765 less.
The NLRS said wide spread rain across the south west led to numbers easing slightly, with light store lambs and secondary trade weight lambs dominating the yarding. Lamb quality continued to be mixed throughout the categories. There was a moderate number of prime trade lambs, but most secondary or store drafts, with numerous very light Merino drafts.
All sectors of the market were active with competition for restocker lamb drafts increasing and extra mutton buyers lifting ewe prices. Trade lambs and wethers remained close-last week’s levels. Prices moved higher as the sale progressed with a late push for numbers evident. Very light store lambs, mostly Merinos, sold between $13 and $65-be mostly dearer by close-$5. Light lambs suitable for air freight processors or feed sold between $55 and $96 and were also up $5 or more. Demand for trade weight lambs was restricted with solid direct-processor deliveries. Prime trade lambs made $90-$110 and averaged 460c/kg . Secondary drafts were purchased by feeders and averaged close-450c/kg . Heavy lambs were limited in number with a top price of $110 paid.
The ewes included a reasonable quantity of heavy weights along with trade mutton and light conditioned drafts. Ewe mutton competition increased with more buyers operating. Light weight ewes averaged close to $48.50 to be almost firm. Medium weight processor mutton was firm to $3 dearer at $52-$75, or 284c/kg. Better conditioned and heavy weight ewes also lifted $3-$5 to $62-$85. Dearer ewes had skin values up to $15.
Wether prices remained similar with limited live export orders. Export wethers made $80-$92 and the feeders and restockers paid $70-$104 for suitable wethers. Dearer drafts had skin values of more than $12. Light weight wether drafts, including some wether lambs, sold to restockers for $45-$75, with this segment of the market lifting on last week. Rams sold to export feeders made $25-$70, with ram lambs reaching a top of $90. Old rams sold for $10-$35 to processors.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.