SALEYARD lamb prices fell further mid-week as processors with adequate direct supplies were able to be selective despite smaller yardings.
Prices for domestic and heavy lambs were only quoted as firming for some better grain or lucerne-finished lines and generally lower at all centres across Victoria and New South Wales.
Despite the forced sell off of lambs in many areas due to continuing dry conditions, and especially in New South Wales, with the lack of quality trade lambs available, domestic processors are pushing harder into heavier weights.
Mutton prices were firm to dearer at most centres, except in Tasmania, with heavy crossbred ewes lifting $18 to average 330c/kg at Wagga in New South Wales and very light sheep rates rising by up to $10-$14 at Hamilton in Victoria. Mutton prices rose $5-$10 at Katanning in Western Australia.
Landmark Wagga livestock manager Peter Cabot said hook and saleyard rates for lambs had come back in the past three weeks, with most lambs now making under 500c/kg cwt.
“There are a lot of lambs getting sold – it is pretty bloody dry through the Riverina, very ordinary.
“It is just the season,” he said.
JM Ellis and Co auctioneer Robert Pike said although Hamilton was not yarding many lambs, big numbers were coming onto the market in New South Wales, especially last week at Wagga, where more than 41,000 lambs were yarded.
“A lot of our lambs were sold earlier because our green crops haven’t been anything special – it’s been hand-to-mouth stuff really.”
He said many of the area’s store lambs were sold to northern restockers in November-December last year and these were now hitting the market.
“Our good quality lambs are few and far between; each agent has a few pens and they drop away to fairly ordinary ones very quickly.”
NLRS lamb indicators lower, mutton up
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted all Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb as lower: restocker 516c/kg, down 7 cents; Merino 464c/kg, down 1c; light 486c/kg, down 5c; trade 503c/kg, down 2c; heavy 496c/kg, down 3c. The national trade lamb indicator was 2 cents down to 502c/kg and the heavy indice lost 4 cents to 495c/kg.
The ESDI and national indicators for mutton were down 5 cents to 313c/kg.
Carcoar’s trade lambs $2-$5 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar, the agents yarded 12,700 lambs, 450 more than last week, and 4200 sheep, 1200 less.
The NLRS said the mixed yarding included a few pens of heavy weight lambs and a fair selection of trade weights. Lambs suitable for the restockers and fatteners were well-supplied.
Limited numbers of light weight lambs sold to a processor were $6 cheaper, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores making $60-$81. Trade lambs were $2-$5 cheaper, with the 18-23kg 3 scores selling from $83-$127 to average 475-500c/kg cwt. The heavier weight lambs up to 24kg were $1-$2 cheaper and those over 24kg sold firm. Over 22kg 4 scores sold from $120-$136. There were no extra heavy weight lambs penned. The store buyers were very active on suitable lines, though most of the restocker lambs were $6 cheaper at $55-$121. Hoggets sold to $106.
The mostly plain quality yarding of mutton had only odd pens of properly finished sheep. Light weight sheep sold firm and the few better conditioned lines were $2-$5 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $30-$66. The better 3 and 4 score Merinos made $62-$95 and crossbred sold for $93. The restockers paid to $102 for woolly Merino ewes. Merino wethers sold to $110.
Wagga trade lamb prices ease $3
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 34,000 lambs, 7150 fewer than last week, and 10,000 sheep, 1200 less.
The NLRS said the dry seasonal conditions impacted on the condition of lighter weight categories. The quality of the heavy lamb offering was very good with most lambs either supplementary fed or finished on lucerne. Not all buyers operated fully, with major domestic processors selective when making a purchase.
There were fewer store orders, with most restocker buyers coming from the Riverina. Grain fed trade lambs attracted premium prices as buyers opted to bid on high yielding pens.
Prices for the limited supplies of finished trade lambs firmed as the market progressed, but generally eased $3. The better finished 22-24kg lambs sold from $115-$136, averaging 494c/kg.
Merino trade lambs were keenly sought, with good numbers in full wool. Merino trade lambs sold from $102-$134. Lighter weight lambs suitable to restock or feed sold to fewer buyers. The best price for lambs to be fed on was $116.40, with most making $69-$107.
Despite good numbers of excellent quality grain fed heavy and extra heavy lambs, prices were generally $3-$4 cheaper. Heavy lambs on many occasions fluctuated widely, hitting a low of $125 before gaining some momentum to average 494c/kg. Extra heavy lambs sold to weaker demand, with one processor dominating the market on lambs weighing above 30kg. Sales ranged from $131-$180, to average 470c/kg.
The mixed quality offering of mutton included all weights and grades represented. Heavy Merino ewes in full wool attracted a large field of buyers, which pushed prices considerably higher. Merino ewes sold to $129.20 with other sales ranging from $90-$120, averaging 333c/kg. Heavy crossbred ewes lifted $18 to average 330c/kg.
Heavy crossbred ewes scanned in lamb sold to strong restocker competition, making up to $155. Trade sheep sold to solid demand, selling at $65-$98 to average 340c/kg. Plain light weight ewes were keenly sought making from $31-$60.
Hamilton’s heavy lambs fall $2-$3
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7206 lambs, 2559 fewer than last week, and 6169 sheep, 771 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was poor to good. The many medium trade weight 2 and 3 score lambs varied from ideally covered domestic market lines to drafts not quite finished. Prices overall were easier for lambs, with the heavy weights $2-$3 cheaper, medium trade $1-$2 lower and the light trade lambs unchanged. The lighter 1 and 2 score store lambs sold mostly firm, but some isolated sales were up to $10 cheaper. The usual buyers attended, but not all were active and there was less competition throughout the sale.
Fewer South Australian restockers attended. Some Naracoorte restockers competed with local agents and paid $35-$69 for very light lambs and $64-$97 for 2 score better conditioned stores. The light weight 2 score lambs sold to processors made $69-$98 and averaged close to 550c/kg. Light trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $97-$110 and medium trade 3 score lambs made from $101-$125, ranging from 490-557c/kg to average an estimated 525c/kg. Heavier trade weight 3 and 4 score drafts sold from $117-$135 and the few pens of 25kg plus lambs made $138-$144, to average 500c/kg.
The mixed penning of sheep attracted more spirited competition and prices for heavy to medium sheep were $4-$8 higher. Light weights remained firm and the very light sheep lifted by up to $10-$14. Light 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $34-$60 and medium weight 2 and 3 scores made $60-$88, averaging close to 330c/kg for Merino mutton. Heavy 3-4 score sheep made from $74-$110, to average around 290c/kg. The best Merino wethers made $80-$112, to average close to 340c/kg. Local restockers were also busy during the sheep market, buying crossbred ewes from $94-$110 and Merino wethers for $86.
Horsham’s heavy lamb fall $5-$8
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5399 lambs, 5071 fewer than last week, and 1192 sheep, 98 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good. The usual buyers operated in a cheaper market.
Heavy lambs sold to $155, $5-$8 down on last week. The better covered domestic lambs sold from $125-$135-be back around $2-$3. Heavier Merino lambs presenting in good condition sold from $107-$121.50 and the lighter weights sold from $64-$92. Restockers paid from $75-$107 for lambs but activity was limited.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $77-$88. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $84-$115 and averaged around 530c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $110-$124 and the heavier weights made $125-$135, or from 470-550c/kg cwt and mostly 515-520c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $136-$155, or 475-530c/kg, with domestic orders purchasing in this grade. Heavy hoggets sold from $85-$95.
The quality of the sheep yarding was average. Merino sheep generally sold a few dollars up on last week and heavy crossbred sheep were a few dollars easier. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $28-$50. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $64-$100 and ranged from 270-340c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 310c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $64-$100.50. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $102.50 and heavy Merino ewes in near full wool made $106.50.
Katanning lamb prices ease
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5607 lambs, 2250 fewer than last week, and 5000 sheep, 1500 less.
The NLRS said lamb prices eased. Light weight lambs sold from $73-$88 and trade weights made from $85-$102. Heavyweight lambs sold for $106.
Light store crossbred lambs sold to restockers and feeders made from $19 and the almost finished or bigger frame lambs sold to $106. Merino store lambs sold from $50 for the plainer lambs up to $88 for better quality drafts.
Sheep prices lifted $5-$10. Good quality young Merino ewes sold to restockers for $41-$78. Lighter lines sold from $57-$78. Better 3 score sheep with a fleece made $57-$97. Light plain wethers sold to restockers and feeders for $52 and quality lines made up to $123. Wethers sold to processors for $59-$90. Young rams sold from $33-$79 to restockers, and processors paid $35-$55 for young rams. Older rams only made $5-$10.
Warwick sheep and lamb market firm
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1341 lambs and hoggets, and 606 sheep.
In a similar yarding of sheep and lambs, the market was quoted as firm for all descriptions. The to-priced lambs made $131 for N.C. and S. Henman of ‘Great Oaks’, Nobby.
Crossbred lambs 51-55kg lwt sold from $112-$126.50, 46-50kg lambs made $116-$128, 41-45kg lambs sold for $118-$131 and the 35-40kg lines made $84-$110.50.
Shorn crossbred hoggets 70kg lwt sold to $93. Trade wethers with $9 skins sold to $79 or 310c/kg cwt and light wethers with $6 skins made $52 or 290c/kg.
Heavy crossbred ewes with $2 skins sold to $93 or 310c/kg cwt and light ewes with $3 skins made to $40 or 220c/kg.
Northern Tasmanian lamb prices firm
At the northern Tasmanian saleyards at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1900 lambs, 300 fewer than last week, and 1120 sheep, 630 less.
The NLRS said there were more heavy lambs available. Most lamb prices remained similar, while mutton averages were $5-$10 cheaper than last week’s dearer sale. Restockers bought most of the lambs under 18kg cwt. Very light lambs made $40-$59.50, light weights sold from $80-$87 and trade weights returned $75-$100. Exporters bought some light lambs for $60-$85, while most trade lambs made $103-$117, heavy weights sold from $115-$124 and extra heavy lambs made $123-$135. There were more heavy ewes included in the mutton yard, with fewer light sheep. Very light sheep made $25-$40, light weights made $50-$62, medium weights sold from $55-$64 and heavy ewes returned $59-$81.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.