SALEYARD lamb prices firmed further early this week and over-the-hook rates held as more new season lambs were offered.
The lamb offering rose in New South Wales over Monday and Tuesday, but continued to fall in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
Trade lamb prices lifted $5-$6 in most eastern states saleyards, except Naracoorte, helped by better quality new season drafts and reflecting the continued strength of domestic demand. Heavy lamb rates generally held firm, except at Naracoorte. Restocker lamb enquiry was strong, especially on lighter new season drafts.
In New South Wales, light new season lambs up to 18kg cwt with skins value at up to $9 made from $87-$133, or 538-711c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade weights with $1-$10 skins, sold from $125-$166, or 595-732c/kg. Heavier trade weight lambs, 22.1-24kg with $1-$10 skins, made from $148-$169, or 626-691c/kg.
In Victoria at Ballarat, the light new season lambs up to 18kg cwt, with $5 skins, sold from $106.50-$109, or 612-634c/kg. The 18.1-22kg trade weights with $5-$7 skins sold from $120-$172, or 605-692c/kg. The young 22.1-24kg trade weights with $4-$6 skins made $154-$164, or 642-702c/kg. Heavier 24.1-26kg new season lambs at Bendigo with $7 skins made $177.50 or 682c/kg.
In South Australia, light new season lambs up to 18kg cwt, with skins valued at up to $4, made $72-$114, or 583-680c/kg. The light trade lines with $2-$5 skins sold from $116-$150, or 570-667c/kg. Medium trade weights with $4 skins made $152 or 644c/kg at Dublin. Heavy new season lambs, 24.1-26kg cwt with 45-$8 skins, sold from $166-$168, or 640-644c/kg.
At Muchea in Western Australia, light new season lambs with $1-$3 skins sold from $60-$95, or 424-517c/kg. The light/medium trade young lambs with $1-$3 skins made $85-$125, or 432-555c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg trade weights with $3-$4 skins sold from $128-$133, or 517-538c/kg. Heavy 24.1-26kg young lambs with $3-$4 skins sold from $127-$130, or 496-508c/kg.
Main lamb indicators firm to dearer
After Tuesday’s saleyard sale, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted its main Eastern States Daily Indicators for slaughter lambs as firm to dearer. The lamb ESDIs are: Merino 644c/kg, down 10 cents; light 567c/kg, up 5c; trade 639c/kg, up 2c; heavy 643c/kg, no change. The national trade lamb indicator is up 2 cents to 639c/kg and the heavy indice finished up 1 cents to 644c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton rose 6 cents to 388c/kg and the national mutton indicator is 7 cents higher at 386c/kg.
Over-the-hook lamb rates hold firm
In New South Wales this week, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb indicators were unchanged from all contributors. Mutton rates lifted slightly across all weight ranges.
NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 540-670c/kg; 20-24kg, 580-670c/kg; 24-26kg, 580-620c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 470-550c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 100-330c/kg, up 5c/kg; 18-24kg, 220-380c/kg, up 7c; 24kg+, 320-400c/kg, up 7c.
In Victoria, the NLRS said lamb over-the-hook indicators were unchanged week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 647c/kg cwt. Mutton indicators were also steady across all categories and medium weights averaged 350c/kg cwt.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 630-640c/kg; 18-22kg, 630-670c/kg; 22-24kg, 610-670c/kg; 24-26kg, 610-630c/kg; 26kg+, 630c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 600c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 320-33-c/kg; 18-24kg, 240-360c/kg; 24kg+, 300-360c/kg.
In South Australia, the NLRS said trade weight lamb over-the-hook indicators averaged 620c/kg cwt, while medium weight mutton averaged 344c/kg cwt. Due to a regular contributor not quoting this week, no trend was reported by NLRS.
South Australia’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 570c/kg; 18-24kg, 570-670c/kg; 24-26kg, 570-630c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 530c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 280-380c/kg; 18-24kg, 300-380c/kg; 24kg+, 300-360c/kg.
The NLRS quotes for Western Australian and Tasmanian OTH rates for sheep and lambs were not available when this report was published.
Dubbo’s trade lambs sell firm
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 35,350 lambs, 7650 more than last week, and 6900 sheep, 1300 more.
The NLRS said strong markets combined with a week of fine weather to boost the lamb yarding by 7500. It was a good quality yarding with a good mix of trade and heavy weight lambs and more Merinos.
Light weight lambs sold firm to $3 cheaper to processors, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 score lambs selling from $65-$112. Trade lambs finished firm, with the 18-23kg 3 scores making $98-$166 to average 645-660c/kg. Trade weight new season lambs sold from $125-$163. Heavy weight lambs were firm to $2 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $150-$205 to average around 655c/kg. Merino lambs were firm to $2 cheaper, with the trade weights selling from $110-$143 and the heavier weight Merinos making to $170. Restockers paid to $108 and hoggets sold to $138.
Most grades of sheep were represented in a fair quality yarding. Most grades of ewes sold firm to $4 dearer, while the wethers were $7 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $40-$80, while the better 3 and 4 score crossbreds made $71-$132 and Merinos sold to $127. Merino wethers sold to $125.
Corowa lambs lift $5
At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 8000 lambs, 230 more than last week, and 1800 sheep, 550 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed, with wet conditions and supplies continuing to influence yardings. The yarding consisted of mainly good trade lambs, a limited number of heavy weights and some young lambs. Not all the usual buyers attended and others were not active on the heavy weights.
All classes of trade lambs were $5 dearer and the light weights sold from $110-$146. Medium trade lambs made $138-$169 and heavy trades sold from $155-$178. Trade lamb prices averaged 650-700c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs were $4 dearer at $158-$182 and extra heavy lambs were $5 cheaper at $168-$194. Heavy trade Merino lambs made to $132.
It was a good quality offering of sheep, with most weights and grades represented. Not all exporters operated and heavy Merino ewes sold to $125. Crossbred ewes made to $120 and hoggets sold to $141.
Tamworth lamb market strong
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3675 lambs, 345 more than last week, and 1250 sheep, 1400 fewer.
The NLRS said the yarding included a good supply of trade and heavy lambs, but fewer heavy and extra heavy lambs. Quality was good, with some good runs of crop-finished and supplementary-fed lambs, along with some light plain lines. The market was strong, although some sales were slightly easier at times through the sale.
The sheep were mainly light and medium weights, with a few pens of light plain mutton. The market change little, with most sheep selling similar to last week’s prices.
Forbes lambs $5 dearer
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 24,450 lambs, 250 fewer than last week, and 4100 sheep, 50 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality continues to be very mixed. There was a handy offering of well-finished lambs and some plainer types. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs were well-supplied. The usual buyers competed in a firm to dearer market. Agents penned 4100 new season lambs and quality improved.
Lamb prices lifted $5 overall, with trade and heavy weights selling from $135-$164. Light old lambs were firm at $108-$124. Trade weights sold firm to $2 better at $126-$148. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs were firm to $5 better. Heavy lambs sold from $150-$165 and extra heavy weights made $158-$212. Carcase prices averaged 621-645c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was very mixed. Prices lifted slightly, with Merino ewes selling from $78-$138. Crossbreds made $88-$132. Merino wethers sold from $88-$130.
Inverell’s trade lambs rise $10
At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2077 lambs, 1320 fewer than two weeks ago, and 571 sheep, 504 less.
The NLRS said there was a good supply of trade weight lambs and a larger number of heavy weights. Quality was fairly good, with several consignments of lambs coming off crops. The market was strong, with trade weight lambs selling up to $10 dearer in places, while heavy lambs held firm.
The mixed quality sheep yarding included mainly trade mutton plus a few pens of heavy sheep in full wool. The market changed little, with most mutton selling equal to last week.
Bendigo lambs firm to slightly dearer
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 7513 lambs, 290 more than last week, and 2518 sheep, 658 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality improved, with fewer very plain and light weight pens. The usual buyers attended, but not all operated at their usual capacity, with some companies only purchasing limited numbers.
Prices for the best quality old lambs and new season lambs were firm to slightly dearer in places. Secondary and mixed pen-lots of old season crossbred lambs averaged a few dollars easier. Bidding for Merino lambs, which were mostly plainer types, was very erratic at times and showed a big price spread in carcase weight terms for a cheaper result overall.
Buyers were still cautious on skin prices and were working on $3-$7 for most crossbred pelts.
A couple of agents led their sales with new season lambs. These sold to $177.50 for second cross lambs estimated at 25kg cwt. Most of the young trade weight lambs sold from $136-$160 to average an estimated 665c/kg. Some smaller and plainer young lambs made $114-$128.
Prices for heavy old season lambs reached $195, with just two pens over $190. Domestic buyers paid to $182. The general run of old lambs sold from $120-$160, depending on quality and size. On a carcase basis, the top drafts of old lambs made 630-660c/kg, with rates at 540-610c/kg for plainer and mixed pens. The supply of light weight kill lambs was limited, with most making $85-$114.
Sheep varied for an overall weaker result. A feature line of big bare-shorn Merino wethers at over 32kg cwt sold to $123 and some full wool wethers made $125. Heavy first cross ewes sold from $105-$116 and the best pens of heavy Merino ewes made $92-$117. The better runs of mutton were estimated to have cost processors 340-380c/kg.
Ballarat lambs firm to dearer
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 5803 lambs, 1434 fewer than last week, and 291 sheep, 1705 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed. Most of the usual buyers operated in a generally firm to dearer market.
The best heavy lambs made $191 and the heavier trade weights sold from $139-$178 to finish firm to $5 up on last week. A few pens of young lambs sold to $164, with lighter lots making $120-$140.
Merino lambs sold from $112-$120 and the lighter drafts made $90-$105. Restockers paid from $65-$95 for crossbred lambs and to $82 for light Merino lambs. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $70-$108.
Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $93-$147, averaging around 650c/kg, with the quality light weights making to 720c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $134-$151, with heavier drafts making $139-$178, or from 590-720c/kg to average around 670c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $162-$190 and a small pen of extra heavy lambs made $191. Heavy hoggets sold to $130.
The sheep included all weights and grades and quality improved. Prices were unchanged to $5 better. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep made $52-$75. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $73-$114, or 340-450c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 410c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $85-$130 and medium Merino wethers made $70-$102. Heavy rams sold to $130.
Dublin’s old lambs sell to $210
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange in Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 6485 lambs, 1519 more than last week, and 1636 sheep, 2 less.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers attended and more were active, with increased trade competition. A small number of restocker orders were active. Quality fell with less weight and condition in the offering, but this didn’t stop prices increasing.
Prices for all lamb categories improved. New season lambs sold to $166 and old lambs made to $210. More new season lambs were offered and light weight types made $72-$105 with some restocker activity. The trade weights sold $4-$6 better at $116-$150, averaging 620c/kg. Heavy new season lambs made $152-$166. Light weight old lambs mainly sold from $44-$94, with restockers paying to $90.
Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $104-$118, lifting $10-$12. Similar weight Merinos mainly sold from $90-$108. Trade weight 3 score lambs made $116-$144, averaging 580c/kg. Similar weight Merinos made $86-$120. The few heavy lambs rose $7 to 124-$160. A small number of extra heavy exported weight lambs sold from $150-$210. Medium weight hoggets made mainly $92-$118, with the heavier lines selling from $114-$138.
Light weight 1 and 2 score ewes sold from $40-$57, medium weights mainly made $60-$92 and heavier ewes sold from $100-$138. Medium weight wethers sold from $98-$107 and a few heavier types made to $140. Rams mainly sold to $124 and to $132 in an isolated sale.
Naracoorte lambs prices ease $10
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1296 lambs, 121 more than last week, and 795 sheep, 44 more.
The NLRS said more pens of good quality 3 and 4 score trade and heavy weight lambs came forward. Not all the current buyers attended or operated.
Lamb prices eased by up to $10. One pen of 3 score trade weight new season lambs sold for $145 and a very good pen of 4 score heavier weights, estimated at 24-25kg cwt, made $168. The 2 and 3 score light trade weight old lambs made $76-$104, while 3 score trade weights made $106-$135. Heavy 4 scores sold from $120-$166 and extra heavy weights made to $180. Most trade and heavy weight lambs cost buyers an estimated 530-620c/kg cwt. The few heavy 3 and 4 score hoggets sold cheaper at $71-$112.
Heavy weight sheep were $5-$10 cheaper and medium weights were equal to a little easier. Medium weight 2 and 3 score ewe sheep made $74-$100 and averaged 378c/kg. The 3 and 4 score heavy and extra heavy weights made $90-$122, or an average of 345c/kg. The 2 and 3 score heavy weight rams sold from $64-$95 and Merinos in full wool made $111.
Muchea’s new season lamb offering doubles
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 7040 lambs, 2510 fewer than last week, and 4328 sheep, 1242 less.
The NLRS said the number of new season lambs more than doubled, with some very good drafts offered. Old lamb quality was mixed, with solid numbers of secondary winter-affected drafts and some grain-finished heavy weight drafts. Competition for lambs was back slightly, with light weight lamb processors out of the market and some lamb buyers less active.
Light new season lambs made $60-$95 and the trade and heavy weight new season lambs sold from $96-$133. Prime trade new season lambs were slightly dearer at 510-540c/kg. Light old lambs eased $4-$5 to $30-$88, selling mostly to restockers and feeders. Live exporters were active on wether drafts. Plainer trade weight lambs were $5 easier at $85-$103 and the better finished drafts sold firm to marginally dearer at $90-$120. Heavy lambs sold from $105-137 and a small pen of extra heavy lambs made $151.
The sheep included some excellent heavy weight ewes carrying close to a full fleece. Mutton, wether and ram prices were close to firm. Ewe prices remained close to firm, but weight and quality lifted in the heavy weight categories.
Light weight ewes made $45-$60 and the medium weight 2 score ewes sold $3 dearer at $60-$72. Better conditioned and heavy weight ewes sold from $60-$104, remain equal in price per head but cheaper on a cwt basis. Restockers were able pick up some good young and mature ewes for from $65 up to $98 for lines with close to full wool.
Wether prices were similar, with most export weight drafts making from $83-$100, up to $123 for longer wool drafts. Restocker wethers made $60-$117, depending on weight, quality and wool length. Rams were not as keenly sought, but ram lambs remained solid at $65-$112. Younger rams for live export sold from $50-$91. Old rams sold to processors for mostly $35-$60, almost $15 cheaper.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.