SLAUGHTER lamb prices in saleyards were mostly firm to slightly cheaper in New South Wales yesterday on the first sale day since the Easter break.
With at least one saleyard sale in every state except Queensland, most centres increased their lamb offerings, except in Western Australia, where rain also held back supplies.
The saleyard sheep supply continued its general decline nationally, despite lifting significantly at Ballarat in Victoria with more Merinos yarded, and mutton prices lifted.
Quality helped lift rates $1-$4 on well-finished export and domestic lambs at Ballarat. Lamb prices also generally improved in South Australian saleyards. Lamb and mutton prices generally held firm at Muchea in Western Australia. Light and store lamb prices demand was strong in all centres.
Over-the-hook lamb rates were also generally firm to lower, except in Victoria, and mutton rates were firm, except for Tasmania, where they lifted for 14-24kg cwt sheep.
NLRS cwt indicators generally firm
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service listed the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb as: restocker 528c/kg; Merinos 468c/kg; light 513c/kg; trade 526c/kg; heavy 520c/kg. The national trade lamb indicator is at 525c/kg and the heavy indice is on 520c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton closed on Tuesday on 300c/kg and the national indicator is on 299c/kg.
Over-the-hook rates lift in Victoria
In NSW, the NLRS said there were no changes made to over-the-hook lamb and mutton indicators this week. The Easter long weekend has tightened supply, with many contributors taking a wait-and-see approach this week.
NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 460-520c/kg; 20-24kg, 490-520c/kg; 24-26kg+, 480-500c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 390-470c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 190-280c/kg; 18-24kg, 240-300c/kg; 24kg+, 260-300c/kg.
In Victoria, the NLRS said most lamb over-the-hook categories lifted slightly following the Easter break, with the trade weight lamb indicator averaging 530c/kg cwt. Mutton indicators were unchanged week-on-week.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-22kg, 520-540c/kg, up 5-7 cents; 22-24kg, 520-530c/kg, up 3c; 24-26kg, 490-520c/kg, up 5c; 26kg+, 490c/kg, no change; Merinos 16-22kg, 460-520c/kg, nc. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 250-280c/kg; 18-24kg, 280-300c/kg; 24kg+, 220-20-c/kg.
In South Australia, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb and mutton rates as steady week-on-week following the Easter break, with the trade weight lamb indicator averaging 523c/kg cwt. Medium weight mutton averaged 263c/kg cwt.
SA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 520c/kg; 18-24kg, 520-530c/kg; 24-26kg, 490-520c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 490c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 210-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 230-290c/kg; 24kg+, 170-300c/kg.
In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb rates as 5-15c/kg lower and mutton rates as firm to 10c/kg better.
Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-16kg, 500-530c/kg, down 5c; 16-20c, 500-520c/kg, down 5-10c; 20-26kg, 500-510c/kg, down 5-10c; 26kg+, 480-505c/kg, down 15c. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 260-280c/kg, no change; 14-18kg, 270-300c/kg, up 10c; 18-24kg, 270-300c/kg, up 5c; 24kg+, 260-270c/kg, no change.
Western Australia’s OTH rates were not available when this report was published.
Forbes’ trade and heavy lambs back $4-$5
In New South Wales at the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 30,100 lambs, 9450 more than last week, and 7100 sheep, 400 fewer.
The NLRS said the quality of the heavy and extra heavy lambs was excellent. Trade lambs varied, with a few lacking finish. Nearly 5500 Merino lambs were penned. All the usual buyers operated in a firm to slightly cheaper market.
Light processing lambs eased $2 to $83-$102. The medium and heavy trade weights were back $2-$4 to $99-$131, or mainly 520-535c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs were firm to $5 easier, losing momentum with more weight. Heavy lambs sold from $134-$165 and extra heavy lambs reached $187. Carcase weight prices mostly ranged from 470-510c/kg. Merino trade weights made $90-$126.
Mutton quality was mixed, but plenty of heavy sheep were offered. Competition was strong and prices were $2-$5 dearer on the better covered lines while light plain sheep lifted up-$10. Medium weights sold from $54-$85 and heavy Merinos made $84-$110.
Ballarat’s quality lambs lift $1-$4
In Victoria at the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 20,849 lambs, 2415 more than last week, and 6160 sheep, 2422 more.
The NLRS said the quality of the lead lamb drafts in each agent’s run was very good considering the tough season and there was some stand-out pens of extra heavy shorn lambs off red potato country.
Buyer competition was solid on quality export and domestic slaughter lambs and prices trended $1-$4 dearer over the main fat score 3 and 4 categories. Bidding reached a top of $188 for heavy export lambs estimated to have a carcase weight of around 34kg. Extra heavy export lambs weighing 30kg plus mostly sold from $164-$178, with a handful of pens making $180-$188. These lambs were estimated at around 520c/kg.
More nicely weighted 22-26kg slaughter lambs suiting export and domestic orders recorded the best price improvements, with the top pens making $130-$155, or averaging 540-550c/kg.
Select pens of trade weight lambs made up to 580c/kg. Lighter and plainer domestic lambs mostly made from $105-$125, depending on weight and finish, but rates fluctuated. There were restocking orders from East Gippsland, the Mallee and Wimmera as well as local support. Prices were generally firm to noticeably dearer on some of the lightest and smallest store lambs.
The much bigger yarding of sheep was dominated by Merino ewes in varying condition. Like recent weeks, not all the major export buyers operated. The market was firm to dearer, with some significant price rises recorded for lightweight mutton. Prices reached a top of $120 for a small pen lot of extra heavy crossbred ewes. Merino wethers sold to $115 and ewes to $98.
Dublin’s light trade lambs lift $7
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 7300 lambs, 1218 more than last week, and 842 sheep, 426 fewer.
The NLRS said the generally very good quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to erratic competition. Most of the usual trade and processor buyers attended, but one prominent processor was absent.
A good selection of supplementary fed lambs was offered and extreme heavy weights sold up to $178. Feeders and restockers were cautiously active on light weight lambs and woolly Merinos were in demand. Feeders paid $39-$58 for a large consignment of very light weight Dorper lambs, $50-$70 for light weight crossbreds and up to $102 for heavier crossbreds. Light weight 3 score crossbreds sold to trade and processor buyers, easing $5 to $102-$110, to average 497c/kg cwt.
Light trade weight 3 scores lifted $7 to $112-$126 and averaged 527c/kg. Heavy trade weight 4 scores eased $6 to $116-$137 to average 512c/kg. Heavy weights sold from $143-$164, or 515-520c/kg. Extreme heavy weights sold from $160-$178. Light weight Merino lambs sold to feeders and restockers for $43-$87. Trade weight Merinos lifted $2-$7 to $109-$131, averaging 474c/kg. Heavy weights rose by up to $14, to $132-$145, or 473-492c/kg.
The mixed quality yarding of sheep sold to stronger demand from the usual buyers. Light weight 2 score ewes sold from $50-$82 and averaged 270c/kg. Heavy weight 3 score ewes sold from $78-$106, averaging 309c/kg. The few wethers yarded sold from $87-$120 and restockers bought wethers for $109. Demand for rams skyrocketed and they sold from $70-$124.
Naracoorte lamb prices improve
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1307 lambs and 722 sheep.
The NLRS said more trade and processor buyers and fewer restocker orders were active, and prices improved.
Light weight lambs ranged from $62-$96 with light weight Merinos ranging from $70-$89. Restockers were active on lambs at $80-$93 and bought a pen of first cross ewe lambs for $124. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs ranged from $98-$108. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $110-$126 at an average of 540c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs made $130-$142 and heavy Merino lambs sold to $135. The extra heavy export weight lambs sold from $146-$162.
Most of the sheep were Merino ewes and light weight lines sold from $22-$40. Medium weight types made $60-$86 at an average of 290c/kg, with the best sheep making 310c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score sheep mainly made $95-$105. Wethers sold to $96 and rams to $77.
Muchea’s prime lambs sell firm
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3350 lambs, 7515 fewer than last week, and 2234 sheep, 3998 less.
The NLRS said numbers were back around 28 percent due to the Easter long weekend and widespread rain fell in the past week. Prime lamb supplies were small. Plain conditioned drafts suitable for restockers and processors dominated. All buyers were present, but lack of numbers limited activity to some degree.
Prices for better lamb and ewe drafts were firm, with store drafts and wethers similar to recent sales. Very light store lambs sold to restockers for $18-$60. Better framed light lambs suitable for feeders and air freight processors made $60-$98, firming slightly. Lamb in the trade weight ranges made from $80-$115 and remained firm to $1 dearer on average, with the prime drafts lifting $3 to close to 500c/kg. Heavy lambs sold to $123 and were close to $5 dearer on average. Hoggets sold dearer to processors, with better drafts selling to $81.
There were limited numbers of heavy weight ewes in the sheep yarding. Ewe mutton prices were mostly firm and heavier drafts trended firmer. Light weight and conditioned ewes made $25-$52. Medium weight processor mutton were $2 dearer at $50-$65, averaging close to 260c/kg. Better conditioned and heavy weight ewes were also firmer at $55-$75. Restockers were limited and purchased some light weight ewes from $19, with the better drafts selling to $65.
Wether and ram supplies were limited and rates eased slightly. Live export wethers made from $81-$100 and restockers paid $50-$94. Ram lambs sold to export feeders for $65 and other young rams made $20-$60. Old rams sold to processors for mostly $10-$20.
Northern Tasmanian store lamb prices improve
In the northern Tasmanian saleyards Killafaddy and Powranna on Easter Tuesday, the agents yarded 800 lambs, 550 fewer than last week, and 400 sheep, 550 less.
Store lamb prices improved, while processor demand was subdued as they reportedly have good direct-to-works supplies. Restockers bought very light lambs for $46-$52, light weights from $70-$95, light trade lambs from $99-$105 and trade weights for $104-$110. The trade paid $105-$119 for trade lambs and $117-$130 for heavy lambs.
Prices for most sheep were similar to last week. Light ewes returned $62-$73, medium weights sold from $61-$69 and heavy ewes and wethers made $70-$78.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.