Saleyard lamb prices generally firm to cheaper, but grid rates plummet

Sheep Central October 19, 2016
These Aarch-April drop Merino-Dohne cross lambs, 19.4kg cwt and score 3, sold for $110 at Keith, South Australia, on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

These Aarch-April drop Merino-Dohne cross lambs, 19.4kg cwt and score 3, sold for $110 at Keith, South Australia, on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

LAMB prices generally fell further in saleyards early this week and over-the-hook rates dropped despite a fall in yardings at most centres yesterday.

Although good quality helped lamb prices fold firm in some centres and lift up to $5 at Ballarat yesterday, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Indicators for all lamb categories as 5-11c/kg lower in saleyards yesterday, continuing the trend of recent weeks.

OTH trade lamb rates for the next week were quoted by processors to NLRS as 16-23 cents lower in New South Wales, 25-33 cents lower in Victoria and back 23 cents in South Australia. Heavy lamb OTH rates were quoted 20-23 cents lower in the eastern states.

Feedback from agents indicated buyers are starting to get adequate supplies direct to abattoirs, enabling them to buy and pay less at saleyards.

One agent said buyers are still “squaring up” to recoup margins lost during previous months of much higher prices when saleyard supplies were limited by weather conditions.

“Selling lambs during the winter direct was cheaper than the physical market and they had to go into the physical market to buy and give a lot more money,” he said.

“What they are wanting now is their money back – they are trying to square things up.

“We won’t get this job back up now until January-February,” he said.

“The market is capable of coming down a bit more yet – they’ve got to get it down below 500c/kg and they will work on that until they achieve it.

“They gave too much money over the hook and they’ve got to hit the physical market because that is your barometer,” he said.

“They’ve got to hit the physical market hard to bring everything back into line, so they can start again.”

NLRS lamb and mutton indicators continue to slide

After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS ESDIs for lamb were: restocker 595c/kg, down 5c; Merino 506c/kg, down 11c; light 541c/kg, down 11c; trade 544c/kg, down 8c; heavy 534c/kg, down 5c. The national trade lamb indicator closed down 8 cents to 546c/kg and the heavy indice finished 4 cents lower at 536c/kg.

The ESDI for mutton end on Tuesday down 8 cents to 367c/kg and the national mutton indicator was 9 cents lower at 362c/kg.

OTH hook rates pulled back

In New South Wales, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb indicators as easing this week, after high supplies at the saleyards last week impacted demand. Trade lamb rates were lowered 16-28 cents to 500-580c/kg. Heavy lamb rates are 20-23 cents lower at 530-580c/kg. The 16-22kg Merino lamb rates were 20 cents lower at 410-510c/kg. Light and medium weight mutton rates lifted 8-50 cents in NSW, while heavy weights eased 4 cents.

In Victoria, the NLRS said over-the-hook trade lamb indicators eased 25-33 cents to 540-580c/kg this week, with saleyard supply last week higher and the expectation that this will continue. Light lamb rates are quoted 35 cents lower at 540-580c/kg and heavy lambs are 53-540c/kg, down 25-30 cents. Mutton rates were unchanged across all weight ranges.

In South Australia, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb indicators slipped this week with high supplies impacting prices. Light lamb rates are down 20 cents to 480c/kg, trade weights are 23 cents lower at 480-570c/kg and the heavies are also 23 cents slower, on 480-530c/kg. Merino lambs are quoted down 10 cents at 440-460c/kg. Light and medium weight mutton rates eased 8-24 cents to 200-400c/kg and heavy weight lines lifted 24 cents to 290-380c/kg.

In Western Australia, the NLRS quoted OTH lamb rates as unchanged, with light carcases at 440-520c/kg, trades at 450-520c/kg, heavies at 440-520c/kg and Merinos at 420-450c/kg. Light mutton rates are down 5 cents to 290-320c/kg, medium weights ate unchanged at 250-320c/kg and heavy sheep rates are down 13 cents to 250-270c/kg.

Tasmania’s latest OTH rates were not available when this report was published.

Dubbo’s new season trade lambs sell firm to $2 cheaper

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 29,610 lambs, 13,590 fewer than last week, and 10,400 sheep, 2800 more.

The NLRS said after about 15mm of rain overnight, numbers were down on the expected draw. The fair quality yarding included a pretty good selection of new season lambs and large numbers of hoggets and Merinos. Heavy weight lambs were in limited supply.

Trade weight lambs finished firm to $2 cheaper, with the 18kg-23kg new season lambs making $105-$140, to average 555c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $6 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 score new season lambs selling from $137-$153. Restockers paid to $111. Lightweight lambs were firm to $3 cheaper, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $73-$98.

Trade weight old lambs were firm to $4 cheaper at $97-$140. Heavy weight old lambs were $6 cheaper at $132-$165. The lighter Merino lambs were firm and the heavier weights sold $5 cheaper. Trade weight Merino lambs made $95-$136. Hoggets sold to $110.

Most grade of sheep sold $7-$14 cheaper in the mixed yarding. The 2 score ewes sold from $49-$75. Better 3 and 4 score crossbreds sold from $69-$115 and longer wool Merinos made to $130. Longer wool Merino wethers sold to $122.

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

At the Cowra saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 6200 lambs, 3100 fewer than last week, and 1400 sheep, 300 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality improved, with the new season lambs showing plenty of finish. Most were trade weight new season lambs, but there was also a good supply of heavy lambs and a reasonable number of store lambs. All the usual buyers operated and competition was weaker, resulting in a cheaper trend.

Light new season lambs sold to processors averaged $108. Store lambs also averaged $108. Medium and heavy trade weight new seasons were $6-$8 cheaper and averaged 545-550c/kg. Most of the better heavy trade weights sold from $120-$130. Heavy weight new season lambs were $8-$12 cheaper and averaged from 510-540c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy new season lambs sold from $150-$164.

Sheep quality was reasonable. Medium first cross ewes were up to $20 cheaper and averaged $70 or 300c/kg. Heavy first cross ewes were similarly cheaper and averaged $90 or 305c/kg.

Tamworth’s heavy lambs $4 cheaper

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3800 lambs, 1700 fewer than last week, and 1250 sheep, 250 less.

The quality of the lambs was fair to good. Trade and heavy weight lambs were well-supplied in the young and old lamb categories. There was also secondary quality and plainer condition lambs.

The usual buyers attended. Demand was slightly weaker for young lambs, but stronger for the old lambs. Market trends through the young trade weights were firm to slightly cheaper. The heavy weight young lambs were up to $4 cheaper. Restockers were active on the light weight and plainer condition lots, also at cheaper prices.

Trade weight old lambs sold cheaper, with the heavy weights up to $4 cheaper. Secondary quality and plainer condition lots attracted restricted competition from processors and experienced greater price falls.

The quality of the sheep on offer was quite mixed, with limited supplies of well-finished medium and heavy weights. Market trends were quite a bit cheaper through all weight and fat classes.

Forbes lamb prices hold firm

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 16,550 lambs, 16,940 fewer than last week, and 5710 sheep, 4390 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed, with some good lines of well-presented, finished lambs along with the plainer drier types. Most of the usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market.

There were just under 5000 new season lambs and prices held fairly firm. Light lambs averaged $115. Trade weights sold from $115-$140. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs made $138-$150. Carcase prices mostly ranged from 576-588c/kg. Old lambs also remained fairly steady. Light lambs averaged $107. Trade weights sold from $112-$132. Heavy lambs made $133-$140 and extra heavies sold from $138-$165.

The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was mixed. There were some good lines of medium and heavy sheep, but prices slipped $5-$6. Merino ewes sold from $75-$118. Crossbred ewes made $78-$106. Merino wethers sold from $81-$110.

Most Deniliquin lambs fall $10-$20

At the Deniliquin saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 5431 lambs and 2949 sheep.

The NLRS said lamb numbers eased as the spring flush of young unshorn lambs from the area started to slow down. Quality is starting to decline, with more young lambs starting to show dryness in the pelt and some seed infestation.

The usual buyers operated in the much cheaper market compared-the last sale held at Deniliquin a fortnight ago, although price results were in line with more recent prime sales.

Most slaughter lambs recorded price falls of $10-$20. Prices reached a top of $165 for a pen of heavy export weight young lambs, with the next best sale at $155. Bidding over $140 was limited to a few pens that weighed over 25kg cwt. The bulk of the young lambs were trade weights, with the pick of the best crossbreds making $130-$138. The next run of lambs, which comprised mostly first cross types sold from $118-$128. On a carcase basis, most slaughter lambs traded from 500-550c/kg, averaging 520-540c/kg.

Plainer and lighter weight lambs mostly made $80-$110, although there was a draft of secondary little Merino lambs which sold down to $42. There was some restocker competition from Shepparton, paying to $105 for crossbred store lambs.

Mutton sheep also experienced a price correction of $10-$20, which is similar to other markets held more recently. The yarding was mostly Merino ewes with varying wool lengths, with only an odd pen of crossbred ewes available and very few wethers. Heavy Merino ewes in a big skin sold to a top of $123.60, and most of the ewes showed enough frame size and weight to sell from $90-$115. On a carcase basis, the heaviest mutton was discounted down to 300-320c/kg, while the leaner trade weight types commanded up to 380c/kg.

Keen demand for Bendigo’s restocker lambs

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 21,506 lambs, 6348 fewer than last week, and 5364 sheep, 963 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality remained good, although there were not as many heavy weight young lambs. Prices fluctuated as the market tried to find its base, with the sale opening firmly before losing momentum. Demand was keenest for light weight young lambs, with several buyers filling restocker orders.

Prices reached a top of $166 for export weight young lambs — one of three sales over $160. This was followed by about 18 pens at $150-$158 for lambs weighing over 26kg cwt, and then a similar number of sales at $140-$148 for heavy domestic pens. The general run of domestic slaughter lambs sold from $125-$138, with the pick of the second cross young lambs in the 22-24kg bracket averaging around $133. On a carcase basis, most slaughter lambs over 20kg sold from 515-560c/kg, averaging around 520-535c/kg.

Light weight lambs continued to sell well, with the smallest types sold to restockers averaging a few dollars dearer. Most of the light lambs sold to processors and to restockers made $105-$118, with only a few pens of very small immature young lambs making less than $100. The price average for store lambs in the 16-18kg weight bracket was $107. Store lambs sold to Wodonga, Echuca, Shepparton, Ballarat, Birchip and the local Bendigo area.

The yarding of old season lambs was very plain as final drafts are cleared out and these sold at weaker price levels. At this stage, there are no shorn young lambs appearing in the market.

There was a significant price correction for heavy mutton, despite the supply of sheep reducing. Heavy ewes were $15-$25 cheaper, with big crossbred ewes reaching a top of $118 and full wool Merinos $120. Some ewes are now starting-show excess weight and fat cover due-the favourable season. Processors were prepared-pay more on a carcass basis for the leaner trade weight Merino mutton, however all weights and grades of sheep did record cheaper trends compared-a week ago.

Ballarat lambs up to $5 dearer

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 15,312 lambs, 11,047 fewer than last week, and 7982 sheep, 1607 more.

The NLRS said the lamb supply reduced following recent wet weather. Quality was again very good, with most lambs showing good finish and handling very well. The usual buyers attended and operated in a mostly firm to dearer market.

Lambs sold up to $5 dearer than last week. The best heavy lambs sold to $173, with heavier trade weights making $127-$142 to average about 540c/kg. Restockers were active and paid from $95-$125 and from $81-$90 for lighter lambs. Light weight 2 score lambs made $85-$93.

Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $98-$121 and averaged around 565c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs made $115-$130, with the heavier weights selling from $127-$142.50, 520-570c/kg to average around 545c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $142-$173 and averaged around 550c/kg. The trade weight old lambs made $90-$116 and heavy weights sold for $99-$140.

The sheep included all weights and grades. Quality was very good, with some big runs of Merino ewes and wethers. Heavy sheep generally sold $10-$15 easier and more in places. Lighter sheep were less-affected and sold up to $5 easier. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep made $45-$70. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $64-$100, or 300-400c/kg. Merino mutton mostly made 360-370c/kg. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $106-$110, medium weights made $79-$105 and heavy crossbred wethers sold to $110. Heavy crossbred sheep sold from $74-$98 and rams made to $100.

Restockers paid from $83-$95 for crossbred ewes, to $100 for Merino ewes and $91-$110 for Merino wethers.

Dublin lamb market firm

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange, the agents yarded 11,861 lambs, 1639 fewer than last week, and 3569 sheep, 1069 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality improved and the market was firm. The offering sold to the usual trade and processor buyers, and to more restocker orders from the west coast and the lower south east.

Light lambs of varying quality and type sold to the trade for $68-$110. Lightweight trade 2 and 3 score lambs made mainly $90-$120. Restockers paid $64-$120. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $110-$130, or 565c/kg. The fewer heavy lambs made $120-$158.

The small number of old lambs sold from $77-$90 and heavier types made $110-$126. Light hoggets sold from $60-$90 and the heavier selection made $90-$128.

All ewes fell in price by $8-$12. Light ewes sold from $50-$58, medium weights made $65-$80, with heavier lines sold for $80-$114 at an average of 290c/kg.  Lightweight wethers sold to $100, with the heavier selection making to $121, with some restocker activity. Rams mainly sold from $65-$108.

Naracoorte lambs average slightly higher

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9835 lambs, 7211 fewer than last week, and 2534 sheep, 628 less.

The NLRS said wet weather overnight and on sale day, together with lower prices last week, may have caused the decline in sheep and lamb supply. Most trade and heavy weight new season lambs were of good to very good quality, but the light and medium weights were plain to average quality. Not all buyers operated or operated fully, but prices were overall remained similar to last week, though many lambs averaged slightly higher.

Very light 1 and 2 score lambs were purchased by restockers for $64-$93 and the light 2 scores made $80-$99. Restockers paid $82-$115 for light trade weight 2 scores and $95-$128 for 2 and 3 score trade weights. Light trade weight 2 and 3 score new season lambs sold to processors for $96-$102. The medium to heavy trade weight 3 scores made $105-$138 and averaged around 550c/kg. The heavy 3 and 4 scores made $129-$146, with extra heavy 4 scores selling from $140-$162 and to $170 for a pen estimated at 29kg cwt. Heavy lambs averaged 550-565c/kg.

The sheep varied widely in weight, condition and wool length, and comprised ewes and a few pens of rams. Most light weight sheep were 1 scores that sold from $66-$81 and averaged 410c/kg. The medium weight 2 and 3 scores made $78-$106 and averaged 400c/kg. Heavy 3-5 scores made $98-$119 and cost an estimated 320-385c/kg. The heavy weight rams made $74-$110.

Muchea lamb prices firm

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 7292 lambs, 1230 fewer than last week, and 4862 sheep, 638 less.

The NLRS said new season lambs continued to dominate numbers with close to 5000 head offered. Quality was very good with more weight available in the heavy and trade lamb categories and ewe weight and quality improved. All buyers remained active with restockers and live exporters picking up some lighter conditioned trade lambs and restockers strong on light weight lambs.

Prices overall remained close to firm in a solid market. Light weight new seasons lambs remained close to equal, with most sales at $60-$90. Trade lamb sold across a wider carcase price range, but remained close to firm at $85-$105, or close to 445c/kg overall. Heavy lamb and a few pens of extra heavy lambs reached $112.

Ewe mutton continued to sell well, with solid restocker activity underpinning the market. Light ewes made $48-$65 and the medium weight processor drafts sold from $55-$76. Better conditioned and heavy weight ewes sold from $68-$105 and were up to $5 dearer for very big frame drafts in prime condition. Restockers paid $45-$123 for young ewes and $55-$105 for mature big framed ewes with wool. Wether prices were influenced by live export activity. Heavy export wethers made $85-$108 and lighter drafts from $85. Restockers and feeders paid $72-105 for wethers, depending on weight, wool length and quality.

Rams lacked the strong demand of recent weeks. Ram lambs made $75-$95 and younger drafts sold to exporters for $45-$75. Old rams sold to processors for $20-$45.

Tasmanian lamb prices lift $5-$10

At Tasmania’s Powranna and Killafaddy saleyards on Tuesday, agents yarded a better selection of lambs, including 148 new season lambs, the biggest number this season.

With recent wet weather and a general shortage of lambs state-wide, prices improved $5-$10 up to the best prices for weeks.

The quality of new lambs was very good, with most over 22kg carcase weight. The few trade pens made $124-$130, heavy lambs made $137-$142 and the extra heavies sold from $143-$150. Old lambs also sold well, with trade pens making $129-$141 and heavies $136-$152.

The light sheep made $59-$71, medium weights sold from $80-$94 and heavy lines made $86-$95.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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