Saleyard lamb prices improve as producers keep them at home

Sheep Central, October 26, 2016
These July/August drop Dorper lambs, 19kg cwt and score 3, sold for $200 at Talwood in southern Queensland on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

These July/August drop Dorper lambs, 19kg cwt and score 3, sold for $200 at Talwood in southern Queensland on AuctionsPlus yesterday.

LAMB prices improved in saleyards early this week as producers with good pasture prospects limited supplies in most major selling centres and direct to processors.

This combined with strong restocking demand, especially on light and light trade lambs, and processor grid rates being pitched lower this week, helped lift prices for lambs offered by agents in the main slaughter categories.

At Corowa on Tuesday, prices for heavy new season lambs rose by up to $24 a head to $150-$176 and young trade sold up to $12 dearer. Elsewhere across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia trade lambs sold firm to up to $10 dearer and at Inverell restocker lambs were $16 dearer than two weeks ago.

After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: Restocker 626c/kg, down 1 cent; Merino 510c/kg, down 2c; light 568c/kg, up 12c; trade 559c/kg, up 5c; heavy 553c/kg, up 7c. The national trade lamb indicator rose 5 cents to 559c/kg and the heavy idnice closed up 7 cents to 553c/kg.

The ESDI for mutton lifted 1 cents to 372c/kg and the national mutton indicator was also up 1 cent, to 371c/kg.

OTH rates pitched lower in most states

The NLRS reported over-the-hook rates as generally lower in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

In NSW, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb indicators as easing this week across all weight ranges, especially for heavy lambs. The 18-22kg 2-4 score lambs at 520-580c/kg fell 4 cents. The 22-24kg lambs at 530-560c/kg were 15 cents lower. Heavy 24kg-plus lambs were quoted 15-20c cents down at 500-560c/kg and 16-22kg Merino lambs were 10 cent slower on 430-530c/kg. Mutton rates also slipped across all weight ranges, with medium weight mutton averaging 332c/kg cwt.

In Victoria, the NLRS quoted lamb over-the-hook indicators as moving lower. Light 16-18kg lambs were 25 cents lower at 530-540c/kg. Trade weight lamb indicators averaged 540c/kg cwt, down 23c/kg cwt week-on-week, and 22-24kg-plus lambs were 10-20 cent slower at 510-550c/kg. Merinos were unchanged. Mutton indicators eased to a lesser extent, with medium weights averaging 347c/kg cwt.

In South Australia, the NLRS quoted trade and heavy weight lamb over-the-hook indicators as easing 7c/kg cwt to 480-550c/kg, while light weight lambs at 480c/kg and Merinos at 440c/kg were unchanged week-on-week. Mutton indicators moved lower, with medium weights averaging 310c/kg cwt.

In Western Australia, the NLRS quoted 16-18kg lambs as 20 cents lower at 440-480c/kg. Light and medium trades were 16 cents lower at 450-480c/kg and 22-26kg lambs were pitched at 460-480c/kg, down 20 cents. Lambs over 26kg cwt were 5 cents lower at 440-460c/kg and Merinos were unchanged at 420-450c/kg.

Tasmania’s up-to-date OTH rates were not available when this report was published.

Dubbo’s trade lambs lift $1-$3

In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 18,475 lambs, 11, 135 fewer than last week, and 5630 sheep, 4770 less.

The NLRS said was a fairly good quality yarding with a reasonable selection of trade weight lambs. Most grades were represented in the old lambs and there was a good number of hoggets.

Light weight lambs sold to processors were $5 cheaper, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $80-$101. Trade lambs were $1-$3 dearer, with trade weight new season lambs selling from $106-$135 to average 550c/kg cwt. The few heavy weight new season lambs sold to $146.

Trade weight old lambs sold from $100-$138. Heavy weights were $10 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 score old lambs making $136-$177. Merino lambs were firm to $2 dearer, with trade weights selling from $96-$132. Restockers paid to $114 and hoggets sold to $116. First cross ewe hoggets sold to restockers for $162.

Most grades were represented in the good quality sheep yarding. Most grades sold $4-$7 dearer. The 2 score ewes made $58-$81. Better 3 and 4 score Merinos sold from $73-$116 and crossbred made to $110. Full wool Merino wethers sold to $122.

Corowa lamb market up $10-$20

At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 10,000 lambs, 880 fewer than last week, and 2500 sheep, 1980 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality and yield continue to improve. Most regular buyers attended.

The lamb market was $10-$20 dearer, with some lambs making over 600c/kg cwt. New season trade lambs sold up to $12 dearer. Light trade weight lambs sold from $115-$134, medium trades made $126-$144 and heavy trade lambs sold for $134-$158 to average 565c/kg. Lambs over 24kg gained up to $20 to $150-$176. A lot feeder from Tarcutta bought most of the lighter lambs, underpinning the market. Extra heavy older lambs sold to $158.

Sheep quality improved, but was mixed. Heavy weight crossbred ewes made to $120, Merino ewes to $114 and wethers to $122. Hoggets sold to $121.

Tamworth’s new season trade lambs up $1-$2

At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3000 lambs, 800 fewer than last week, and 1500 sheep, 250 more.

The NLRS said it was a fair to good quality penning of lambs, a good supply of new season drafts and some very good heavy weight old lambs. The usual buyers attended.

It was a firm to dearer market for young lambs, with trade weights up by $1-$2. There was restocker activity on the light young lambs and the market trend changed little. Heavy weight young lambs lifted by $4-$5.

Plain condition light old lambs sold to a dearer trend, with the limited numbers not satisfying buyer requirements given the nature of the season. Trade weight old lambs sold to slightly dearer. There was not a lot of change in the heavyweight lamb market.

A large line of young Merino ewes carrying up to 5cm of wool was a feature of the sheep market. It attracted strong restocker competition. The mixed quality penning of processing sheep sold to a cheaper trend.

Forbes trade lambs rise $4-$7

At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 20,850 lambs, 4300 more than last week, and 6050 sheep, 340 more.

The NLRS said 8700 new season lambs were penned and quality improved. There were some better lines of well-finished lambs and they were heavier. The usual buyers competing in the dearer market.

Light new season lambs lifted $5 to $110-$125. Restockers paid $90-$122. Trade weight lambs lifted $4-$7 to $118-$145. Heavy and extra heavy weights were well-represented, with heavy lambs making $138-$160. Extra heavies sold from $153-$178.

The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was mixed. There were some good lines of medium and heavy weight sheep and prices lifted $4-$5. Merino ewes sold from $74-$127. Crossbred ewes made $80-$123 and Merino wethers sold from $72-$128.

Inverell’s restocker lambs lift $16

At the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3490 lambs, 345 fewer than two weeks ago, and 1289 sheep, 46 more.

The NLRS said it was a good quality lamb yarding, with most coming off crops or supplementary feed. There was a good supply of trade lambs and more heavy weights.

Competition was strong with restocker lambs selling $16 dearer, mainly due to good rainfall throughout the northern supply regions. Lighter trade lambs were $6 dearer, while the heavier lambs also made good gains.

The sheep yarding included several well-finished drafts, with a few pens carrying a good skin. The market was firm, although some sales were a little easier.

Bendigo’s young lambs lift $2-$6

In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 16,975 lambs, 4531 fewer than last week, and 3809 sheep, 1555 less.

The NLRS said there was a reduced lamb and sheep yarding as producers reacted to the discounted rates of the previous fortnight. The weight and quality of the young lambs remained good, although more drafts are starting to show signs of dryness and seed in skins as the season progresses. All the regular buyers operated in a firm to dearer market.

Most young lambs averaged $2-$6 better than last week, with select pens of supermarket style lambs up to $10 dearer. The market reached a top of $175 for a pen of extra heavy young lambs estimated at over 32kg cwt. There wasn’t a lot of excess weight in the yarding, and there were only about six pens above $160 for heavy export lambs.

The best drafts of heavy trade weights made from $142-$157, while the general run of domestic young lambs in the 22-24kg range made $125-$140. On a carcase basis, there was a fairly wide price spread of 485-580c/kg across young lambs sold to slaughter, with the lower rates for the heavier types.

Demand for light weight lambs continued to trend strongly, and prices on a carcase basis were dearer. Most of the young lambs under 20kg made $104-$118. The main run of store lambs sold to restockers in the 16-18kg bracket averaged $108. Some young unshorn first cross ewe lambs sold very strongly for up to $150 as replacement breeders. Store lambs sold to Echuca, Bendigo, Shepparton, Ballarat and Birchip.

The sheep market recovered some of the previous week’s losses in a stronger result. The best results on a carcase basis were for bigger lines of leaner trade weight Merinos which made over 400c/kg at times. There was a lot of weight and fat cover in the first cross ewes, which sold from $95-$121. Heavy Merino ewes sold to $122 and wethers to $114. Most of the leaner trade weight Merinos made $75-$95.

Ballarat lambs firm to $5 dearer

At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 17,268 lambs, 1956 more than last week, and 4911 sheep, 307 fewer.

The NLRS said lambs generally presented in good condition in the good quality yarding, although some lots showed dryness in the skins. The usual buyers operated in the firm to dearer market.

Lambs mostly sold firm to $5 up on last week. The best heavy lambs sold to $166.20 and the heavier trade weights made $126-$148 and averaged around 550c/kg. The best of the old lambs, now low in number, sold to $126. Heavy hoggets made to $120. Restockers paid mostly $98.50-$128 for lambs.

Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $75-$93. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $98.50-$126 and averaged around 570c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $121-$134 and heavier weights made $126-$148, or 525-580c/kg to average around 550c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $144-$166.20, averaging around 560c/kg.

The sheep offering included all weights and grades. With more spirited competition from the usual buyers, sheep sold to stronger demand. Prices were up to $6 higher than last week and more in spots, especially for heavier crossbreds. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $58-$73 and very light 1 scores made $35-$43. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $63-$100, 320-400c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 380c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $75-$134. Heavy Merino ewes made $95-$104, with medium Merino wethers selling from $79-$97 and averaging around 380c/kg. Heavy rams sold to $103. Restockers paid $100-$120 for crossbred ewes and $73-$114 for Merino wethers.

Dublin’s light trade lambs $4-$6 dearer

At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9565 lambs, 2296 fewer than last week, and 3532 sheep, 37 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality fell away with less weight and condition throughout the offering and more extra light weight types. The usual trade and processor buyers attended, and there were more restocker orders.

Prices for light lambs lifted and the heavier types held firm in price. Light weight crossbred lambs sold to the trade for $75-$110, with Merinos making $56-$100. Restockers were active in a number of different categories and paid $58-$114.

Light weight trade 2 and 3 score crossbred lambs sold from $105-$118 and similar Merinos made $80-$112, lifting $4-$6. The fewer trade weight 3 score lambs held firm at $102-$130, averaging 540c/kg. Fewer heavy lambs were offer and they sold from $128-$150.

Light old lambs sold from $80-$100 and the heavier selection made $100-$140. Light weight hoggets sold from $48-$92 and the heavy weights made to $138.

Light weight ewes sold from $48-$80 and a restocker paid to $128. Heavy ewes sold from $75-$104. Light weight wethers made $73-$84 and restockers paid to $73. Heavy wethers sold from $102-$124. Rams mainly made $55-$98.

Naracoorte’s light lambs $2-$5 dearer

At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 12,093 lambs, 2258 more than last week, and 1703 sheep, 831 fewer.

The NLRS said new season lamb quality improved, with the trade and heavy weights in good to very good condition and the lighter weights of average to good quality. The regular processors operated along with a keen following of restockers and agents.

Light weight lambs sold $2-$5 higher to restockers and processors. The trade and heavy weight lambs sold equal to a shade dearer to processors. The very light weight 1 and 2 score new season lambs were purchased by restockers from $76-$98 and the light 2 scores made $74-$107. Restockers paid $102-$107 for light trade weights and $102-$124 for 3 score trade weights up to 21kg cwt. Processors paid $95-$114 for light trade weight 2 and 3 score new season lambs and from $111-$138 for medium-heavy 18-22kg 3 scores. The heavy 3 and 4 score trade lambs made $130-$148 and heavy lambs over 24kg cwt sold from $150-$169. A run of 3 and 4 score trade and heavy weight new season lambs averaged an estimated 565c/kg.

The sheep were mainly heavy weights in 3-5 score condition. Prices were generally $3-$5 easier, but rams sold equal to dearer in places. Medium weight 2 and 3 score ewe sheep made $82-$100 and averaged an estimated 395c/kg. Heavy 3-5 scores sold from $95-$115 and were estimated at 350c/kg. Heavy weight 2 and 3 score 26-52kg rams made $90-$115.

Muchea lamb prices fall

In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 7000 lambs, 292 fewer than last week, and 7000 sheep, 2138 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was fair, with a good selection of light and trade lambs. Last week’s increase on light and trade lamb values was wiped out, with air freight types back $4-$5. Trade and heavy lambs fell $2-$3 as lamb supply state-wide pours in.

Grazier demand for unfinished crossbred lambs was strong. Young store crossbred light lambs sold firm at $34-$79 to feeders. Air freight types 16-18kg eased $4-$5 to $67-$85. Trade lambs fell $2-$3 to $85-$101, as did heavies at $92-$107. Ram lambs sold mainly to restockers, with light weights making $35 up to $115 for heavy weights, at an average of $73. Hoggets also eased $2-$3 to $80-$86.

The sheep yarding contained well-conditioned mutton drafts and prices were firm on all types. Light weight ewes sold to feeders for $51-$64. Better light weight ewes sold to processors for $60-$77. Heavy ewes made from $70 up to $115for the best with a good fleece. Wethers sold from $68-$111 and live exporters paid $70-$95. Rams sold from $20-$40 for older types and from $40-$70 for better younger types to processors. Feeders paid to $120 for rams in full wool.

Demand for young Merino ewes and wethers was strong and they sold firm. There was strong grazier demand for young Merino ewes at $65-$113, averaging $84. Young Merino wethers sold from $59-$90 to average $78.

Tasmania’s lamb $5-$10 cheaper

At the northern Tasmanian saleyards at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1020 lambs, 170 more than last week, and 680 sheep, 490 more.

The NLRS said about 45 percent of the lambs were new season drafts. The quality of new lambs was very good, with many over 22kg. With only one exporter operating, most prices were $5-$10 cheaper. One strong restocker order from the North West Coast bought most of the trade weight lambs.

Old lambs also met an easier market. Restockers paid $108-$116 for new season lambs. The trade paid $118-$121 for trade weights and $129-$140 for heavy and extra heavy lambs. Trade old lambs made $113-$128 and heavies sold for $130-$132.

Most of the sheep were heavy crossbred ewes that were bought by restockers for $88-$120. The few medium weight sheep made $55-$89.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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