Saleyard lamb prices in pre-Christmas dip as season dries

Sheep Central, December 11, 2015

Lambs White Suffolk-Composite x Orange AuctionsPlus Dec11-15SLAUGHTER lamb prices slipped further in saleyards mid-week as up to half of some yardings were made up of lighter lambs suitable for store buyers.

Yardings increased in New South Wales as producers turned off more secondary lambs, but fewer quality trade and heavy lambs.

Quality new season trade lambs at Hamilton on Wednesday were least affected by the lower price push. However, lambs in all states are getting drier in the skin and with not all domestic and export processors operating fully at many yards, pasture/crop restocking and feedlot buyers were also able to pay less to fill orders.

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted its Eastern States Daily Indicators as lower for all lamb and mutton categories, except restocker lambs.

The ESDIs for lamb are: restocker 523c/kg, up 5 cents; Merino 439c/kg, down 16c; light 488c/kg, down 2c; tradfe 507c/kg, down 6c and heavy 524c/kg, down 2c. The national trade lamb indicator is back 6 cents on 507c/kg and the heavy lamb indice is on 525c/kg, down 1 cent.

The ESDI for mutton lost 10 cents on Thursday to close on 292c/kg and the national mutton indicator finished on 291c/kg, down 11 cents.

Carcoar trade lambs $15 cheaper

In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 17,500 lambs, 4250 more than last week, and 7500 sheep, 3500 more.

The NLRS said it was a plain quality yarding, with very limited numbers of ideal trade and heavy weight lambs. More than half of the yarding was light lambs suitable for the store buyers. Not all the regular buyers were operating in a weaker market, with many lambs returning to the paddock.

Light lambs sold to processors were $11 cheaper, with the 12-18kg cwt score 2 lines selling from $48-$85. Trade lambs were $15 cheaper, with new season trade weights making $72-$127. Heavy weight lambs were $13-$15 cheaper, with over 22kg new season lambs selling from $119-$144. Young lambs sold to restockers $9-$12 cheaper at $60-$110. Hoggets sold to $94.

Most mutton grades sold $14-$18 cheaper in the mixed quality sheep yarding. The score 2 ewes sold from $25-$48, while better 3 and 4 score crossbreds sold from $40-$85 and the Merinos made to $95. Prime conditioned Merino wethers sold from $70-$85.

Wagga trade lambs $7-$10 cheaper

At the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 35,000 lambs, 5000 more than last week, and 10,000 sheep, 2000 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb numbers increased due to the looming Christmas holiday break. Producers off loaded more secondary lambs, with well-finished, heavy and extra heavy export lambs in short supply. The usual export and domestic buyers attended, but not all operated fully.

Well-bred second cross store lambs were well-supplied and increased restocker activity helped push young lamb prices higher. Store orders were from Leeton, finely, Forbes, Corowa, Yarrawonga and local area.

New season trade lambs were in short supply and sold to erratic prices trends over all categories. Well-finished medium and heavy trade lambs were $7-$10 cheaper. The better finished lambs made from $100-$138 and averaged 490-504c/kg cwt. Shorn heavy trade lambs sold to steady demand with prices holding firm in isolated sales.

Heavy shorn trade lambs eased $6 to average $130. Light trade lambs prices dipped $8 to average $106. Young lambs were in high demand, with prices strengthening $14 and averaging $71. Well-bred second cross lambs made from $76-$111. Feedlot buyers paid from $100-$112.

Heavy lambs were keenly contested, with prices firming as the sale progressed. Heavy lambs made from $142-$170, with a single pen of 200 lambs estimated at 32kg cwt recording a top price of $175.

Merino wethers were keenly sought by restockers due to the cheaper price trends. Mutton sold to weaker demand, with prices generally $8-$10 cheaper. Trade sheep were well-supplied, making $54-82, or 273-309c/kg cwt. Heavy ewes made from $74-$93, averaging 272c/kg. The better conditioned wethers returning to the paddock made $62-$76.

Hamilton’s medium trade lambs sell $2-$3 cheaper

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 52,218 lambs, 6413 fewer than on Monday.

The NLRS said lamb quality varied from very good to mainly average with some plainer lambs. Most weights and grades showed further signs of more dryness in their skins and less condition score. Close to half the offering was made up of well-bred light 1 and 2 score lambs ideal for restockers. An almost full complement of processors attended, but not all operated fully. Store buyers came from the Wimmera, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Albury, South Australia and locally.

Lamb prices were unchanged to slightly weaker by $1-$2, but in some cases firm in later sales on better quality heavy lambs. Medium trade weights were $2-$3 cheaper and lighter weight lamb prices eased by $2-$6 compared to last Wednesday’s record yarding.

Restockers were not as competitive, resulting in a much cheaper trend of $7-$12 for the very light 1 scores at $25-$65. The 2 and 3 scores made $61-$94 to average an estimated 500c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 2 score lambs sold from $72-$102. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 scores made $94-$126, or 450-530c/kg, to average around 495c/kg. Heavier drafts of trade weight 3 and 4 scores sold from $120-$134, or 450-544c/kg, to average close to 515c/kg. Heavy 4 score lambs made from $137-$149 to average 515c/kg. The extra heavy 4 and 5 scores sold from $150-$174 and averaged 505c/kg.

Horsham lamb market firm to easier

At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4607 lambs, 474 fewer than last week, and 3609 sheep, 200 less.

The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, with most of the regular buyers operating in a firm to easier market. The proportion of shorn lambs in good condition increased.

Unshorn lambs sold to $145 and the best shorn lambs made $144. Restocking activity was limited, with these lambs – shorn and woolly — selling from $70-$98.

Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $80-$85. Lighter trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $90-$108, and averaged around 500c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $110-$134, or 485-520c/kg to average around 510c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $135-$145. Heavy shorn lambs made $130-$144 and the trade weights sold from $108-$123.

Restockers paid from $54-$88 for Merino ewes, and-$91 for crossbred ewes. The sheep included all weights and grades, which generally selling to a cheaper trend; from near firm to $8 easier. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $50-$72. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $43-$86, or 205-330c/kg/. Merino sheep averaged around 310c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $66-$97. Heavy Merino wethers made $79 and the medium weights sold from $64-$83, at around 310c/kg.

Hamilton sheep $5-$10 cheaper

At the Hamilton saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 4607 lambs, 474 fewer than last week, and 3609 sheep, 200 fewer.

The NLRS said sheep quality was mixed. After the turn-off and weaning of their lambs, crossbred and Merino ewes of all weights and grades were well-supplied. All the regular buyers attended, but not all operated, and most categories sold to a cheaper trend. Light and medium weight trade sheep, as well as similar weighted Merino wethers, were all $5-$10 cheaper. Heavy weight lines also declined, easing $10-$15.

Some good lines of 4 and 5 year old medium weight crossbred ewes sold to enthusiastic restocker buyers for $76-$100. Heavier 3 and 4 score ewes sold to local restockers, north and south of Hamilton, for $105-$141. Very light 1 score ewes sold from $24-$38, with light weight 2 scores making $45-$65. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $56-$79, averaging 280c/kg cwt. Heavy and extra heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep made $56-$90, averaging close to 230c/kg, but selling up to 275c/kg. 2 and 3 score medium Merino wethers sold from $74-$80, with the heavy weight 3 and 4 scores making $79-$95 and averaging close to 315c/kg. Rams of all breeds, 2 and 3 scores, sold from $23-$62.

Katanning mutton sells strongly

In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 11,000 lambs, 5000 more than last week, and 14,678 sheep, 3324 more.

The NLRS said it was a mixed quality yarding for the usual buyers at Katanning. Graziers bought discounted unfinished lambs. Light weight new season lambs sold from $55-$85 and the trade weights made $88-$125. Heavy weight lambs sold for $118-$127. Lambs suitable for air freight sold from $70-$93. Store crossbred lambs sold to restockers and feeders made from $11 and immature lambs sold to $71. Merino store lambs sold from $10 for very light weights up to $103 for quality lambs.

Mutton prices were very strong, with good quality ewe mutton in demand, lifting prices $10. Graziers bidding strongly on store ewes, with the light ewes making $25-$45. Restockers also paid from $30-$40 for plain light store young Merino ewes and $35-$96 for the young wethers.

Light ewes sold to processors from $35 up to $70 for those with a fleece. The better 3 score bare shorn sheep sold from $65 and ewes with a fleece made to $95. Restockers paid $20-$80 for store Merino ewes. Wethers sold from $35-$100, depending on quality and weight. Young rams sold to $130 and older rams made $5-$65.

Warwick sheep and lamb market firm

In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents sold 1926 lambs and hoggets, and 481 sheep

The market was firm for all descriptions in the larger yarding of sheep and lambs. The top 57.7kg lwt lambs sold for $149 for the Perrottet Pastoral Co of Dirranbandi.

Crossbred lambs, 46-55kg lwt sold from $130-$143; 42-45kg lambs made $120-$128; 36-42kg lambs sold from $108-$115.50 and the 35-40kg lines made $104-$113.50.

Shorn crossbred hoggets, 59.3kg lwt, sold to $89. Trade wethers with $10 skins sold to $95, or 320c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes with $15 skins made to $101, or 515c/kg, and light ewes with $10 skins sold to $58, or 270c/kg.

Sources: NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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