LAMB prices lifted in saleyards early this week despite lower skin values, as wet weather again disrupted turn-off in New South Wales and Victoria.
Export lamb rates were less affected due to many processors conducting maintenance, and declining weight and quality in drafts offered. Domestic trade lamb demand remained strong and restockers were also active.
Increasing numbers of new season lambs are being yarded in saleyards in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, with the National Livestock Reporting Service reporting agents suggesting some producers are marketing lambs earlier because of the strong carcase rates being paid.
At Dubbo on Monday, the light 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $1-$8 skins sold for $76-$118, or 500-611c/kg. The light trade 18.1-22kg lambs with $1-$8 skins made $124-$146, or 580-675c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg trade weights with $11 skins sold for $155, or 626c/kg.
At Corowa, the light young lambs with $4-$6 skins made $93-$123, or 647-688c/kg, and the medium trade weight new season lambs with $9 skins sold for $165, or 709c/kg.
At Forbes on Tuesday, 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $6-$8 skins sold from $90-$126, or 635-667c/kg. The light trade weight young lambs with $6-$8 skins made $130-$151, or 643-675c/kg, and the heavy 22.1-24kg trade weights with $7 skins made $157-$164, or 652-654c/kg.
At Deniliquin, the 1.8-22kg new season lambs with $6-$7 skins sold for $136-$152, 637-664c/kg, the 22.1-24kg lines with $6-$7 skins made $152-$164, or 646-665c/kg, and the heavy 24.1-26kg young lambs with $7-$8 skins sold for $168.60-$172, or 643-646c/kg.
In Victoria at Bendigo on Monday, the light new season lambs with $4-$5 sold from $95-$102, or 535-539c/kg. The 18.1-22kg young lambs with $5-$7 skins made $128-$146.50, or 615679c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg lines with skins valued at up to $6 sold for $144-$161, or 608-689c/kg.
At Ballarat on Tuesday, the 16.1-18kg young lambs with $5 skins made $110-$127, or 618-678c/kg. The 18.1-22kg new season lambs with $6 skins sold for $121-$148, or 622-676c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg lambs with $7 skins made $167 or 681c/kg.
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange on Tuesday, the light young lambs with $2-$6 skins sold from $60-$113, or 414-629c/kg. The light trade 18.1-22kg new season lambs made $112-$136, or 530-620c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg line with $6 skins made $142-$150, or 567-626c/kg.
Naracoorte agents sold light new season lambs with $2 skins for $93-$102, or 607-625c/kg. The 20.1-22kg lambs with $3 skins made $150, or 668c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg lambs with $7 skins sold for $162, or 646c/kg.
NLRS indicators start to lift again
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for the lamb categories were all higher, except for Merino lambs. The ESDIs for lambs are: restocker 548c/kg, up 21 cents; Merino 558c/kg, down 3c; light 55c/kg, up 9c; trade 621c/kg, up 9c; heavy 631c/kg, up 3c. The national trade lamb indicator rose 9 cents to 623c/kg and the heavy indice closed up 2 cents to 631c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton finished up 2 cents to 384c/kg and the national indice rose 1 cent to 382c/kg.
NLRS over-the-hook indicators
In New South Wales, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb indicators as unchanged this week, due to all taking a wait-and-see approach. Merino lamb rates eased, as did medium and heavy weight mutton quotes.
NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 540-670c/kg; 230-24kg, 580-670c/kg; 24-26kg, 580-620c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 470-550c/kg, down 13 cents. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 100-330c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 200-380c/kg, down 2 cents; 24kg+, 300-400c/kg, down 2c.
In Victoria, the NLRS quoted trade and heavy weight over-the-hook lamb indicators as moving higher week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 647c/kg cwt, while light weight and Merino categories were steady. Mutton indicators were unchanged on week-ago levels, with medium weights averaging 350c/kg cwt.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 630-640c/kg, nc; 18-22kg, 630-670c/kg, up 7c; 22-24kg, 610-670c/kg, up 10c; 24-26kg, 610-630c/kg, up 10c; 26kg+, 630c/kg, up 20c; Merinos 16-22kg, nc. The sheep rates: 14-18kg, 320-330c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 340-360c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 300-360c/kg, nc.
In South Australia, the NLRS said trade and heavy weight lamb over-the-hook indicators lifted an average of 7c/kg cwt week-on-week, while light and Merino lambs were firm. Mutton indicators were unchanged across all weight range categories.
South Australia’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 510c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 590-670c/kg, up 7c; 24-26kg, 590-630c/kg, up 7c; Merinos 16-22kg, 550c/kg, nc. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 260-380c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 280-380c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 300-360c/kg, nc.
In Tasmania, the NLRS said the OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-16kg, 530-560c/kg; 16-26kg+, 540-560c/kg. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 270-300c/kg; 14-18kg, 280-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 280-310c/kg; 24kg+, 270-290c/kg.
The Western Australian OTH rates were not available when this article was published.
Dubbo’s heavy lambs $5 dearer
IN New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 27,700 lambs, 11,585 fewer than last week, and 5600 sheep, 1563 less.
The NLRS said the good quality yarding had a good mix of both trade and heavy weight lambs, along with a few pens of well-presented new season lambs. Light weight lambs sold to processors were $2-$4 cheaper, with the 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $63-$116. Trade lambs were firm to $3 dearer, with the trade weight new season lambs making $124-$155. The 3 score old lambs sold from $102-$164 to average around 635c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $5 dearer and extra heavy weights were firm. The over 22kg 4 score lambs sold from $146-$213, mostly making 610-655c/kg. Merino lambs were firm to $4 cheaper, with the trade weights making $92-$138 and the heavier weight Merinos selling to $154. Restockers paid to $105 and hoggets made to $128.
Most sheep sold $4-$7 cheaper. The 2 score ewes made $41-$80. The better 3 and 4 score Merinos sold from $75-$115 and crossbreds made to $120. Merino wethers sold to $134.
Corowa’s trade lambs sell firm
At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 7770 lambs, 3105 fewer than last week, and 2350 sheep, 452 more.
The NLRS said the lamb offering reduced due to continuing wet conditions hampering truck access. Quality was mixed. The yarding consisted of mainly good trade lambs, quite a few secondary lambs, fewer heavy weights and some of the first new season lambs. Export processors attended but were not active due to plant maintenance or killing contracted lambs.
All classes of trade lambs sold firm. Light weights made $115-$135, medium trade weights $130-$160 and heavy trade lambs sold for $145-$165. Skin values continue to decline, but mostly on the crossbreds. Trade lamb prices mostly sold from 626-667c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs were $3 dearer at $148-$184. The extra heavy lambs didn’t have the weight of previous sales and sold from $185-$196. Heavy Merino lambs made to $150.
Sheep quality was mixed, with all weights and grades represented. Not all exporters operated on the mutton. Heavy Merino ewes sold to $125 and crossbred ewes made to $113.
Strong demand for well-finished lambs at Tamworth
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3330 lambs, 480 more than last week, and 2650 sheep, 2200 more.
The NLRS said the improved quality lamb offering included some good runs of well-finished lambs off crop and supplementary fed, more heavy lambs and some light plain lines.
Demand was strong for the well-finished trade and heavy weights with prices firm to slightly dearer in places. Light store lambs also attracted keen competition from restockers to put on crops.
The mixed yarding of sheep consisted mainly of medium weight lines and a few pens of well-finished heavy mutton. Most sheep sold similar to last week.
Forbes’s new season lambs make $130-$164
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 24,700 lambs, 7850 fewer than last week, and 4150 sheep, 2700 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality reduced, with more plainer lambs penned with the well-finished lots. Most lambs were heavy and extra heavy weights. The usual buyers competed in the firm to slightly dearer market.
Prices were fairly for the 3800 new season lambs offered. Trade and heavy weight lambs sold from $130-$164. Old light weight lambs lifted $3 to $112-$123. Trade weights were firm to $3 better at $124-$150.
Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were fairly firm. Heavy lambs sold from $145-$167 and extra heavies made $154-$218. Carcase prices averaged 596-637c/kg.
Sheep quality was very mixed, but prices remained strong. Merino ewes sold from $74-$141. Crossbreds made $78-$125 and Merino wethers sold from $99-$124.
Deniliquin’s new season lambs sell to $172
At the Deniliquin saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4807 lambs, 3626 more than two weeks ago, and 2231 sheep, 1866 more.
The NLRS said quality improved for the best yarding held at the centre this winter. The offering included about 900 head new season young lambs which displayed good finish and carcase quality. All the regular buyers attended in a strong market that matched recent local sales, although prices showed some corrections when compared to the last sale a fortnight ago.
The new season lambs sold to $172, for second cross lambs estimated at nearly 26kg cwt with an $8 skin. Most of the young lambs were neat trade weights in the 20-24kg range and made $136-$164, to average around 650c/kg.
The heaviest of the old season lambs sold to $176 and the best heavy trade weights made $140-$170. On a carcase basis, quality old season lambs made 610-640c/kg. Plainer and secondary lambs, and odd pen-lots of a few head sold at lower rates according to size and quality.
The sheep some good lines of Merino ewes. Prices were solid, with the main lines of heavy Merino ewes selling from $93-$135, to average an estimated 385c/kg.
Bendigo lambs $5-$10 dearer
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 7223 lambs, 3033 fewer than last week, and 3176 sheep, 1437 more.
The NLRS said it was the smallest lamb yarding this winter. There was some well-finished lambs off grain, but quality tailed off very quickly into small and mixed pen-lots as the last of the old season lambs are cleared out.
The market was dearer by about $5-$10, regaining some of the previous week’s losses, with reports the wet weather has again disrupted the movement of stock to abattoirs. Some domestic buyers purchased lambs that were trucked out for an immediate kill.
Buyers remained cautious on lamb skin values, with most still working on returns of just $3-$7.
The market reached a top of $210 for export lambs estimated to weigh 31kg. It was the only sale over $200, with most heavy lambs above 26kg cwt, selling from $170-$196. Bidding was keenest on supermarket-style lambs, with the best pens making $140-$170 at up to an estimated 680c/kg. Once prices from the general run of trade weight lambs were mixed in, most slaughter lambs over 22kg were averaging from 630-650c/kg.
About 400 new season young lambs were yarded and the best heavy trade weights made $161. Most of the new season lambs were lighter types, sometimes lacking finish, with agents suggesting the strong carcase rates are encouraging some farmers to sell early. Competition for light kill lambs was more animated than in the previous fortnight, with most sales from $85-$118.
Not all the usual buyers operated on the sheep. The mutton market showed a cheaper trend, particularly on pens of extra heavy crossbred ewes, which made $100-$116. Some quality lines of Merino wethers not available at recent sales sold from $110-$125.
Ballarat lambs firm to $5 dearer
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 7237 lambs, 2351 fewer than last week, and 3896 sheep, 2056 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality ranged from plain to a few pens of well finished lambs for the usual buyers.
Lambs generally sold from firm to $5 up on last week. The best heavy lambs made to $196 and the better covered heavier trade weights sold from $141-$170. A few pens of young lambs sold to $167. Medium weight Merino lambs sold from $86-$106 and the lighter drafts made $62-$90.
Restockers were active and paid to $175 for first cross ewe lambs and $65-$110 for other lambs. Feeders were very active and paid mostly $104-$146 for large numbers. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $62-$100. Light weight 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $87-$138 and averaged around 630c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs made $133-$157, with heavier drafts making $141-$170, or 600-705c/kg, averaging around 660-665c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $150-$196. Heavy hoggets made $82-$136.
The sheep included covered all weights and grades. More shorn Merino sheep were penned. Sheep mostly sold similar to last week, but heavier crossbred ewes were easier in places. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $50-$76 and very light sheep made $35-$61. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $64-$110, or 310-420c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 390c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $85-$130. Heavy Merino wethers made $106-$108 at around 405c/kg and medium weights sold from $74-$95. Restockers paid $85-$106 for some large runs of shorn Merino wethers. Rams of all weights sold from $82-$131.
Dublin old lamb prices lift
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange the agents yarded 4966 lambs, 3243 fewer than last week, and 1638 sheep, 1360 less.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers attended, but not all were active. There were several restocker orders. Quality fell, with most of offering Merino lambs.
Light weight lamb prices lifted, with the heavier lines selling firm to slightly easier. More new season lambs were offered, with lighter weights making $94-$113 and the heavier types $130-$150. A run of extra light new season Merino lambs sold from $36-$70 to restockers.
In the old lamb section, light weight lambs lifted up to $7 to $66-$92. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $90-$116 and trade weight 3 scores mainly sold from $112-$134, averaging 570c/kg. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $120-$154 and extra heavy types sold to $170.
Restockers purchased crossbred lambs for $68-$100 and Merinos made $56-$92. Light weight Merino lambs sold to the trade at $50-$92 and light trade 2 and 3 score types made $82-$96. Trade weight Merino lambs sold from $90-$126 and heavy types made $118-$140. Light hoggets sold from $60-$102 and heavier types made $96-$140.
Medium weight wethers sold from $80-$110, with some restocker activity. Some excellent pens of heavy Merino wethers made $119-$142, bucking the easier trend to improve in price.
All ewes sold $10 easier. Light weight ewes sold from $33-$74, with some restocker activity. Medium weight ewes made mainly $69-$98 and the best heavy ewes sold from $110-$132. Rams mainly sold from $88-$122.
Naracoorte lamb prices firm despite lower skin values
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1175 lambs, 47 fewer than last week, and 751 sheep, 734 less.
The NLRS said the lamb yarding included a few new season drafts and quality overall was mixed, but mostly plain to average for the usual buyers.
Lamb prices remained unchanged. Buyers advised short length lamb pelts are worth from 0-$2, with best full wool skins valued at up to $7. The few light new season lambs sold for $102 and trade weight 3 scores made $150. The one pen of heavier 4 scores made $162.
Light trade weight 2 and 3 score old lambs sold from $83-$113 and trade weight 3 scores made $106-$130, averaging 590c/kg. The few heavy 3 and 4 scores sold from $148-$158 and averaged 625c/kg to be slightly dearer due to limited numbers. The 2 score hoggets made $58-$96 and heavy weight 3 and 4 scores sold from $92-$120.
Sheep sold around $5 higher. The few light weight 1 and 2 score ewes made $55-$63 and the 2 and 3 score medium weights sold from $75-$105, or an estimated average of 390c/kg. Heavy and extra heavy 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $100-$122 and a pen 5 scores made $130. A run of heavy ewes averaged 375c/kg cwt. The 2 and 3 score rams made $66-$103.
Muchea lamb prices lift late in sale
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9550 lambs, 4733 fewer than last week, and 5570 sheep, 3310 more.
The NLRS said sheep and lamb numbers nearly doubled as better weather allowed stock movement. Lambs again dominated supply with good numbers of supplementary-fed drafts offered.
Processors remained competitive, but the lighter and air freight lamb categories sold easier due to maintenance shut-downs. Lamb prices moved higher towards the end of the sale as buyers pushed to secure adequate numbers.
There was a limited number of new season lambs, with most being lighter weight drafts that made $50-$85. Best trade weight new season lambs mostly made $90-$117, with one heavy draft making $128. Light store lambs sold firm to marginally easier to restockers for $37-$80. Light lambs sold to processors and feeders eased $2-$5 to mostly make $66-$96. Trade lamb sold from $85-$121, with the better prime drafts up to $3 dearer, but the plainer drafts eased by a similar amount. Heavy lambs sold from $110-$129 to be $3 dearer due to better average weights.
Ewe weight and quality was mixed, but some good drafts were offered. Wether, hogget and ram numbers were solid, and firm prices were offered by a strong field of export buyers. The strong wether and ram prices were driven by export demand. Export weight wethers made $90-$127, up $4-$5, with the dearest wethers having big fleeces. Lighter and store wethers sold to feeders made $70-$107, depending on weight and wool length. Wether lambs made from $85-$123 which helped drive lamb price movements. Ram lambs sold from $75-$111, driven by processor and live export competition. Young rams suitable for export feeders made $45-$97, lifting around $8. Old rams sold to processors were $20 dearer at $65-$85.
Tasmania’s lamb prices hold
In Tasmania at the Powranna and Killafaddy saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 800 lambs, 500 fewer than last week, and 800 sheep, 200 more.
The NLRS said lamb prices were generally similar to last week, with regular exporters keen for their share of heavy lambs, while another exporter bought most of the light lambs. Light lambs made $80-$95, light trades $105-$115, trades $113-$142, heavies $139-$151 and extra heavy lambs $149-$168. There were very few store lambs.
All the sheep sold to strong export competition with prices similar to last week, although there weren’t the very heavy sheep from last week. Light sheep sold for $54-$91, medium weights $75-$96 and heavies $98-$99. A couple of pens of ewes due to lamb in August made $78-$80.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.