SLAUGHTER lamb prices lifted in Victoria, but were firm to cheaper in New South Wales saleyards mid-week as sales recommenced after the Easter break.
With more lambs yarded in most centres since their last sale two weeks ago, including 13,400 more at Wagga on Thursday, some major domestic processors were very selective.
In New South Wales trade lambs generally sold firm to $1-$4 cheaper, heavy lambs were up to $5 cheaper and processor demand was also weaker on light lambs.
But in Victoria, prices were firm to dearer for light and trade weight processing lambs, tending to equalise with the NSW rates, but slightly dearer – 20-40c/kg — by comparison on secondary lambs. Hamilton’s trade lambs improved $4-$6 and light lambs sold $5-$9 dearer.
Restocker demand continued to be strong in the eastern states, with buyers travelling from interstate to NSW and Victorian saleyards to pay up to 580-690c/kg for select lines at Wagga, Carcoar and Hamilton, and especially seeking lines with a good fleece return.
NLRS lamb indicators mostly lower
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb are: restocker 551c/kg, up 12 cents; Merino 471c/kg, down 4c; light 515c/kg, down 1c; trade 526c/kg, down 5c; heavy 519c/kg, down 6c. The national trade lambs indicator closed 6 cents down to 523c/kg and the heavy indice finished on 519c/kg, down 5 cents.
The ESDI for mutton finished on 302c/kg, up 2 cents, and the national indicator also rose 2 cents, to 300c/kg.
Carcoar’s trade lambs $4 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday, the agents yarded 11,500 lambs, 2350 more than last week, and 4700 sheep, 1225 more.
The NLRS said the fair quality yarding had some good runs of trade weight lambs and a good selection of lighter lambs to suit restockers and processors. Extra heavy weight lambs were in limited supply.
Light lambs sold $1-$3 cheaper to processors, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $65-$97. Lambs sold to restockers were $1-$2 cheaper at $60-$117. Trade lambs finished $4 cheaper, with the 18-23kg 3 scores making $92-$126 and averaging 495c/kg cwt.
Heavy weight lambs up to 24kg cwt were firm to $2 cheaper and extra heavy weights over 24kg sold $3 dearer. The 4 score 22-26kg lines sold from $116-$138 and the extra heavy weights made to $163. Hoggets sold to $110.
The mixed sheep yarding contained most grades. Most grades of ewes sold $2-$6 dearer and wethers were mostly firm. The 2 score ewes sold from $30-$62, while the better 3 and 4 score crossbreds made $63-$100 and Merinos sold to $105. Merino wethers sold to $90.
Wagga’s trade lambs $1-$3 cheaper
At the Wagga saleyards yesterday, the agents yarded 43,000, 13,400 more than last week, and 12,000 sheep, 3380 more.
With the lamb sale resuming after the Easter holiday break, numbers lifted considerably. Quality was quite good over all weight categories. Grain-fed and lambs finished on lucerne attracted the best competition and demand was solid for the plainer types. Not all buyers operated fully, with major domestic processors notably selective.
Well-finished grained trade lambs commanded premium prices touching firm throughout the sale, while dry skinned lambs sold to weaker demand. Generally trade lambs were $1-$3 cheaper, averaging 517c/kg cwt.
Merino trade lambs were keenly sought with large numbers in full wool. Merino trade lambs sold from $98-$130. Lighter weight lambs suitable to restock or feed, sold to orders from Birchip, Ballarat, Echuca, Forbes and the local area. Plainer light weight lambs struggled to attract demand, with prices easing up to $9, while well-bred lambs were unchanged at $102-$118.
Heavy and extra heavy lamb numbers increased, with plenty of weight and yield on offer, and a good selection over 30kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold $5 cheaper to average 510c/kg cwt. Extra heavy lambs sold to strong demand from a single major exporter, which helped prices firm as the sale progressed. Sales ranged from $140-$184, to average around 480-504c/kg.
The mixed quality offering of mutton had all weights and grades represented. Heavy mutton was mostly unchanged to average 308c/kg and sell from $85-$109. Trade categories sold to fluctuating prices, with buyers keen to purchase the longer wool lines. The better-covered trade sheep made from $70-$96. Plain light weight ewes were keenly sought after, lifting $3-$6, and making from $32-$64.
Hamilton’s trade lambs lift $4-$6
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 11,408 lambs, 3662 more than the last sale, and 3774 sheep.
The NLRS said lamb quality ranged from very good to average, with the trade weights varying on cover, suiting domestic and export processors. Most of the usual domestic and export buyers operated in a dearer sale compared to two weeks ago.
Light lambs were $5-$9 dearer, medium trade weights mostly $4-$6 better and heavy lambs were firm to $3 dearer. Restockers were active from South Australia, Swan Hill and Shepparton buying light store lambs from $37-$79 and more covered 2 scores from $68-$95, paying over 600c/kg cwt at times to secure numbers. A line of light crossbred ewe lambs made $84-$89, averaging 685c/kg cwt.
Light 2 score lambs sold to processors for $84-$98, while lighter trade 2 and 3 scores made $90-$112, ranging from 550-570c/kg cwt. The medium trade weight 3 score lambs ideal for the domestic markets sold from $107-$133, averaging 555c/kg, and heavier drafts made $130-$142, averaging an estimated 537c/kg. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $138-$168 and the top pen of extra heavy lambs estimated at weighing 34kg cwt sold for $185, all ranging from 510-520c/kg.
The mixed sheep yarding was mostly Merinos. Many light weights generally also sold to a dearer trend to be up $2-$3. Very light 1 score sheep made $13-$53, while light weight 1 and 2 scores sold from $45-$65. Medium trade mutton made from $62-$80, averaging close to 330c/kg. Heavy sheep sold from $78-$103 and best of the Merino wethers made $70-$79. Good covered hoggets sold from $105-$120 and better rams of all breeds made $68-$85.
Horsham lambs firm
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8975 lambs, 1677 more than the last sale, and 2237 sheep, 219 more.
The NLRS said most of the regular buyers attended the first sale after the Easter break. Quality was average to good with trade weight and heavy lambs in reasonable numbers.
The best of the extra heavy lambs made to $181. Trade weight lambs sold from $124-$139 at around 535c/kg cwt, with domestic orders at times stepping up in weight and paying to $150. Lambs generally sold similar to the sale of two weeks ago to be $1-$2 either side of firm. Heavier Merino lambs sold from $115-$126. Restockers mostly paid $87-$105.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $78-$87. Lighter trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $86-$122 and averaged around 540c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $116-$126, with the heavier drafts selling from $128-$139, or 500-555c/kg, to average around 535c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $135.50-$166 and extra heavy export lambs made $165-$181, at around 500c/kg.
The sheep sold a few dollars dearer than the sale of two weeks ago, with not all major buyers operating fully. Restockers paid $90.50-$95 for young Merino ewes and to $98 for older Merino ewes. Well-presented Merino ewes with nearly full wool sold to $110. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $40-$65. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $62-$100 and ranged from 295c-360c, with Merino mutton averaged around 320c/kg cwt. Heavy 3-5 score sheep made $79.50-$93. Medium weight Merino wethers sold to $90 and heavy Merino wethers made $83-$100.
Katanning’s heavy lambs sell to $110
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards, the agents yarded 4327 lambs, 1819 more than last week, and 3000 sheep, 303 fewer.
The NLRS said quality was mixed. Light weight lambs sold from $62-$95 depending on condition and trade weights made $99-$110. Merino trade weight lambs sold to $80. Heavy lambs sold for $110-$115. Light store crossbred lambs sold to restockers and feeders from $22 up to $110 for bigger framed drafts. Merino store lambs sold from $12 for light plainer lines up to $90 for better quality drafts.
Well-conditioned sheep continued to sell to strong demand, with graziers locking in the store lines. Mutton prices eased by $5-$10, with light ewes selling from $39-$41. Ewes sold to restockers for $20-$45. Plainer light weight wethers sold to restockers and feeders for $29 and quality lines made up to $103. Wethers sold to processors for $45-$90. Young rams sold restockers for up to $85 and processors paid $5-$30 for older lines.
Warwick lambs sell to $137
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1775 lambs and hoggets, and 398 sheep.
Prices were fully firm with lighter lambs a shade dearer for the similar yarding of lambs and a smaller sheep offering. The top-priced crossbred lambs made $137 for D.J. and N.A. Lindsay of Warra.
Crossbred lambs 46-55kg lwt sold from $122-$137, the 41-45kg lambs made $109-$115.50, 36-40kg lines sold for $98-$105 and 30-35kg lambs made $75-$86.
Shorn crossbred hoggets, 68.3kg lwt, made to $95. Trade wethers with $7 skins sold to $81, or 315c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes with $8 skins sold to $94, or 315c/kg cwt, and light ewes with $4 skins made to $50, or 230c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.