SLAUGHTER lamb prices edged slightly higher in saleyards this week, as yardings at most eastern states’ centres continued to fall.
Not all the usual domestic and export buyers were active at all saleyards and restocker enquiry was also more selective.
In New South Wales, with prices for 18-24kg 3 score trade lambs improved from around $88-$138 or 384-585c/kg cwt at Dubbo on Monday to $95-$137 or 470-546c/kg at Forbes on Tuesday, where more lambs in the range made more than 450c/kg cwt.
At Bendigo in Victoria, quality trade lamb prices lifted $3-$5 and heavy lamb rates also improved. The centre’s 18-24kg cwt lambs made $93-$135 or 364-566c/kg. Ballarat’s best trade lambs lifted $2-$4 and heavy lambs were up to $10 dearer, with the centre’s 18-24kg lines making $94-$138 or 479-575c/kg.
Skin values helped Merino lambs prices this week and rates for other light and restocker lambs fell $2-$4 at Dubbo and $12-$14 at Naracoorte, but were firm to dearer elsewhere.
NLRS over-the-hook lamb rates lower
In New South Wales, the National Livestock Reporting Service said lamb over-the-hook indicators this week were marginally lower. However, most processors elected to leave their rates unchanged after lamb saleyard prices remained steady last week. Mutton rates across all weight categories are steady.
NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 460-530c/kg, down 2 cents; 20-24kg, 490-530c/kg, down 2c; 24-26kg+, 490-520c/kg, down 2c; Merinos 16-22kg, 390-470c/kg, no change. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 190-280c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 240-300c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 260-300c/kg, nc.
In Victoria, the NLRS said over-the-hook lamb indicators were lower across most categories week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 533c/kg cwt. Merino lambs averaged 10c/kg cwt dearer this week. Mutton indicators edged slightly higher, with medium weights averaging 295c/kg cwt.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-22kg, 510-540c/kg, down 3-5 cents;22-24kg, 500-540c/kg, down 13c; 24-26kg, 500-520c/kg, down 5c; 26kg+, 500c/kg, down 10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 480-520c/kg, up 10c. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 270-280c/kg, up 3c; 18-24kg, 280-300c/kg, up 3c; 24kg+, 240-300c/kg, up 2c.
In South Australia, the NLRS said trade and heavy lamb over-the-hook categories were slightly lower week-on-week, while light and Merino lambs were unchanged. Mutton indicators were steady, with medium weights averaging 255c/kg cwt.
South Australia’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 500c/kg, no change; 18-24kg, 500-540cx/kg, down 3c; 24-26kg+, 500c/kg, down 3c; Merinos 16-22kg, 470c/kg, nc. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 190-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 210-300c/kg; 24kg+, 170-300c/kg.
In Western Australia, the NLRS quoted OTH rates for lambs and sheep as unchanged. WA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 440-450c/kg; 18-22kg, 470-550c/kg; 22-26kg, 490-550c/kg; 26kg+, 470-490c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 420-460c/kg. The mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 260-270c/kg; 18-24kg, 250-270c/kg; 24kg+, 240-260c/kg.
In Tasmania, the NLRS quoted OTH rates for lambs and sheep as unchanged on last week. Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-16kg, 500-530c/kg; 16-20kg, 500-520c/kg; 20-26kg, 500-510c/kg; 26kg+, 480-505c/kg. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 260-280c/kg; 14-24kg, 270-300c/kg; 24kg+, 260-270c/kg.
NLRS eastern states lamb indicators turn around
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, most NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators moved slightly upward, except for restocker and Merino lambs. The lamb indicators are: restocker 506c/kg, down 8 cents; Merino 469c/kg, down 4c; light 485c/kg, up 1c; trade 505c/kg, up 2c; heavy 501c/kg, up 1c. The national trade lamb indicator improved 2 cents to 503c/kg and the heavy indice was firm on 500c/kg.
The ESTLI for mutton lifted 4 cents to 320c/kg and the national indicator rose 5 cents to 321c/kg.
Dubbo’s lambs $2-$5 cheaper
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 28,505 lambs, 110 more than last week, and 11,600 sheep, 825 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said it was a very mixed yarding with some top heavy weight lambs and only a fair selection of trade weights. A good percentage of the lambs lacked finish.
Light weight lambs sold $2-$4 cheaper to processors, with 12-18kg 2 scores selling from $57-$91. Light trade lambs were $5 cheaper and the heavier weights were firm. The 18-23kg 3 scores sold from $82-$127 to average 485-500c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs sold firm to $3 cheaper, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $115-$170. Merino lambs finished firm to a little dearer, with the trade weights selling from $83-$123 and heavier weights making to $128. Restockers paid to $113 and hoggets sold to $110.
Woolly sheep made up a large percentage of the fair mutton yarding and most sold $5-$8 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $15-$80, while the better 3 and 4 score crossbreds made $61-$115 and Merinos sold to $112. Merino wethers sold to $102.
Tamworth’s well-finished lambs sell firm to dearer
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 2300 lambs, 1950 fewer than last week, and 2050 sheep, 20 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair to good, with a reasonable selection of well-finished, quality lambs for the usual buyers.
The smaller lamb yarding resulted in a solid market trend for well-finished trade and heavy weights. Market trends in both categories were firm to slightly dearer. Secondary quality lambs attracted little competition, selling to a cheaper trend. There was some restocker competition for good quality store lambs, but demand for secondary quality lambs was minimal.
There were more wethers and sheep with increased skin values. Market trends were mostly dearer, with the increased skin values lifting dollar per head prices.
Forbes’ trade lambs $2-$5 dearer
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 22,250 lambs, 694 fewer than last week, and 8350 sheep, 3327 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to previous sales. There were some good runs of well-finished lambs and a large percentage of plainer drier types. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were well-supplied. An extra buyer competed in the firm to dearer market.
Light lambs lifted $5 to $94-$108. Trade weights were $2-$5 dearer at $103-$127. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were fairly firm. Heavy lambs sold from $128-$137 and extra heavies made $136-$176. Carcase prices averaged 490-520c/kg.
Sheep quality continues to be mixed. Most were Merinos and prices lifted. Merino ewes sold from $72-$115 and crossbreds made $77-$110. Dorper ewes sold from $62-$85. Merino wethers made $78-$119.
Bendigo’s best 26-30kg lambs dearer
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 0,000 lambs, 4180 fewer than last week, and 3000 sheep, 2950 less.
The NLRS said there was a much smaller yarding of lambs and sheep despite the break in selling coming during the Anzac Day holiday next Monday. Lamb quality was plainer, with fewer well-finished trade and export slaughter lambs. The market was stronger, though not all the regular domestic and export orders were active.
Bidding was most robust on quality trade weight lambs, which were $3-$5 dearer. Competition on heavier lambs over 26kg cwt remained selective, although these classes still recorded price gains compared to a week ago.
Light weight lambs sold firm to a few dollars dearer to processors and restockers. The market reached a top of $170 for heavy export lambs weighing over 32kg cwt. There was a noticeable decline in the supply of heavy lambs, with about six pens over 30kg which made up to $170. There were some flat spots in bidding for the next run of lambs weighing 26-30kg, although the best quality pens averaged dearer than last week. The best pens of trade weight lambs in fat score 3 and 4 condition sold from $118-$144, or around 500-530c/kg.
Processors and restockers competed keenly for well-bred light weight lambs at $80-$103 at the top end of the market. Smaller and plainer lambs made $48-$65. Store lambs went to Swan Hill, Echuca, Bendigo and Shepparton. Trade weight Merino lambs with a high value skin sold to $118. More than 200 young Merino ewe lambs went back to the paddock at $113, boosting the restocker price average for the category.
The sheep were mostly small pen lots of crossbred and Merino ewes, with just an odd bigger line of Merino wethers and ewes. Prices for heavy crossbred ewes were cheaper, while the general run of trade and light weight mutton sold at rates similar to last week.
Ballarat’s heavy lambs lift up to $10
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 20,721 lambs, 1953 fewer than last week, and 8299 sheep, 828 less.
The NLRS said an average to good quality lamb yarding was offered to the usual buyers.
Most agents yarding lead pens of extra heavy export lambs were of outstanding quality and finish, with estimated carcass weights around 35kg. These lambs sold to $183, with eight pens selling over $165 and three lines making above $180.
Lambs generally sold to a dearer trend, with the better covered trade weight lambs $2-$4 dearer. The heavy and extra heavy lambs were mostly $3-$5 and up to $10 dearer. Restockers and feeders competed against processors for the large numbers of suitable lambs. Restocker lambs mostly sold from $80-$118 with lighter lots making $52-$80. Restockers paid from $32-$55 for light young Merino lambs and $80.50 for first cross ewe lambs.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $72-$91. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $80-$120 and averaged around 530c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $110-$125, with the heavier drafts making $123-$138, or 510-560c/kg to average around 530c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $131-$158 and extra heavy lambs made $165-$183, averaging around 485c/kg.
More light and plainer sheep were penned this week. The good numbers of near-full wool Merino wethers and ewes attracted keen competition. Sheep generally sold a little dearer, with Merino wethers up to $5 better. Some heavy crossbred sheep sold a little easier.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $42-$83. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $42-$95, or 200-325c/kg cwt. Merino mutton averaged around 320c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $70-$115. Heavy Merino wethers sold to $100 and medium weights made $58-$100, averaging around 320c/kg.
Dublin’s good trade lambs meet weaker demand
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 12,000 lambs, 3000 more than last week, and 3000 sheep, 1000 more.
The NLRS said the mixed quality crossbred and Merino lambs sold to weakening demand from the usual local and interstate trade and processor buyers. There was no supermarket involvement and two prominent wholesalers didn’t operate on what was a good selection of supplementary fed crossbred, trade weight lambs. There was sporadic feeder and restocker interest on crossbreds and the many light weight Merinos yarded attracted speculative bidding.
Quality, light weight crossbred lambs sold to feeders for $78-$102. Light weight 3 score crossbreds sold to trade and processor buyers from $98-$110, averaging 488c/kg cwt.
Light trade weight 4 score lambs sold from $105-$126 and averaged 496c/kg. Heavy trade weights eased $4 to $110-$138, averaging 485c/kg. Heavy weights sold from $130-$166, or 496-514c/kg. Extreme heavy weights sold to $166.
Light weight Merino lambs sold to restockers for $29-$68 and trade weights eased $5-$11 to processors to $66-$93. Heavy weight Merino lambs eased $4-$10 to $95-$122, or 435-451c/kg cwt. Hoggets were plentiful and prices eased. Heavy weight Merinos sold from $92-$118 and crossbreds made $98-$114.
The generally good selection of sheep sold to much stronger bidding. With an extra Victorian processor attending, prices lifted sharply. Light weight 2 score ewes lifted $9 to $52-$78, averaging 289c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 score ewes lifted $6 to $86-$105, or an average 301c/kg. The few wethers yarded sold from $75-$118 at 262-299c/kg cwt. Heavy rams sold from $81-$104.
Naracoorte’s light trade lambs fall $8-$10
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1897 lambs, 787 fewer than last week, and 1054 sheep, 87 less.
The NLRS said fewer trade and processor buyers attended and not all operated fully. There were also fewer restocker buyers and light lamb prices dropped.
Overall lamb quality was very mixed and prices rose for the few heavy lambs. Light weight lambs sold to the trade for $74-$100. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score types made $84-$108, a fall of $8-$10. Restockers were active, but there wasn’t the usual demand and these lambs sold $12-$14 cheaper at $20-$97. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold firm at $108-$122, or an average of 530c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $128-$155 and the few extra heavy export weight types made to $157.
Hoggets sold from $66-$95, with wethers making $95-$105. Light weight sheep prices rose dramatically, up to $70. Medium weights rose up to $10 to $56-$83, averaging 300c/kg. Heavy ewes sold from $75-$97 and rams mostly made $55-$82.
Muchea’s light lambs up to $7 dearer
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9419 lambs, 1031 fewer than last week, and 4781 sheep, 326 more.
The NLRS said widespread rain had little effect on the supply. Very light and store lambs were available in large numbers and the prime lamb supply was adequate with continued solid direct-to-works deliveries.
Restockers and feeders remained strong on suitable store and light weight lamb drafts. Ewe mutton and wether numbers were similar, but increased competition lifted ewe mutton prices again.
Very light lambs were mostly dearer, with the Merino drafts making $25-$70, up to $7 dearer. Light lambs sold firm to restockers, feeders and air freight processors at $65 and $93.
Trade weight lamb sold to fluctuating competition, with prime drafts back slightly to $90-$107 and plain lines near-equal at $78-$95. Heavy lambs sold to $114, close to last week’s prices.
Ewe mutton sales were strong, with all categories dearer due to increased competition. Light weight drafts made $26-$62, up to $8 dearer. The 2 score medium weight processor mutton sold from $50-$75 to be marginally dearer. Better conditioned and heavy weight ewes lifted $4 to $75-$96, with the dearer ewes having almost full fleeces. Restockers limited their purchases, with ewe hoggets making $30-$55 and bare shorn mature ewes $25-$77.
Wether numbers were limited and they sold at similar prices. Better export quality wethers made $85-$95. Those suitable for restockers and feeders sold from $55 for light weight store drafts up to $101 for longer wool drafts with good frame and condition. Ram prices were equal week-on-week with ram lambs selling to processors for $106 and younger rams suited to live export and export feeders making $35-$80. Old rams sold to processors for $5-$25.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.