SALEYARD lamb rates took a dip nationally last week despite a drop in supplies, but mutton rates held relatively firm.
With the Wagga market getting a check in price of $20-plus last week and some rain across New South Wales, some new season lamb producers held back lambs. With new season lamb quality good at Griffith and Cowra, the biggest influences seem to have been buyers having plenty of supplies booked in direct and the continuing old lamb run-out from traders, according to agents. Old lambs suffered the biggest discounts as new season numbers increased.
Meat and Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Reporting Service said the Eastern States Trade Lamb Index finished the week on 447c/kg, down 10 cents, and heavy lamb index lost nine cents to close on 449c/kg. The mutton index ended the week on 330c/kg, down three cents.
Over-the-hooks prices remained firm across the country, except for heavy weight lambs in New South Wales, and were generally above saleyard quotes.
Top new season lambs make $138 at Griffith
In New South Wales at Griffith on Friday, agents yarded 11,200 lambs, 8800 fewer, and 3500 sheep, 250 less, for the usual buyers.
The NLRS said lamb quality was fair, with large numbers of well-finished lambs on offer. Lighter lambs were limited in number, though there was a large offering of heavy and extra heavy lambs available.
New season lambs were $8-$12 easier and trade weights sold from $90-$112. Heavy lambs made $108-$122 and extra heavy weights ranged from $115-$138. Carcase prices were from 437c/kg-464c/kg cwt.
Old light lambs averaged $74, with trade weights $15 easier, ranging from $74-$94. Heavy and extra heavy weights slipped $10- $12, as heavy lambs sold from $94-$118 and extra heavy weights from $111-$133.
The mainly Merino mutton was fair in quality and prices eased slightly. Merino ewes sold from $77-$110 and crossbreds made $71-$97.
Landmark Griffith agent Rob Makepeace said the Wagga price drop last week, more than recent rain, kept some lambs in the paddock. New season lamb quality was excellent, but more rain was needed to help move store sheep in the region, he said.
Quality tempers new season price drop at Cowra
At Cowra on Friday, agents yarded 6620 lambs, 3910 fewer, and 1400 sheep, 420 more.
The NLRS said the 4100 new season lambs were of good quality, but the older grades were a little mixed and mainly trade and heavy lambs with a few lighter lambs. All buyers were present but not all operated.
Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs were $5 cheaper and averaged 470c/kg cwt. The heavy trade weights mostly sold from $108-$114. Heavyweights were $9/head cheaper and averaged 452c/kg cwt. Most pens sold from $113-$120.
Old trade weight lambs were $12 cheaper and averaged 389c/kg cwt. Heavyweights were $16 cheaper and averaged from 396c/kg-404c/kg cwt. The odd pen of extra heavyweight lambs sold from $113-$116.
Mutton quality was good with some larger lines of heavy sheep. Heavy first cross ewes were firm and averaged $85.10 or 252c/kg cwt. Heavy wethers were slightly dearer and averaged $84.80 or 281c/kg cwt.
NC Bellamy agent at Cowra, Damien Stephenson, said the market fared “pretty well” after the Wagga check last week, considering the numbers of old lambs still coming through and the influence of consignments booked direct to processors.
The NLRS said over-the-hooks lamb rates in NSW were steady across most weight ranges, except for extra heavy weight lambs which fell around 10c/kg cwt. The average 2-4 score rates were: 18-20kg, 490c/kg; 20-22kg, 488c/kg; 22-24kg, 489c/kg; 24-26kg, 485c/kg.
Merino lamb OTH rates, 2-4 score, also edged slightly lower to average 390c/kg for 16-22kg lambs. The average 2-4 score OTH mutton rates were mostly firm at 14-18kg, 262c/kg; 17-24kg, 294c/kg and 24kg+, 310c/kg.
New season prices hold up well at Shepparton
In Victoria at Shepparton on Friday, agents yarded 2291 young lambs and 561 old lambs, 2235 more, and 740 sheep, 353 more.
The NLRS said the number of buyers increased for the start to the centre’s new season lamb turn-off due to the larger penning and quality improvement, with two major supermarkets, several trade operators and export companies operating. Quality was good to very good for young lambs and average to good for the old lambs, with most weights represented. Sheep were mainly of medium to extra heavy weights and of 2-5 score condition.
Cheaper prices for young lambs the previous day led to supply held back from the initial higher draw, the NLRS said. Prices held up well with trade weight young lambs averaging 495c/kg and heavy weights 470c/kg cwt. The few old lambs and sheep were cheaper, with trade weight old lambs equal to $5 easier and heavy weights on average $20 lower. Sheep sold $8-$12 easier.
The 3 score medium to heavy trade weight young lambs sold from $94-$115, while 4 score heavy export weights were between $114-$129/head.
The old 3 score trade weight lambs sold from $74-$90 and averaged 420c/kg cwt, while the old 4 score heavy weights made $85-$112/head and averaged 390c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score hoggets made $72-$85.
A run of 2 to 4 score sheep averaged 250c/kg cwt. The medium weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $50-$62 with Merino wethers to $72. The heavy 3 to 5 score sheep made $60-$75 with a pen of Merino wethers at $85. Heavy 2 and 3 score rams made $35-$55.
Over-the-hooks rates in Victoria for lamb were mostly firm with the majority of contributors now quoting new season lambs, the NLRS said. The average 2-4 score quotes were 18-22kg, 540c/kg; 22-24kg, 538c/kg; 24-26kg, 533c/kg, and; Merinos 16-22kg, 420c/kg.
Mutton OTH rates lifted slightly to average at 14-18kg, 291c/kg; 18-24kg, 323c/kg, and 24kg+, 316c/kg.
OTH rates in SA, Tasmania and WA unchanged
In South Australia, the NLRS said the majority of contributors left lamb and mutton rates unchanged, with the market reportedly remaining fairly steady. The average 2-4 score lamb rates in South Australia were 18-24kg, 530c/kg and 24-26kg, 520c/kg, while the mutton quotes were 14-18kg, 220c/kg and 18-24+, 300c/kg.
In Western Australia, the average 2-4 score OTH lamb rates were 16-18kg, 535c/kg; 18-22kg, 575c/kg, 22-24kg, 580c/kg and 24-26+, 575c/kg. The mutton averages were 14-18kg, 255c/kg and 18-24kg+, 277c/kg.
In Tasmania, the average 2-4 score OTH lamb rates were 16-18kg, 550c/kg and 18-26kg, 565c/kg. The average 2-4 score mutton rates were 14-18kg, 370c/kg; 18-24kg, 385c/kg and 24kg+, 370c/kg.
AuctionsPlus numbers back by 5000
Sheep and lamb numbers listed on AuctionsPlus were back by 5,000 to 37,030 last week, with mix in quality giving fluctuating and generally softer results.
Merino ewe hoggets made $85.50-$121 on AuctionPlus last week, while unjoined proven breeders sold from $35 for aged ewes to $100 for Collinsville blood three-year-olds.
Scanned aged ewes made $65.50-$98, and scanned mixed age lines sold from $92.50 to a top of $150 for ewes in lamb to White Suffolk out of South Australia. Multi-purpose breeds sold well this week, with 15-month-old unjoined F3 Dohne ewes at Hay making $95.50-$150.50 and at Broken Hill, a large line of F2 Dohne ewe lambs weighing 42kg live sold for $130.
The 2013-drop first cross ewe lambs offered made from $143-$169.50, and quality new season ewe lambs out of Walgett weighing 28kg live made $109.50.
New season Merino wether lambs sold from $49.50 to a top of $72 for April/May drop 37kg live lambs at Keith. Wether hoggets made $75-$76. Processors were outbid by restockers on any suitable lines, though there was renewed interest from exporters.
New season store lambs, including future breeders, were the better performers this week, with a top price of $90 for March/April drop first crosses weighing 32kg. Another offering of first crosses made $86-$86.50, and an offering of 38kg-40kg Border-Merinos sold for $85.50-$89.50.
Sources: MLA-NLRS, AuctionsPlus.
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