Slaughter lamb and mutton prices hold firm for quality in saleyards

Terry Sim, May 18, 2015
These White Suffolk_Merino cross lambs at Guyra, NSW, sold for $111.50 on AuctionsPlus last week.

These White Suffolk_Merino cross lambs at Guyra, NSW, sold for $111.50 on AuctionsPlus last week.

Quality trade and heavy lambs prices were generally unchanged to dearer at times in saleyards last Friday, with mutton rates also firm for the generally reduce supplies available.

With restocker interest waning as winter approaches, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted it’s Eastern States Daily Indicator for restocking lambs as down four cents to 560c/kg and the Merino indice as down nine cents to 514c/kg.

After Friday’s saleyard sales finished, the NLRS quoted its slaughter lamb indicators as mostly firm. The slaughter lamb ESDIs are: light 548c/kg, no change, but up 15 cents for the week; trade 575c/kg, also unchanged, and up 2 cents, and; heavy 588c/kg, up one cent, making a rise of 12 cents for the week. The national trade lamb indicator closed firm for the week on 577c/kg and the heavy indice is at 589c/kg, up one cent.

The ESDI for mutton finished the week at 360c/kg, down one cent after Friday’s sales and down four cents for the week. The national mutton indicator closed firm on 360c/kg.

Solid AuctionsPlus sheep clearances

AuctionsPlus market operations officer Anna Adams said sheep numbers declined to 43,253, but with prices across all aspects of the sheep market on the rise, clearances were solid.

“As is typical moving through autumn, most ewes offered are scanned in lamb and first cross ewes were highly sought after.

“The top price was for 18 months olds in lamb to the White Suffolk at Bendigo, selling for $212.”

Proven breeders sold from $150-$210 and ewe lambs made $130-$145.

Aged Merino ewes scanned to drop a crossbred spring lamb were also an attractive option this week with lamb and mutton prices skyrocketing, Ms Adams said. This article sold from $93 to a top of $131 for heavy six year old ewes out of Cooma, in lamb to the Poll Dorset. Merino ewe lambs sold from $59-$72.50, and joined maidens made $102-$120.

Ms Adams said very few store lambs were offered, with mixed sex lines approaching killable weights making $110.50-$113, and those requiring more finishing made $102.50-$105.50. With published lamb prices for winter these are still looking like a money-making prospect, she said.

Merino wether prices continued to climb, buoyed by recent movements in the wool market, Ms Adams said, though lamb prices varied significantly with weight and skin. Lambs sold from $36.50 for light lambs in central QLD that averaged $65, to a top price of $110 for May/June drop lambs weighing 44kg with a November jacket.

Griffith trade and heavy lambs firm

In NSW at the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 11,800 lambs, 1800 more than last week, and 600 sheep, 1200 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality continued to be very mixed, with the yarding containing finished lambs and plainer drier types. Most of the offering was heavy and extra heavyweight lambs. Most of the usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market.

Light lambs eased $2, selling from $96-$105. Trade weights were fairly firm, with prices ranging from $109-$149. Heavy and extra heavyweight lambs were also relatively steady in price. Heavy lambs sold from $144-$163. Extra heavyweights made $154-$215 for a pen estimated to weigh more than 40kg cwt. Carcase prices ranged from 577-635c/kg. Merino and Dohne lambs sold from $96-$156.

Mutton quality was fair. Merino ewes sold from $82-$143. Heavy crossbred ewes ranged from $115-$130.

Cowra lambs trade lambs $5 dearer

At the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5150 lambs, 150 more than last week, and 1210 sheep, 510 more.

The NLRS said quality continued to improve, with the heavy grades showing top condition. Mainly trade and heavy weights were penned, along with a few secondary and store lambs. All buyers operated and competition was sound, resulting in a firm to slightly dearer market. Light lambs sold to the restockers for an average of $80. Medium and heavy trade weights were $5 dearer and averaged around 600c/kg cwt. The heavy trade weights sold from $126-$146. Heavy weight lambs were firm to a few dollars per head dearer and averaged from 553-594c/kg cwt. A pen of extra heavy weight lambs topped at $195, with an estimated carcass weight of 34kg.

Mutton quality was reasonable. Medium weight Merino ewes were firm and averaged from $61-$77 or 351c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes were $4 cheaper and averaged $111.80 or 354c/kg.

Shepparton lamb quality mixed

In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 831 lambs, 196 fewer than last week, and 464 sheep, 45 more.

The NLRS said quality was very mixed, with many plainer finished lambs in small pen lots of just a few head. Not all the usual buyers attended, and the limited numbers and varied quality made it difficult to generate accurate price trends.

The market reached a top of $180 for a small pen lot of extra heavy export lambs. Lightweight slaughter lambs sold from $82-$103 amid solid demand for lambs suiting MK orders. Very small and plain lambs sold from $30-$60, the low price range reflecting poor quality. Bidding for plainer bred and finished domestic lambs fluctuated, and some sales were a few dollars cheaper, with most from $100-$122. The limited pens of better quality slaughter lambs over 24kg cwt sold from $140-$163, with just the one extra heavy export pen to $180. On a carcase basis, the best pens of slaughter lambs ranged from about 560-580c/kg.

The sheep quality was very mixed, with few lines offered. The better quality pens with reasonable carcass finish and weight sold from $80 to a top of $113 for extra heavy crossbred ewes. Two extra heavy Dorper ewes which sold to a local buyer at $143.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.





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