SLAUGHTER lamb prices generally eased on quality at most eastern states saleyards early this week, but were underpinned by strong restocker and feeder competition.
In NSW over Monday and Tuesday, light new season slaughter lambs 12.1-18kg cwt with $1-$10 skins sold from $45-$116, or 339-638c/kg cwt. Light and medium trade weight young lambs, 18.1-22kg, with skins valued at up to $10 made $103-$137, or 493-595c/kg. Lambs over 22kg cwt, with $1-$10 skins made 125-$151, or 479-578c/kg.
Rates held relatively firm In Victoria as new season yardings increased, but buyers are now able to be more selective, discounting secondary lambs and dry skins. Hamilton, Bendigo and Ballarat yarded a combined total of more than 95,000 lambs on Monday and Tuesday as conditions dried out.
Ballarat agents managed to maintain price averages for their export and trade weight slaughter lambs and recorded slight increases a limited number of better quality heavier lines.
In Victoria, the light new season lambs, 12.1-18kg, with skins value at up to $9 made $53-$104, or 347-593c/kg. Light and medium trade weight young lambs, 18.1-22kg, with skins valued at up to $13, sold from $91-$129, or 400-564c/kg. Lambs over 22kg with $8-$14 skins made $115-$164, or 474-557c/kg.
In South Australia, strong restocker inquiry kept light and light trade lamb rates firm to dearer, despite a drop in yarding quality, but trade competition was mixed.
In SA, light new season lambs with skins worth $1-$12 made $50-$107, or 354-731c/kg. The light and medium trade lambs with $1-$12 skins sold from $85-$127, or 416-552c/kg. Lambs over 22kg with $1-$12 skins made $103-$140, or 400-561c/kg.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said meat buyers at Bendigo reported a slight correction in skin values this week, with most working on returns of $6-$11 depending on size, dryness and seed damage.
NLRS lamb and mutton indicators start to fall
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 542c/kg, down 3 cents; Merino 448c/kg, down 7c; light 504c/kg, down 4c; trade 511c/kg, no change; heavy 516c/kg, down 1 cent. The national trade lamb indicator closed up 1 cent to 511c/kg and the heavy lamb indice finished down 1 cent on 516c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton was down 1 cent to 326c/kg and the national indicator lost 1 cents to 325c/kg.
Dubbo’s trade lambs drop $8-$10
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 10,191 lambs, 2988 fewer than last week, and 7241 sheep, 914 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was plainer. Heavy lambs were in short supply and most were trade weight or lighter. There were good numbers of Merinos and Dorpers. Light processing lambs sold to a dearer trend, while trade and heavy lambs were cheaper.
Light restocking lambs sold from $75-$98 and processing lambs $83-$94. Trade lambs averaged $8-$10 cheaper, but this was mostly due to a reduction in quality as the better lambs sold to similar rates. The medium and heavy trade weights ranged from $100-$136. Heavy lambs made $125-$148 and extra heavy lambs-$169.50. Most averaged from 500-540c/kg cwt. Merino trade weights sold between $106 and $115. Heavy hoggets made from $82-$110.
Sheep quality was good, with most carrying plenty of weight. The price trend was cheaper. Medium weights ewes sold from $67-$80. Heavy Merino ewes made $85-$98 and crossbreds sold from $79-$98. Heavy wethers reached $109. Most ranged from 300-330c/kg cwt.
Tamworth lambs cheaper on quality
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 2320 lambs, 80 fewer than last week, and 1950 sheep, 1000 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed, with a fair supply of well-finished young lambs and some good quality heavy weight old lambs. There was a limited drafts suitable to restockers. Market trends varied along with quality to be mostly cheaper.
Young lambs sold to the trade were $3-$5 cheaper, with the heavier weights most affected. Secondary quality young lambs followed a similar trend. The heavier old lambs also sold to a cheaper trend, down by $3-$4. Lighter weight old lambs sold firm to slightly dearer, mostly around quality.
There was a good percentage of well-finished medium and heavy sheep carrying varying skin values, from bare shorn to a line of almost full wool Merino ewes. Market trends were generally dearer for the improved quality penning.
Forbes’ new season trade lambs $4-$5 easier
At the Forbes saleyards yesterday, the agents yarded 11,300 lambs, 154 fewer than last week, and 6100 sheep, 39 fewer.
Numbers remained fairly similar this sale. Lamb quality was reduced slightly from the previous sale, with an increased percentage of lambs showing the effects of the warmer drier weather. The usual buyers were present and competing in a cheaper market. Light new season lambs slipped $4, selling from $100-$107. Trade weights sold $4-$5 easier at $115-$128. Heavy lambs sold from $132-$150.
Old light lambs averaged $106. Trade weights were $3-$4 easier, at $110-$129. Heavy and extra heavy lambs were $3-$4 cheaper. Heavies sold from $129-$145 and extra heavies made $143-$172. Carcase prices mostly ranged from 542-570c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was again very mixed. Prices remained fairly steady, with Merino ewes selling from $70-$112. Crossbred ewes ranged from $73-$105. Merino wethers made $74-$98.
Bendigo lamb prices hold firm to dearer on quality
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 19,377 lambs, 1507 more than last week, and 10,624 sheep, 5076 fewer.
The NLRS said there was some reasonable quality in the first-draft young lambs coming in from southern grazing areas, but most showed the effects of the dry conditions. The usual processing orders operated, although demand was selective and not all buyers operated at capacity. Price averages for export and trade weight slaughter lambs were similar to the previous sale, with just slight increases recorded for some of the better quality heavier lambs which were in limited supply.
Lightweight kill lambs and young lambs sold to restockers trended a few dollars easier. The market reached a top of $162 for a pen of extra heavy young lambs from Seymour estimated at 30-32kg cwt. The supply of heavy young lambs remained limited, with four pens of export types, over 28kg cwt selling from $150-$155 and just the one sale at $162. The best pens of heavy trade lambs in the 24-26kg cwt bracket sold from $126-$142, while the general run of domestic lambs made $105-$120. More shorn lambs are appearing and the best quality trade weight types sold from $122-$140. On a carcase basis, the heaviest lambs were averaging an estimated 485-495c/kg, while the nicely presented trade types were around 500-510c/kg, with select pens higher.
Processers secured more of the light lambs this week at $76-$96 for most. Restockers paid from $90-$107 for bigger framed store lambs, including recently shorn types, with smaller restocker lambs generally making $60-$88.
Sheep prices were softer, despite the 30 percent fall in numbers. Heavy crossbred ewes and Merino wethers supported by local restockers held their value the best, with most classes of trade and light mutton easing by $2-$8. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $82-$104, while a run of Merino wethers nearing full wool sold to restockers for $109.60. Most trade weight ewes sold from $60-$85 and light sheep made $30-$58. The general run of mutton ranged from about 280-320c/kg cwt.
Hamilton’s medium trade lambs $4-$6 cheaper
The NLRS said agents yarded 35,030 lambs in their first 2015 Monday lamb sale at Hamilton.
Quality very good, although there were more plainer young lambs showing less weight and more dryness in their skins compared to the last two Wednesday sales. More store lambs were yarded and made up at least 35pc of the offering. A near full following of buyers and some extra restocker buyers attended.
Lamb prices overall showed a cheaper trend. Extra heavy lambs sold $3-$4 lower, while heavy trade lambs were $6-$8 easier and in some places up to $10. Medium trade weight lambs were $4-$6 cheaper.
Light lambs sold to stronger demand, fluctuating from unchanged to $5-$7 dearer during the market, but lifted $10-$12 after the advertised store lambs were sold at the end of the sale. Successful store buyers travelled from Horsham, Deniliquin, Shepparton, Swan Hill, SA, and locally. The 1 score lambs sold from $39-$70 and the well-bred 2 score lambs made $74-$104, or 530-590c/kg cwt.
Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $ 71-$93 and the light trade lambs, 2 and 3 scores, sold from $88-$103 as they averaged close-500c/kg cwt. Medium trade weight 3 score lambs sold to processors made $92-$129. Heavier trade weight drafts, 3 and 4 score, sold from $120-$136, or 450-540c/kg, to average close to 490c/kg. Heavy young lambs, 24-26kg cwt, sold from $136-$148 and extra heavy lambs made $141-$162, to average close to 500c/kg. Hoggets sold from $85-$99.
Ballarat’s trade lambs sell a few dollars better
At the Ballarat saleyards yesterday, the agents yarded 41,909 lambs, 3181 more than last week, and 14,317 sheep, 405 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, with all weights and grades offered. Reasonable numbers of heavy lambs were penned. The regular buyers operated keenly in a generally firm market.
The better presented trade weight lambs sold firm to a few dollars better and the heavy lambs were $2-$5 easier on last week’s high levels. The market reached a top of $164, with 4 pens selling over $160, and a dozen pens selling above $150.
There were good numbers of feeder and restocker lambs which sold to strong competition, ranging mostly from $82-$118 for heavier lines and $30-$70 for lighter lots. Good numbers of shorn young lambs are being yarded and they sold mainly to restockers for $78-$114, or from $86-$119 to the trade. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $70-$83.
Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $83.20-$117 and averaged around 500c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $108-$126, with the heavier lots making $122-$138, or 490-540c/kg, to average around 515c/kg. Heavy 3-4 score lambs sold from $135-$164 at around 520c/kg.
The sheep yarding included all weights and grades, with some well-presented runs of heavy sheep. The usual buyers attended, but not all operated fully. Sheep generally sold around firm, with some better Merino wethers selling to $108 to be a few dollars dearer. Medium weight wethers sold a few dollars easier.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $35-$76. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $55-$91, or 260-360c/kg, to average around 330c/kg cwt for the Merinos. Heavy 3-5 score sheep sold from $62-$101.50, with heavy Merino wethers selling from $83-$108 and the medium weights $65-$84.
Dublin’s trade weight lambs drop $6 to processors
In South Australia at SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin yesterday, the agents yarded 5394 lambs, 405 fewer than last week, and 3552 sheep, 1628 more.
The NLRS said it was generally a poor quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs that sold to solid trade and processor competition. All the usual buyers attended, but a couple of large processors did not operate.
The large numbers of store condition, light weight lambs attracted very strong bidding from Yorke Peninsula, mid and upper north SA and Adelaide Plains feeder and restocker buyers. Shorn crossbred lambs attracting the fiercest bidding. Ultra-light weight crossbreds sold to feeder buyers lifted negligibly to $52-$82. Light weights lifted $3 to $95-$105.
Trade weight 3 score lambs sold to feeders lifted $2 to $100-$105. Light weight 3 score lambs sold to trade buyers eased $6 to $95-$103, averaging 480c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 4 scores remained unchanged at $106-$125, averaging 509c/kg. Heavy trade weights followed suit, selling from $112-$130 to average 507c/kg. Heavy weights sold from $130-$140 to average 505c/kg cwt.
Ultra-light weight Merino lambs sold to restockers for $46-$62 and light weights going to feeders lifted $4 to $50-$86. Light weight Merino lambs sold to processors lifted $6 to $62-$85 and trade weights made $85-$99 to average 418c/kg. The few heavy weights sold from $103-$108 to average 415c/kg.
The generally good quality yarding of sheep sold to erratic bidding from the usual processors. Restockers were prominent and bought Merino ewes for $58-$90, crossbred ewes for $56-$88 and Merino wethers for $72-$78. Light weight 2 score ewes eased $8 to $54-$63, averaging 226c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 scores lifted $4 to $60-$90 to average 278c/kg. Heavy weight wethers lifted $9 to $85-$112 to average 340c/kg. Heavy weight rams sold from 50-$76.
Naracoorte’s trade lambs falls $3-$5
At the Naracoorte saleyards yesterday, the agents yarded 6472 lambs, 3035 fewer than last week, and 2128 sheep, 282 less.
The NLRS said a much smaller field of trade and processors, as well as restocker buyers, attended the sale and not all were fully active. Lamb quality fell away and there were only a few pens with weight and condition to attract trade support. Most of the yarding lacked finish and showed dryness in the skin. More shorn lambs came forward as prices were generally easier.
Lightweight lambs sold to the trade for mainly $58-$94, up to $7 easier. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs ranged from $96-$107, a fall of $5. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $103-$127 at an average of 510c/kg cwt, dropping $3.
Restockers were active in all of the above categories and purchased a significant portion of the offering, paying mainly $48-$106. Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $126-$135 with the few extra heavy export weighted lambs selling to $140. More hoggets came forward, with lighter types selling from $61-$70 and heavier lines making $75-$106. Medium weighted ewes ranged from $65-$77 at an average of 290c/kg cwt. Heavy types ranged from $72-$90. All ewes fell in price by $3-$6. Wethers sold to $83 and rams to $70.
Muchea prices underpinned by restockers
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards yesterday, the agents yarded 3822 lambs, 999 more than last week, and 4700 sheep, 2100 fewer.
The NLRS said harvest and difficult weather conditions dropped numbers about 10 percent. Lamb and ewe categories made up the majority of the yarding. Prime lamb supplies were limited, with most drafts being shorn light weight and trade weight categories.
Prices for most categories were firm to slightly dearer, with processors and restockers active. Rates for light weight lambs suited to air freight markets increased due to competition from restockers. Light store lambs sold restockers made $20-$76 to be dearer by $5 or more. Light lambs sold to processors for $60-$95, up to $8 dearer. Trade weight drafts sold from $89-$123.50 to be firm to $5 dearer. Carcase weight prices ranged from 480-570c/kg. A very small number of heavy weight lambs made $110-$120.
Ewe weight and quality was down on last week with more very light and light drafts offered. Processors and restockers were active and there were no live export orders. Ewe weight and skin values decreased this week, but prices were maintained, driven by solid restocker competition.
Very light and light weight ewes made $20-$62, with most around $5 dearer. The 2 score processor mutton sold from $42-$63, up $5, and averaged close to 255c/kg cwt. Better conditioned and heavy weight ewes were firm to $6 dearer, with most sales from $55-$72. Restockers were strong, with suitable mature ewes making $45-$72, to be firm to $5 dearer.
Wether prices eased marginally due to a lack of live export demand. Better weight bare shorn wethers made $80-$92 and a few carrying a solid fleece made $107. Lighter weight and store wethers sold from $55-$82 to be close to firm. Rams lacked competition, with ram lambs making $65-$85 and young drafts sold to export feeders from $30-$60. Old rams sold to processors for $15-$30.
Northern Tasmania’s lambs sell $3-$6 cheaper
At the Northern Tasmanian saleyards yesterday, the agents yarded 880 lambs, 50 more than last week, and 1300 sheep, 50 less.
The NLRS said lamb prices were $3-$6 cheaper at Powranna and Killafaddy, while most mutton values were firm to slightly dearer. Light export lambs sold from $60-$82 and restockers bought light and light trade lambs for $70-$90. The trade paid $81-$92 for light trade lambs, $95-$121 for trade weights, $115-$129 for heavy lambs and $124-$130 for a few extra heavy pens.
The few very light sheep sold from $20-$27, light sheep made $50-$68, medium weights returned $56-$72 and heavy ewes and wethers sold from $62-$78.
Sources: NLRS, MLA, AuctionsPlus.