PRICES for the best trade and export weight slaughter lambs held firm in saleyards early this week, though indicators fell slightly with the overall seasonal drop in quality.
Restockers and lamb lot feeders were keen for supplies in most markets, pushing the Eastern States Daily Indicator for restocking lambs up 21 cents to 611c/kg.
With just one day of saleyard sales early this week due to the long weekend, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted all other ESDIs as falling.
After Tuesday’s saleyards sales the ESDIs for other lamb categories were: Merinos 529c/kg, down 20 cents; light 556c/kg, down 12c; trade 586c/kg, down 2c; heavy 588c/kg, down 5c. The national trade lamb indicator is at 585c/kg and the heavy lamb indice is on 589c/kg.
Competition for mutton remain strong, with the ES daily and national indicators at 396c/kg, down about 4 cents.
Over-the-hook lamb rates lifted
In the NSW, the NLRS said heavy weight lamb over-the-hook rates were slightly higher this week, while trade weight lamb rates remained steady. Contributors left mutton rates unchanged.
NSW’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 510-610c/kg, no change; 20-24kg, 550-610c/kg, firm to 3 cents up; 24-26kg, 550-580c/kg, up 4c; Merinos 16-22kg, 450-530c/kg, nc. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 320-340c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 350-360c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 340-370c/kg, nc.
In Victoria, the NLRS said light and trade weight lamb over-the-hook rates lifted an average of 5c/kg cwt week-on-week, while heavy weight lamb rates declined. Mutton rates were unchanged.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 590-600c/kg, up 5 cents; 18-24kg, 590-610c/kg, 3-5c up; 24-26kg, 570-590c/kg, down 5c; 26kg+, 570c/kg, down 10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 530c/kg, up 30c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 310-370c/kg, nc; 18-24kg, 350-380c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 330-350c/kg, nc.
In SA, the NLRS said light weight and Merino lamb over-the-hook rates were an average of 10c/kg cwt higher week-on-week, while most other categories remained steady. There were upward adjustments to all mutton categories, with medium weight carcases averaging 375c/kg cwt.
SA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 560c/kg, up 10 cents; 18-24kg, 560-610c/kg, nc; 24-26kg, 560-570c/kg, nc; Merinos 16-22kg, 530c/kg, up 10c. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 14-18kg, 280-320c/kg, up 23c; 18-24kg, 360-400c/kg, up 23c; 24kg+, 340-400c/kg, up 23c.
The NLRS quoted Tasmania’s lamb and mutton OTH rates as unchanged this week. The state’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-16kg, 480-510c/kg; 16-18kg, 490-530c/kg; 18-22kg, 510-540c/kg; 22-26kg, 520-540c/kg; 26kg+, 520-530c/kg. The 2-4 score mutton rates are: 0-18kg, 300-340c/kg; 18-24kg, 330-350c/kg; 24kg+, 330-340c/kg.
Western Australia’s OTH rates were unavailable when this report was published.
Inverell competition was strong
In NSW at the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2542 lambs, 588 more than last week, and 745 sheep, 236 fewer.
The NLRS said there was a good supply of trade weights, and more heavy and extra heavy lambs. Quality was fairly good with several runs of well-finished lambs suitable for the trade and export, along with several pens of 2 score lambs suitable for restockers. Competition was strong with demand for trade weights and heavy lambs.
The yarding of mutton consisted of several pens of well-finished medium and heavy weight ewes and wethers. Competition was much stronger for all classes of sheep with heavy mutton selling to a top of $137.
Ballarat’s export lambs sell to $202
In Victoria, at the Ballarat saleyards, the agents yarded 15,669 lambs, 5856 fewer than last week, and 5995 sheep, 125 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, but presentation has dropped off a little. Most of the usual buyers operated keenly in a generally firm lamb market.
The better presented light trade weight lambs sold a few dollars better and some of the heavier lambs easing a few dollars in places. Extra heavy export lambs reached a market top of $202.
Restockers and feeders were again very active and paid mostly from $104-$123 for their replacements, with lighter weights making from $70-$90. There were some large runs of Dorper lambs from the north yarded, which presented well and mostly sold from $109-$142.
The best of the Merino lambs sold from $116-$126. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $87-$104. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $102-$132 and averaged around 620c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $122-$136, with the heavier lots making $131-$154, or from 550-625c/kg cwt to average around 600c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $147-$185 to average around 580-590c/kg. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $178-$202.
Sheep quality was mixed. There were more lighter sheep and not all the regular buyers operated fully. Sheep generally sold from close to firm to a few dollars easier. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $50-$89, with very light 1 scores selling from $26-$48. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $68-$106 and ranged from 340-430c/kg cwt, with the Merino ewes averaging around 390c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $91-$139, with heavy Merino wethers making $105-$118.50. The medium weights made from $88-$106. Rams of all weights sold from $45-$91.
Dublin’s heavy lambs sell firm
At the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 9906 lambs, 981 more than last week, and 930 sheep, 363 fewer.
The NLRS said the mixed quality and weight crossbred and Merino lambs sold to erratic bidding from the usual trade and processor buyers. Restockers operated sporadically on light weight Merinos and feeders were keen to source suitable crossbreds to feed on. Feeder buyers paid $116-$128 for crossbred lambs. Light weight 3 scores to trade buyers eased $4, selling from $106-$116 and averaging 536c/kg. The light trade weight 3 scores eased $2, selling from $110-$128 to average 528c/kg. Heavy trade weight 4 scores lifted $6 to $134-$150, averaging 572c/kg. Heavy weight prices hovered around last week’s prices, returning $140-$187, or 562-592c/kg. Extreme heavy weights sold from $189-$200.
Restockers paid $30-$76 for light weight Merino lambs, while processors were very keen to secure light and trade weight Merinos. Light weights lifted up to $9, selling from $90-$100 and trade weights lifted $3-$6 to sell from $106-$125, returning 513-535c/kg. Heavy weights sold from $128-$160.
The sheep sold to stronger trade and processor demand, while restockers operated on wethers from $112-$130. Light weight 2 score ewes sold from $64-$84, averaging 295c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 score ewes lifted $10, returning from $85-$112 to average 339c/kg and heavy weight wethers lifted $7, selling from $98-$144, to average 375c/kg. Heavy weight rams returned $97-$118.
Naracoorte trade lambs $3 easier
In the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2359 lambs, 427 fewer than last week, and 666 sheep, 199 more.
The NLRS said a reduced field of trade and processor buyers were active on a mixed quality offering and prices were generally easier across the market.
Light weight lambs to the trade ranged from $88-$100. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score types ranged from $98-$114, selling $4-$5 easier. Restockers only purchased a small number of lambs from $84-$102, with pens of lightweight 2 score Merino lambs made from $68-$88. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $106-$140, to be $3 easier at 550c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 and 5 score lambs improved slightly to range from $149-$179.
Light weight ewes sold to $60 and the medium weight 2 and 3 scores ranging from $70-$100 at 390c/kg cwt. Heavy ewes ranged from $105-$128 as all ewes were $10-$12 easier than last week. Hoggets sold to $128, wethers to $125 and rams ranged from $70-$80.
Muchea lambs back $6-$15
In WA at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 16,934 lambs, 3295 more than last week, and 6000 sheep, 2700 more.
The NLRS said the dry outlook, cropping commitments, lack of feed and water all pushed numbers significantly higher this week. Lamb supplies were very strong and quality was the best seen for some time, with large numbers of prime heavy and trade lambs available. Secondary and store lamb drafts were also well-supplied. Competition decreased with some processors having reduced throughput and others preparing for maintenance shuts.
Live export competition was lacking but processors, feeders and restockers all managed to secure adequate numbers as prices drifted lower as the sale progressed. Lambs were back $6-$15, with ewes and wethers also slipping at least $6. Light store lambs to restockers sold from $30-$71, with solid numbers of Merino’s available. Light lamb to processors and feeders fell by close to $10 on average, making $65-$103. Trade lamb sold from $85-$121, with prime drafts averaging around 540c/kg cwt. The secondary and Merino lambs made closer to 510c/kg. Heavy lambs sold to a top of $145.50, with the best lambs in excess of 27kg cwt.
Ewe supplies were also solid with some very good long wool drafts available. Ewe mutton prices slipped across the categories, with light weight drafts making $28-$64. The 2 score processor mutton sold from $50-$82 to be close to $6 easier and average close to 300c/kg cwt. Better conditioned and heavy ewes made $65-$97, with wool values helping to keep prices close to firm. Restockers picked up suitable drafts, with prices from $47-$97 including close to full wool drafts. Wether supplies were close to firm with export weight drafts making $75-$120 to restockers and feeders. Lighter and store wethers fell by close to $6 with prices from $55-$90. Ram lambs sold to a top of $103, with live export feeders paying $35-$77.50 for young drafts. Old rams to processors sold from $30-$73 to be firm.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.