SLAUGHTER lambs held relatively firm late last week in the last day of selling before the Easter break, capping off a generally positive week for prices.
With only two saleyard sales in Australia on Tuesday last week – at Carcoar in New South Wales and at Katanning in Western Australia – most slaughter lambs understandably sold slightly cheaper, while restocker enquiry remained strong.
Online, the short trading week and interrupted delivery schedules had a big impact on AuctionsPlus numbers last week, with sheep and lamb listings falling 7000 to 40,269 head.
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb and mutton finished the week in generally positive territory.
The ESDIs for lamb, their daily and weekly changes were: restocker 535c/kg, up 8 cents daily, up 15c for the week; Merino 483c/kg, no daily change, up 27c; light 520c/kg, up 2c, up 17c; trade 525c/kg, down 2c, up 6c; heavy 517c/kg, down 2c, up 6c. The national trade lamb indicator finished the week on 523c/kg and the heavy indice closed on 517c/kg.
The ESDI and national indicator for mutton both finished the week up slightly on 304c/kg.
Scanned first cross ewes feature on AuctionsPlus
First cross ewes sell to $251 at the Ellingerrin flock dispersal at Inverleigh, Victoria, last week.
The top-priced line of 262 2.5-3 year-old early November shorn ewes attracted competition from three states and were scanned 170 percent in lamb to Poll Dorset and White Suffolk rams, due to start April 22 for eight weeks. The ewes weighed 76kg lwt and were mostly score 4 in condition.
The older lines of dispersal ewes made from $174-$228, with the offering scanning an average of 176pc in lamb. In Penola, South Australia, four and five-year-old first cross ewes in lamb to Poll Dorset rams sold from $178-$191, and two Coopworth-infused lines made $193-$222. First cross ewe lambs sold from $91-$158.
Merino ewe sales on AuctionsPlus last week were boosted by annual turnoffs of older scanned ewes. Ewes still to drop a crossbred lamb made $105- $125, while ewes joined to Merino rams sold from $66.50-$109. Younger ewes scanned in lamb to Merino rams sold from $120.50-$123.
Merino wether lambs sold to $89.50 online in New South Wales. Merino wether lamb numbers dropped and prices ranged from $40-$89.50, averaging $60.50. The top priced lambs were One Oak blood lambs from Hay weighing 41kg lwt with a September skin. In Tasmania, January shorn wether hoggets weighing 19.9kg cwt sold for $65.50 or 329c/kg, including skin value.
Store lamb weighing 34kg lwt sold for $88.50-$96.50, with the highest priced lambs being Border Leicester/ Merinos. The 37-39kg lambs offered online last week sold from $91-$110, averaging $105 or 268c/kg. The 41kg second cross lambs made $111.50 and 43kg White Dorper lambs, the heaviest sold this week, made $98.50.
Carcoar’s medium and heavy trade lambs lift $5
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange last Tuesday, the agents yarded 9150 lambs, 2400 more than last week, and 3475 sheep, 825 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality improved, particularly in the heavy weights which showed plenty of finish. Mainly heavy and trade lambs were penned, along with some plainer light lines. Competition was solid from all the usual buyers, resulting in a slightly dearer market.
Store lambs sold at strong rates, with most making $85-$106. Medium and heavy trade weight lambs were firm to $5/head dearer and sold mostly from 500-520c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weights sold from $115-$125. Heavy weights were also firm to $4 dearer, with extra heavy prices improving more, mainly ranging from 490-520c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy lambs sold from $145-$160.
Sheep quality varied. Medium Merino ewes were $4 dearer and averaged $61 or 260c/kg cwt. Heavy first cross ewes sold mostly from $85-$99 or 300-315c/kg. Merino wethers sold to $86.
Katanning competition strong
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards, the agents yarded 2508 lambs, 4992 fewer than last week, and 3303 sheep, 4553 less.
The NLRS said well-conditioned sheep sold to strong competition with graziers picking up the stores.
Light weight lambs sold from $60-$80, depending on condition. Trade weights made from $100-$108 and Merino trade weights sold to $72. Lambs suitable for air freight sold for $50-$84. Light and immature store crossbred lambs sold to restockers and feeders from $47 up to $105 for the almost finished or bigger frame lambs. Light plain Merino store lambs made from $25 up to $65 for better quality lambs.
Light ewes sold from $10-$50. Boner ewes with a fleece made $50-$65 and better 3 score sheep with a fleece sold from $62-$84. Ewes sold to restockers for $60-$81. Light plain wethers sold to restockers and feeders for $47 and they paid up to $116 for the quality lines. Wethers for live export made $80-$88. Young rams sold to $89 to restockers and old rams only made $5-$20 with processors.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.