Markets

Strong domestic demand keeps prices for quality lambs moving up in saleyards

Sheep Central, June 17, 2016
The Landmark team selling lambs at Ouyen this week.

The Landmark team selling lambs at Ouyen this week.

SALEYARD lamb prices lost some momentum mid-week, through consistent domestic demand for quality trade and heavy lambs at some large centres kept National Livestock Reporting Service indicator rates positive.

Trade lambs sold up to $5 cheaper in all New South Wales saleyards except Wagga on Wednesday and Friday, and heavy lamb prices also dipped by up to $8.

In Victoria, trade lambs sold $2-$4 dearer at Hamilton and made up to $5 more at Horsham.

Despite waning restocker interest, speculative exporter buying of light lambs, especially at Wagga, also helped to keep the ESDI for lighter slaughter lambs moving upward, with restockers paying above 700c/kg for some lines at Wagga.

However, despite the quality and costing fluctuations between northern and southern eastern states saleyards on trade and heavy lambs, both ESDIs remained above 610c/kg, with some trade lamb lines with skin values of $10-plus making above 650c/kg on the ground.

After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the ESDIs for lamb were: restocker 594c/kg, no change; Merino 558c/kg, up 2c; light 583c/kg, up 3c; trade 610c/kg, up 2c; heavy 613c/kg, up 1c. The national trade lamb indicator rose 2 cents to 610c/kg and the heavy indice moved up 1 cents to 613c/kg.

Mutton prices generally drifted lower in saleyards as supplies tightened further, with the ESDI losing 6 cents to 397c/kg and the national indicator falling 7 cents to 391c/kg.

Carcoar’s trade lambs firm to $5 easier

In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 13,600 lambs, 6200 more than last week, and 3800 sheep, 1570 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed with some heavy well-finished lambs in good condition and plenty of plainer lines. There was a handy supply of heavy lambs, but most were trade and store lambs. All the usual buyers operated in a slightly cheaper market.

Light lambs sold to the processors $4 cheaper at an average of $112 and stores made $94-$112. Medium and heavy trade weights were firm to $5 easier and at 605-620c/kg. Most of the heavy trade weights sold from $135-$150.

Heavy weight lambs were $3-$8 cheaper at 600-625c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $185-$205.

Sheep quality was very mixed. Light Merino ewes averaged $57 and medium Merino ewes were $8 dearer, averaging $96 or 386c/kg. Heavy first cross ewes were slightly cheaper and averaged $112 or 384c/kg.

Cootamundra’s trade lambs ease $2-$5

At the Cootamundra saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4500 lambs, 2200 fewer than two weeks ago, and 5050 sheep, 1250 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was good in the trade and heavy runs. There was a reasonable number of plainer lambs. Most of the better lambs were trade weights. Not all of the usual buyers operated in a cheaper market.

Light processing lambs sold from $75-$110 and light restocking lambs made $55-$81. The medium and heavy trades eased $2-$5 to $120-$144, averaging 595c/kg. Heavy lambs were $3-$4 softer at $145-$166 and extra heavy lambs made to $182. Very heavy hoggets sold to $169.20.

The sheep yarding contained plenty of light lines. Most sold to a cheaper trend. Light ewes sold from $62-$96. Medium weights made $82-$125 and heavy Merino ewes with a jacket sold to $140. Most made 380-410c/kg.

Wagga’s trade lambs sell $3-$4 dearer

At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 38,000 lambs, 7450 more than last week, and 10,000 sheep, 4300 more.

The NLRS said the yarding lifted significantly after wet conditions last week hampered producer efforts to move stock. It was a good mixed offering for a winter yarding.

Prices for trade lambs were firm, while heavy lambs lost some traction. There were more secondary lambs and some lots exceeded agent expectations. All major export and domestic processors operated fully.

Well-finished supplementary-fed trade lambs attracted strong bidding, while grass-finished pens at times struggled to appeal to all buyers due to lack of fat cover.

Trade lambs generally sold $3-$4 dearer and averaged 625c/kg cwt. Merino trade lambs sold to solid demand regardless of skin length at $113-$158. A southern export processor had the greatest influence over the lighter weight categories, buying the bulk of the offering on the prediction of a heavy rain forecast. Light weight lambs sold to processors tracked dearer at $85-$118. Restockers were again cautious, with only limited numbers returning to the paddock and sales ranged from $67-$120.

Heavy lambs were keenly sought by several domestic processors, putting a floor in prices at an average of 613c/kg cwt. Extra heavy lambs lacked weight for the first time this season, with only limited supplies over 30kg cwt. The better finished heavy pens sold at $180-$211, averaging 605c/kg.

The mixed quality offering of sheep contained all weights and grades. The market for heavy crossbred ewes lost its intensity of past weeks and prices fell to $19-$32, or 388-414c/kg. Light and medium grades of sheep generally sold $1-$4 cheaper to average 330-358c/kg.

Hamilton’s trade lambs sold $2-$4 dearer

In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 7177 lambs, 2563 more than last week, and 3416 sheep, 1179 fewer.

The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed, from average to very good for this time of year. The usual buyers attended apart from one domestic processor and demand continued to strengthen slightly.

Prices were $2-$3 cheaper for unfinished light weight lambs and firm for light trade lambs. Medium trade weights were $2-$4 higher and heavy lambs $2-$7 dearer.

Restocker activity was minimal, with local store buyers paying from $10-$76 for light 1 and 2 score lambs which was significantly cheaper in places. Light weight 2 score lambs sold to processors sold made $62-$108 and averaged 590c/kg. Light trade 2 and 3 scores made $100-$122 and medium weight 3 and 4 scores $120-$150 at 550-670c/kg and averaging 625c/kg. Heavier 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $152-$174 and extra heavy pens made $170-$210, averaging 615c/kg.

The sheep sold at mostly firm levels, with heavy sheep $2-$9 dearer. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep made $40-$68, with a pen of woolly Merino ewes making $94. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $70-$115 and Merino mutton averaged close to 420c/kg. Heavy to extra heavy sheep, 3 and 4 score, made $95-$128 and averaged 380c/kg. Merino wethers of medium weight sold from $70-$90. Rams made $84-$140 to be $10 dearer.

Horsham lambs $5 dearer

At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 5209 lambs, 260 fewer than last week, and 2168 sheep, 1298 more.

The NLRS said lamb quality was average to good, with the usual buyers operating in a firm to dearer market.

Lambs sold up to $5 dearer. Extra heavy lambs sold to $215 and the better covered heavier trade weight lambs made $148-$165. Lighter trade weights sold to strong competition at times, commanding around 670c/kg. Merino lambs mostly made $126-$154 at 550-560c/kg cwt. Restockers paid to $89 for crossbred lambs.

Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $86-$110. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $106-$144 and averaged around 620c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $134-$145, with heavier drafts making $148-$166 at 565-680c/kg cwt, with most around 630-640c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $160-$196 and the extra heavy export lambs made $197-$215. Heavier Merino lambs sold from $150-$154 and medium weights made $88-$126. Heavy hoggets sold from $102-$150.

The sheep offering covered all grades, selling to keen competition and a few dollars better in places. Heavy Merino wethers in near-full wool sold to $137. Restockers paid to $90.50 for lighter Merino wethers.

Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $68-$85.50. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $72.50-$124, or 355-470c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 445c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $93-$130. Heavy Merino ewes made from $110-$140. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $116-$137 and medium weights made $90-$108, or 410-440c/kg cwt.

Ouyen export lambs firm to $10 cheaper

At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents offered 8755 lambs and 1461 sheep.

Export lambs sold firm to $10 cheaper. Light trade light lambs were firm to $5 stronger and Merino lambs sold $2-$4 cheaper. Mutton was firm-$5 dearer.

Export weight crossbred lambs sold from $140-$205, or 540-590c/kg cwt, trade weights made $117-$154, or 590-620c/kg, and store lines sold for $50-$115, or 560-650c/kg.

Light Merino lambs made $64-$126, or $540-560c/kg, and heavy lines made $121-$164, or 550-580c/kg.

Light sheep sold from $54-$113, or 360-420c/kg, and heavy lines made $90-$144, 360-420c/kg.

Katanning’s young sheep in demand

In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards, the agents yarded 5379 lambs, 271 fewer than last week, and 4000 sheep.

The NLRS said young store sheep sold very well to extremely strong demand in the mixed quality yarding.

Light weight crossbred lambs sold from $55-$87 and light Merino lambs made $64-$90. Trade weight crossbred lambs sold from $90-$114 and Merino trade weight lambs made $64-$104. Heavy weight lambs sold to $128. Light crossbred lambs sold to feeders for $55 and up to $107 for the better quality lines. Merino store lambs sold from $40 for light weights up to $104 for the heavier better framed types. Lambs suitable for air freight sold from $73-$102.

Young Merino red tag ewes sold from $51-$87 to processors depending on weight and made up to $88 with restockers. Light ewes with a full fleece sold from $50-$79, boners with wool made $71-$86 and heavy prime three score mutton sold from $75-$98. Young wethers sold for $80-$105 to processors depending on weight and feeders paid $64-$110. Young live export wethers made $86-$110. Older wethers sold for $78-$90 to restockers and feeders, and from $85-$110 to live exporters. Ram lambs sold for $78-$104 for live export and for $97 to processors. Older rams made $10-$75 to processors, feeders and restockers.

Warwick lambs sell to $187

In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1830 lambs and hoggets, and 1280 sheep.

Agents quoted the larger yarding of lambs as dearer for export heavy lambs and firm on lighter lambs. Quality declined in the larger sheep offering and the market was firm-a shade easier.

The top-priced 57.8kg lwt lambs from S.C. and P. Barkla of Clifton sold for sold for $187.

Crossbred lambs 51-55kg lwt sold from $134-$153, the 46-50kg lambs made $130-$142, 41-45kg lambs sold for $130-$139 and 35-40kg lines made $115-$130.

Shorn crossbred hoggets 69kg lwt sold to $118, trade wethers with $10 skins made to $110, or 320c/kg cwt, and light wethers with $6 skins sold to $72, or 300c/kg.

Heavy crossbred ewes with $10 skins made to $110, or 320c/kg, and light ewes with $6 skins sold to $62, or 290c/kg.

Sources: MLA, NLRS.

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