Lamb supplies decreased at major saleyards mid-week, with only small increases at other markets, helping a lift in trade and light lamb values.
But quality was maintained in the new season offering, with an increase in weight in some centres boosting export processor demand and continued strong restocker interest adding to the competition.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator finished on Thursday at 481c/kg cwt, up four cents and the heavy lamb indicator closed up one cent at 470c/kg. The mutton indicator closed on 325c/kg cwt, up one cent.
The national lamb indicators again highlighted the strong processor and restocker demand for trade, light and Merino lambs as the season forces lambs into saleyards in some areas.
After Thursday’s sales the national indicators were:
- Restocker lambs, 491c/kg, up one cent;
- Merino lambs, 407c/kg, up two cents;
- Light lambs, 463c/kg, up four cents;
- Trade lambs 480c/kg, up three cents;
- Heavy lambs, 469c/kg, no change; and
- National mutton indicator 323c/kg, up one cent.
Merino lambs lift $9 at Carcoar
In NSW on Wednesday at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar, agents yarded 5250 lambs, 1000 more than last week, and 2500 sheep, 700 fewer.
The NLRS said the much better quality yarding had some top lines of heavy weight and trade weight new season lambs, along with a reasonable selection of old lambs. There were also fair numbers of plainer lightweight lambs and hoggets.
Trade weight lambs were $3-$5 dearer, with 18-22kg new season lambs selling from $83-$120, to average 487c/kg cwt. The 18-22kg old lambs sold from $76-$114. Heavy weight lambs were $10 dearer, with over 22kg new season lambs selling from $110-$145/head. Heavy weight old lambs sold from $105-$143/head. Merino lambs were $9 dearer, with trade weights selling from $77-$102. Restockers paid to $85.
The mainly good quality yarding of mutton had some good lines of well-finished ewes and wethers. Most grades were $3-$5 cheaper, with 2 score ewes selling from $40-$57. The 3 and 4 score ewes sold from $58-$105 for Merinos and $92 for crossbreds. Restockers paid to $103 for full wool Merino ewes, while the 3 and 4 score Merino wethers made $68-$103.
Lamb prices firm at Goulburn
At Goulburn on Wednesday, agents yarded 700 lambs, 100 fewer than last week, and 700 sheep, 100 less.
The NLRS said the better selection of young lambs included most showing good condition and finish across a range of weights. Old lambs were mixed but included a few better shorn drafts.
Most of the usual buyers competed in a firm market. Light Merino young lambs to restockers and processors made from $44-$66, while 16-18kg second cross and Dorper drafts made $88-$90. Trade weights ranged from $96-$116, while one pen of heavy weights reached $120, with carcase prices from 450c/kg-500c/kg cwt. Trade weight old lambs made from $84-$107 for most, to average 370c/kg-420c/kg cwt.
The mutton section included a good run of off-shears Merino wethers, along with a mixed selection of light and medium ewes and an odd pen of heavy weight crossbreds. It was a generally solid market and prices averaged firm to slightly cheaper. Medium and heavy ewes made $60-$84 to processors, while a good line of aged first cross ewes made $92. Medium and heavy Merino wethers ranged from $65-$90 for most mutton, to average 290c/kg-315c/kg cwt.
Fewer new season lambs at Wagga, quality up
At Wagga on Thursday, agents yarded 32,000 lambs, 4400 few than last week, and 10,000 sheep, 3550 less.
The NLRS said new season lamb numbers decreased the most, with 19,550 head penned, but quality was outstanding with plenty of young lambs weighing above 24kg carcass weight. Old lambs were in shorter supply and quality was quite mixed over all weights and grades. All the domestic buyers operated, but supermarket competition was limited. Export processors operated strongly, benefiting the heavier trade weight category.
New season trade lambs were well-supplied and competition varied with prices softening as the sale progressed. Lighter trade weight lambs were in reasonable supply, and the domestic and export buyers were eager, paying from $90-$119. Medium and heavy trade lambs were well-supplied and prices were generally $1-$3 dearer with the heavy trade lambs averaging 481c/kg cwt. Heavy and extra heavy young lambs attracted strong competition from major export buyers with prices lifting $7, selling from $121-$145, with the extra heavy lambs averaging 447c/kg cwt.
Old lamb quality improved with increased drafts of well finished shorn lambs and they sold $4 dearer, making from $83-$125. Heavy old lambs were in limited numbers and prices ranged from $115-$143, to average 438c/kg cwt.
Trade weight Merino lambs were well-supplied and demand was steady with most grades unchanged. Merino lambs, 20-24kg, ranged from $76-$110.
Mutton quality was fair with all weights and grades represented. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were well-supplied and sold $2 dearer, averaging 326c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep were in good numbers and bidding was strongest from northern exporters with prices generally $4-$8 dearer. Heavy ewe mutton sold from $85-$105.60 while Merino wethers made $85-$110, to average 341c/kg cwt
Keen restocker competition at Horsham
In Victoria on Wednesday at Horsham, agents yarded 13,300 lambs, 1167 fewer than last week, and 6382 sheep, 39 more.
The NLRS said quality was good across the new season trade weight and heavy lambs, considering current seasonal conditions. Large numbers of young lambs suitable to processors and restockers were penned, selling firm to restockers and a few dollars easier to processors. The usual buyers operated keenly in a mostly firm market.
Restockers were active, with lambs going to Hamilton, Birchip and Ballarat areas for mostly $65-$88.50, and young Merino ewes for $83.50.
Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $67-$87. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $78-$99, with the heavier drafts making $92-$113, at around 500c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $105-$122.50, with the heavier weights making $113-$128.50, to average around 490c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $124-$142, at around 490c/kg cwt.
The sheep penning included several big runs of recently-shorn Merino ewes and wethers. The wethers sold mostly firm, with heavy ewes a few dollars easier and some of the medium weight sheep selling a few dollars dearer.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $47-$60. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $47-$78 and ranged from 250c/kg-330c/kg, to average around 300c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score Merino sheep sold from $77-$85.50, with the crossbreds making $65-$85. Heavy Merino wethers sold for $75.50-$92, with medium weights selling from $55-$76.
Ouyen lamb prices firm
At Ouyen on Thursday, agents yarded 12,000 lambs and 3445 sheep, with overall lamb prices firm on rates from the last sale two weeks ago.
The top price for quality new season lambs was $138 or 490c/kg and 58 old lambs sold for $140. New season price ranges were: export $116-$138 or 460c/kg–490c/kg cwt; trade $95–$125.60 or 460c/kg–520 c/kg; store-light $45–$106, and; Merino lambs $56-$86 or 430c/kg–450c/kg.
A pen of heavy ewes pushed mutton prices up to $108 or an estimated 300c/kg–350c/kg cwt. Heavy mutton sold for $75-$108 or 300c/kg-350c/kg and light sheep made $57-$80.
Heavy lambs $8-$10 dearer at Hamilton
At Hamilton on Wednesday, agents yarded 1103 lambs, 573 fewer than last week, and 1984 sheep, 130 more, for a small core of buyers.
The NLRS said overall prices for the light to trade weight 2 and 3 score lambs were unchanged to be $2 cheaper, while the heavier lambs had more competition and sold around $8-$10 dearer at 420c/kg cwt.
Light weight 2 score lambs made from $50-$62, with the 2 and 3 score light trade weights made $64-$78/head. Medium to heavy weight 3 score lambs sold from $77-$96, with the heavier lambs making from $92 to top at $116.50.
Heavy to extra heavy 3 to 4 score sheep made from $76-$92, averaging 280c/kg cwt, to be slightly easier, and wethers were also firm, making 310c/kg cwt. Rams made from $15-$40.
Katanning yarding mostly in store condition
In WA at Katanning on Wednesday, agents yarded 4500 lambs, 500 more than last week, and 6367 sheep, 3633 fewer.
The NLRS said 2300 new season lambs were offered. Quality was mixed, with some good heavy ewes and limited supplies of prime lambs. Much of the yarding was in store condition. Lamb supplies included some large drafts of very light young Merino lambs. Prices were mixed, with better quality drafts firm, but plain and store drafts cheaper.
New season lambs to air freight orders made from $50 to $73, back $1-$5. Trade weight lambs (18-22kg) sold from $70-$95, back $3 to average 420c/kg cwt.
Old lambs were close to firm, with light weights making $50-$79 and trade lambs from $76-$86. Heavy old lambs sold to a top of $91. Restocking lambs sold from $39-$85 to be close to firm, with the majority being young drafts. Most young Merino lambs made $42-$60 to be slightly dearer due to the larger drafts.
Ewe prices firmed slightly after last week’s falls. Heavy 3 and 4 score ewes made $64-$88, up slightly. Prime trade mutton made $46-$88, or $45-$80 bare shorn, $1 easier. Light and very light ewes made $25-$54, to be up to $8 cheaper, largely quality related. The wethers were mostly in store condition and lacked live export competition.
Limited heavy weight mutton drafts sold for up to $85 to processors, with the majority going to feeders and restockers at similar prices. Better-framed drafts made from $50-$73.50, with smaller framed and immature drafts selling from $40-$59. Rams remained close to equal.
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