TOP quality trade lambs sold for more than 650c/kg at Wagga this week, with 22kg cwt lines making to 668c/kg, according to the National Livestock Reporting Service.
Elders Wagga auctioneer Joe Wilks said the lamb job held up well this week, with several pens of trade lambs making 645-650c/kg and select pens that “fitted right in the slot” might have made over 650c/kg with the strong domestic competition.
He said most of the trade lambs made over 600c/kg in Wagga, reflecting the quality of the yarding.
“From our trade lambs right through to our heavy exports we had a solid yarding.”
He agreed the prices paid were not necessarily an overall lift in the market, but reflected processors taking the opportunity to purchase quality lines.
“It hasn’t lifted, it has just stayed strong and the better quality lambs are getting rewarded.
“I suppose we are at a level where we are not talking 500c/kg now, we are talking 580-650c/kg; that’s where we are and that’s where the lambs were at yesterday.”
The NLRS said trade weight (18-22kg) lamb prices at Wagga started off the year at 668.2c/kg, before decreasing and then picking up at the start of May to 685.7c/kg. The 668.2c/kg cwt, or $152 a head, price paid for trade weight lambs this week at Wagga was for a pen of 51 estimated at 22kg cwt.
Mr Wilks said there were still more good old lambs to come in and he was starting to get calls from producers wanting him to look at suckers.
“I just feel it is just a fraction early yet and they are trying to rush it to get this big money.”
Wagga would be among the first markets to yard new season’s sucker lambs in the next 3-4 weeks, he said.
“It will only just start then, there won’t be big numbers, but there will be blokes putting their foot in the water to test the market.”
Some early 2015-drop lambs were sold at Goulburn this week, 17kg cwt lambs that made $111, but numbers of true suckers were not expected in the saleyard for another four weeks. With the late start to the season, Elders Goulburn agent Cameron Townsend said he didn’t expect the weight would be in Goulburn’s early suckers this year.
“It’s like everywhere, we need a rain.”
Select medium weight sheep lines also sold much dearer than industry indicators this week, averaging 448c/kg cwt, according to the NLRS, with heavy sheep easing $8-$9, but still averaging 400-436c/kg.
NLRS indicators firm to lower on slaughter lambs
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were: restocker 580c/kg, down 21 cents; Merinos 534c/kg, down 3c; light 564c/kg, up 4c; trade 587c/kg, down 3c; heavy 590c/kg, no change. The national trade lambs indicator closed down 4 cents to 585c/kg and the heavy lamb indice is down one cent to 589c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton closed up 2 cents to 395c/kg and the national indice lifted similarly to 394c/kg.
Carcoar’s trade lambs $2-$4 dearer
In NSW at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agent yarded 9600 lambs, 650 fewer than last week, and 3500 sheep, 500 more.
The NLRS said it was a fairly good quality yarding, with a good mix of trade and heavy weight lambs, and fair numbers of light weights. Light weight lambs were $5-$7 dearer, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores making $73-$110 with processors. Trade lambs weighing up to 24kg were $2-$4 dearer, with the 18-24kg 3 and 4 scores selling from $102-$155, to average 590c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were up to $5 cheaper, with the over 24kg 4 scores selling from $133-$207.
The mixed yarding of mutton had some top heavy weight crossbreds and fair numbers of plainer sheep. Merino ewes were $2-$4 cheaper and crossbreds were firm. The 2 score ewes sold from $40-$72, while the better 3 and 4 scores made $74-$120 for Merinos and to $132 for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $82-$110.
Best Wagga trade lambs go over 650c/kg
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 40,000 lambs, 10,500 more than last week, and 10,000 sheep, 3300 more.
The NLRS said quality across the trade and heavy lamb categories was mixed, with the bulk of the well-finished lambs supplementary fed or crop finished. Extra heavy lambs were in shorter supply and lacked the weight of the previous sale. Buying trends across heavy trade weight category fluctuated according to quality and skin length. The usual export and domestic buyers attended, along with limited restocker activity.
Bidding was stronger for the better finished neat-shaped trade lambs, with prices up to 668c/kg. However, most sales regularly averaged 605c/kg cwt. The well-finished second cross trade lambs, 22-24kg cwt, made from $145-$161.
Well-covered Merino trade lamb prices were quite variable at times, subject to skin length. The better finished Merino trade lambs made from $122-$144.20. Light weight secondary lambs sold to steady demand from processors, with prices generally unchanged to $3 dearer, from $72-$116. Well-bred secondary lambs to turn out were in short supply, with a single pen reaching a top price of $109. Heavy lambs were well-represented, while extra heavy lambs were in shorter supply, with quality not the standard of the previous sale.
Supplementary fed lambs weighing 24-26kg were keenly contested and averaged $157, helping to cement a floor in prices. The better finished extra heavy lambs attracted stronger bidding and prices were generally firm to a few dollars cheaper. Extra heavy lambs ranged from $158-$206 to average 593c/kg cwt.
Mutton quality was quite good, with most of the offering being heavy and medium weight sheep with minimum skin value. The usual buyers operated. Medium weight Merino and crossbred ewes sold $3 dearer, to average 448c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep sold to weaker demand, with prices easing $8-$9 to average 400-436c/kg. Several drafts of excellent heavy wethers sold to steady competition to reach a top price of $134. The limited numbers of plainer sheep made from $42-$78.
Lighter lambs dearer at Goulburn
At the Goulburn saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 1600 lambs, 200 fewer than last week, and 1500 sheep, 100 less.
The NLRS said the mixed lamb offering included a few lines of longer wool young lambs in a yarding of mostly light and trade weights, plus some well-finished heavy and extra heavy weights. Suitable store lambs were limited in supply. Most of the usual orders operated in a mixed market.
Light lambs up to 18kg cwt lifted around $5-$10 and more in places, while trade and heavy weights eased $2-$3. Light weights, 12-18kg cwt, including a fair percentage of Dorpers, which made $66-$94. Trade weights ranged from $88-$114, while heavy and extra heavy weights made $102-$142. Most of the slaughter lambs ranged 450-500c/kg cwt.
The mutton selection was mixed, but included some well-finished Merino ewes and wethers, along with the usual plainer light weights. Prices eased by $2-$4 on average and a little more for over-conditioned heavy weights. Light 2 score ewes made $42-$74, with medium and heavy weights from $56-$100 for most, to average 270-320c/kg cwt. Wethers ranged from $70-$110, to average around 360c/kg.
Hamilton trade lambs $3-$5 dearer to average 610c/kg
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4996 lambs, 1816 fewer than last week, and 2270 sheep, 817 less.
The NLRS said quality was very mixed, especially in the sheep, with more light weight 1 and 2 scores appearing. Most of the regular buyers attended, with one less domestic processor again absent in the sale and one heavy sheep buyer not present. Restocker activity was limited due to a lift in the sale. Demand, however, remained steady for the light 2 score light trade and medium trade lambs, as these sold $3-$5 dearer, while the heavier trade and export type 4 score lambs sold from unchanged to $4 cheaper. Light 2 score lambs sold from $63-$106 and the medium trade to heavy trade 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $117-$145, averaging around 610c/kg cwt. The heaviest 4 score lambs made from $147-$164, with an estimated averaged of 585c/kg. Light 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $45-$71, with medium mutton selling from $69-$92 and the best crossbred 4 score ewes making $100-$115, or an estimated average of 380c/kg. Only light 1 and 2 score Merino wethers were penned, with the best making from $64-$71.
Best Horsham trade lambs average 610c/kg
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4225 lambs, 2496 fewer than last week, and 764 sheep, 118 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was average, with most of the regular buyers operating in a firm to dearer lamb market.
Better presented lambs sold $2-$5 higher than last week. Restocking activity was limited to a few pens of lambs selling to $71. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold to $87. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $110-$125 and averaged around 610c/kg cwt. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $128-$135, with the heavier drafts making $138-$156, or from 560-610c/kg, to average 590c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $146-$180. Merino lambs sold to keen competition, and ranged from $103-$117 for the medium weights, averaging around 580c/kg cwt.
The sheep offering sold to steady competition to be mostly firm. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $64-$74. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $77-$102, ranging from 350-430c/kg to average 400c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $86-$130, with heavy Merino wethers making $99 to $120, and the medium weights from $97.50-$108. Rams sold to $90.
Mt Gambier prices firm
In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 895 lambs, 1225 fewer than last week, and 62 sheep, 55 less.
The NLRS said a small field of trade and processor buyers were present, but not all were active. Prices were generally firm across the market.
Light weight lambs to the trade sold to $100 and light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs made to $108. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $112-$128, averaging 560c/kg cwt, to be firm on last week. Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $136-$156. Heavy ewes ranged from $107-$113 and heavy wethers made to $133.
Katanning competition wanes
In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9457 lambs, 4457 more than last week, and 11,000 sheep, 4107 more.
The NLRS said it was a very mixed quality yarding. Store drafts were in abundance as the dry weather continues. There was less competition, with one processor closed for maintenance and no live export interest, resulting in cheaper prices. Prices for small store wethers held up well, while ewes were hard to sell. Light store lambs sold from $20-$89, to average $55. Air freight lambs sold from $38-$100, to average $88. Crossbred trade weight lambs were cheaper, making from $50-$120. Trade weight Merino lambs sold for $104. Merino lambs sold to restockers for $20-$90. Heavy lambs over 22kg eased slightly, with the top price $140.
Mutton prices were easier with good quality ewes with a fleece selling to $91. Light ewes made $20 to $48. The 2 score processor mutton made $35-$65 and the better 3 score mutton made $50-$91. Restockers paid $65-$100 for young ewes. Wether prices were equal with lightweight Merinos selling from $57-$98. Processor wethers made $57-$126 and restockers and feeder buyers paid $26-$128 for the younger lines. Rams were cheaper, with processors paying $10-$70 and ram lambs making to $111.
Sources: NLRS, AuctionsPlus.