SLAUGHTER lamb prices continued to rise late last week and early this week, with trade and heavy lamb indicators holding above 600c/kg as supplies tighten.
The National Livestock Reporting Service did not quote indicator changes because of the disruption of regular Monday saleyard sales in Victoria and New South Wales for the Queen’s Birthday holiday.
However, after Tuesday saleyard sales, the NLRS national and Eastern States Daily Indicators for the main light, trade and heavy slaughter lamb categories continued to improve. The ESTLI for trade lambs has lifted 7 cents since last Friday and the heavy lamb indicator rose another four cents above its 6-cent rise late last week. Only the restocker and Merino lamb category indicators dropped.
The NLRS lamb ESDIs after yesterday’s sales were: restocker 619c/kg; Merino 556c/kg; light 589c/kg; trade 609c/kg; heavy 612c/kg. The national trade lamb indicator is on 609c/kg, up 5 cents, and the heavy lamb indice is at 612c/kg, up 4 cents.
The ESTLI and national indicators for mutton both cleared 400c/kg this week, with the eastern states indicator reaching 402c/kg and the national indice rising 8 cents to 401c/kg.
Lamb grid rates lift in NSW and Tasmania, firm to easier elsewhere
The NLRS quoted over-the-hook rates for lambs as dearer in NSW this week, following the continuation of higher saleyard prices. Mutton rates remain firm. However, a ‘no quote’ is given due to some contributors not currently quoting.
The NSW OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-20kg, 560-600c/kg, up 4 cents; 20-24kg, 580-600c/kg, up 4c; 24-26kg, 550-600c/kg, up 12c; Merinos 16-22kg, 490-570c/kg, up 20c. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 330c/kg, 18-24kg, 340-380c/kg; 24kg+, 350-400c/kg.
In Victoria, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb indicators as mostly steady week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 607c/kg cwt. There were some upward adjustments to mutton indicators, particularly for the heavy weight category.
Victoria’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-22kg, 600-620c/kg, no change; 22-24kg, 580-600c/kg, nc; 24-26kg, 560-580c/kg, nc; Merinos 16-22kg, 520-540c/kg, nc. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 300-340c/kg, up 5c; 18-24kg, 320-370c/kg, nc; 24kg+, 300-340c/kg, up 24c.
In South Australia, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb indicators as easing across all categories week-on-week, with trade weights averaging 590c/kg cwt. Mutton indicators were up an average of 13c/kg cwt overall.
South Australia’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 580c/kg, down 20c; 18-24kg, 580-600c/kg, down 10c; 24-26kg, 560-580c/kg, down 10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 540c/kg, down 20c. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 300-320c/kg, up 13c; 18-24kg, 320-340c/kg, up 13c; 24kg+, 3430-380c/kg, up 13c.
The NLRS quoted Western Australia’s lamb and sheep over-the-hook rates as unchanged this week. WA’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 440-450c/kg; 18-22kg, 500-550c/kg; 22-26kg, 520-550c/kg; 26kg+, 470-520c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 420-470c/kg. The sheep rates are: 14-18kg, 280-290c/kg; 18-24kg, 250-290c/kg; 24kg+, 250-280c/kg.
In Tasmania this week, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb rates as higher, while mutton prices were unchanged. Tasmania’s OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 0-16kg, 530-560c/kg, up 10c; 16-26kg+, 540-560c/kg, up 15-40c. The sheep rates are: 0-14kg, 270-300c/kg; 14-18kg, 280-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 280-310c/kg; 24kg+, 270-290c/kg.
AuctionsPlus also offered fewer sheep and lambs last week
AuctionsPlus reported it 38,384 sheep and lambs last week, 2994 fewer than the previous week.
The online marketer said overdue rainfall in the past month has allowed vendors more flexibility and the retention of sheep and lambs has been seen in the lower online offerings.
Merino ewes presented in solid numbers across the board in last week’s AuctionsPlus sales. Young ewes, 1-2 years-old, averaged at $131 and sold to $212.50 for 240 26-27 month-old mid-February shorn Gum Hill blood ewes at Spalding in South Australia. The 53.4kg lwt score 1 and 2 ewes were scanned 100 percent in lamb to Border Leicester rams.
Merino ewes aged 3-5 years-old were also in high demand, averaging $142.50 and selling to $162.50 for 240 26-27 month-old mid-February shorn ewes at Spalding, SA, that sold to a Cumnock NSW buyer. These 53.4kg cwt ewes were mostly score 1 and 2, and were SIL 100pc to the Border Leicester. A line of 600 5-7 year-old proven Hazeldean blood early January shorn Merino breeders at Strathalbyn, South Australia sold for $148. The ewes weighed 50.6kg lwt, were mostly score 1 and 2, and SIL 112pc to Poll Dorset rams.
AuctionsPlus offered 5675 Merino wethers last week, including lambs, hoggets and grown wethers. A line of 940 early November shorn 4-5 year-olds at Cooma, NSW, sold $140.50, helped by their 60mm fleece, 64.2kg lwt and score 3 condition.
First cross ewes sold online last week for up to $230, for 110 rising two-year-olds at Campbells Forest, Victoria. The mid-October shorn 64.1kg ewes, mostly score 3, were scanned in lamb 163pc to White Suffolk rams. Another line of 180 early January shorn 23-26 month-old first cross ewes at Beckom, NSW, sold for $225. The 77.6kg lwt ewes had SIL 166pc to Poll Dorset rams.
A line of 155 late-October shorn first cross ewes lambs, 51.8kg lwt and mostly score 3, and SIL 100pc to Southdown sold for $220.50 at Edenhope in Victoria.
Store lambs weighing 18-23kg lwt made $46.50-$54, averaging $50, or 243c/kg liveweight, including skin value. The 27-32kg lambs sold for $81.50-$100, averaging $93 or 307c/kg, the 33-34kg lines sold from $100-$110 to average $103, or 309c/kg, and the 36-38kg lambs made $111-$121, averaging $116 or 308c/kg.
Cowra’s heavy trade lambs lift $6
In NSW at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 5550 lambs, 1070 more than the previous week, and 620 sheep, 300 fewer.
The NLRS said the supplementary-fed lambs were generally well-presented. Mainly heavy weights were penned, while the trade and store lamb supplies were limited. All the usual buyers operated and competition was good, resulting in a dearer sale.
Light lambs sold to processors averaged $113.80. Store lambs held firm and averaged $90. Heavy trade weights were $6 dearer and averaged 607c/kg. Most of the heavy trade weight lambs sold from $136-$146. Heavy weight lambs were $5 dearer and mostly made 590-605c/kg, with quite a few pens of extra heavy weight lambs making $180-$200.
Sheep quality was very mixed. Heavy first cross ewes sold cheaper mainly due to quality and averaged $112 or 385c/kg.
Griffith’s heavy lambs rise $4
At the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 8200 lambs, 4700 fewer than the previous week, and 1000 sheep, 1800 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to previous sales, with a good number of grain-assisted lines. Most were heavy and extra heavy lambs. The usual buyers competed in the slightly better market.
Light lambs lifted $4 to $118-$122. Trade weights were $2-$3 better at $125-$155. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs sold firm to $4 better. Heavy lambs made $150-$164 and extra heavies sold from $157-$230. Carcase prices averaged 602-610c/kg. Merino lambs sold strongly from $125-$170.
Sheep quality declined. Merino ewes sold from $84-$155. Heavy crossbred ewes made $120-$162.
Forbes’ heavy lambs $2-$6 cheaper
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 35,200 lambs, 16,912 more than last week, and 3900 sheep, 1402 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality was generally good. The supplementary-fed lambs showed plenty of finish, but there were some plainer lines. Mainly heavy and extra heavy lambs were offered, with a good supply of trade, store and Merino lambs. Competition was solid from the usual buyers, resulting in only a slightly easier market. Light lambs sold to the processors fell $4 and averaged $111, while stores averaged $90.60. Medium and heavy trade weights were firm to $5 cheaper and made 590-634c/kg. Most heavy trade weights sold from $125-$150. Heavy weight lambs were $2-$6 cheaper at around 590-620c/kg. A fair run of extra heavy weight lambs sold from $190 to a top of $216. Merino lambs sold from $138-$170.
Sheep quality continued to be mixed. Medium Merino ewes were $3 cheaper and averaged $99 or 421c/kg. Heavy first cross ewes averaged $138 and medium Merino wethers averaged $141 or 496c/kg.
Ballarat lambs $5-$10 dearer
In Victoria at the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 22,049 lambs, 2081 more than last week, and 5696 sheep, 991 more.
The NLRS said the usual buyers were offered a plain to very good quality yarding of lambs in all weights ranges.
There were eight pens of quality extra heavy lambs that made over $200, with the best selling to $223. Heavier trade weights were keenly sought and sold from $142.50-$172, averaging around 650c/kg cwt.
Lambs generally sold $5-$10 above the high levels of past weeks. Restockers and feeders paid from $78.50-$131 for better lines and $54-$72 for lighter drafts. Light 2 score lambs sold from $75-$110. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $108-$145 and averaged around 640c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $125-$158, with the heavier drafts making $142.50-$172, or 560-680c/kg, averaging around 650c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs made $152-$210, with the extra heavy lambs making $202-$223. Heavy Merino lambs made $125-$143 and the medium weights sold from $104-$129, averaging around 550c/kg. Heavy hoggets sold to $152.
The sheep included all weights and grades, generally $5-$10 dearer and more in places. More lighter sheep were penned. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $42-$106 and averaged around 360c/kg. Very light 1 score sheep sold from $32-$58. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $70-$126 and ranged from 320-480c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 420c/kg. Heavy 3-5 score crossbred sheep sold from $90-$140 and heavy crossbred wethers made $115-$161. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $94-$122, medium weights made $80.50-$116 and heavy Merino ewes sold for $108-$118.50, averaging around 420c/kg. Rams made to $140.
Dublin’s heavy lambs ease $3-$8
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 6561 lambs, 2439 fewer than last week, and 892 sheep, 108 less.
The NLRS said the generally very good quality yarding of crossbred and Merino lambs sold to softening demand from the usual trade and processor buyers, though there was no supermarket interest. Feeders and restockers were cautiously active on late 2015-drop crossbred lambs and full wool Merino lambs attracted some solid bidding.
Light weight crossbred lambs sold to feeders for $73-$102. Light weight crossbreds sold firm to processors at $104-$114. Light trade weight 4 scores were in firm demand from butchers at $125-$145, averaging 570c/kg. Heavy trade weights sold from $130-$156, or 586c/kg. Heavy weights eased $3-$8 to $150-$196 and made 541-613c/kg. Extreme heavy weights sold from $190-$197. Light weight Merino lambs sold to restockers for $38-$60 and light weights eased $3 to processors at $68-$108. Trade weight 3 score Merinos sold from $114-$140, or 496-525c/kg, and heavy weights made $136-$178. Heavy weight Merino hoggets sold from $120-$140 and the equivalent crossbreds made $120-$146.
The very small, mixed quality yarding of sheep sold to very brisk bidding from the usual processors. Light weight 2 score Merino ewes lifted $14 to $80-$118, or an average of 458c/kg. Heavy weight 3 score ewes lifted $18 to $109-$143, averaging 416c/kg. Heavy weight wethers lifted $16 to $124-$148, averaging 421c/kg. Heavy weight rams made $106-$132.
Naracoorte lambs sell to $185
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1344 lambs, 1239 fewer than last week, and 519 sheep, 311 less.
The NLRS said more trade and processor buyers, and some restockers, were active on the very mixed quality penning.
Light weight lambs sold to the trade at $63-$113, with a wide range of type and quality available. Restockers paid $84-$105 for light crossbred lambs and to $90 for Merinos. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $110-$120 and trade weight 3 score types made from $115-$134 at an average of 570c/kg. Heavy lambs sold from $134-$160 and the few extra heavy export weight drafts made $160-$185.
Hoggets sold from $112-$122 and light Merino ewes sold to $74. Medium weight crossbred ewes made $88-$102 and similar Merinos sold to $101, averaging 425c/kg. Heavy ewes rose $10-$20 to $109-$148. Rams sold from $88-$110.
Muchea lambs sell to $130
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 7000 lambs, 613 more than last week, and 2700 sheep, 736 fewer.
The NLRS said the improved quality yarding had more good lines of well-conditioned sheep, air freight and trade lambs. All the usual trade buyers were active and the market jumped considerably.
Increased Middle East demand for post-Ramadan religious festival celebrations created strong competition on air freight lambs which lifted $5-$10. Trade and ram lambs were $3-$5 dearer.
Increased grazier competition lifted light store lamb, Merino ewe and wether lamb prices by $3-$. Graziers were also active on light store crossbred lambs at $45-$67. Merino wether lambs sold to feeders for $50-$106. Merino ewe lambs sold to restockers for $40-74.
In the trade lamb section, air freight types 15-18kg cwt sold from $85-$104, with some $5-$10 dearer. The market lifted $3-$5 for trade lambs to $90-$118. Heavy prime lambs sold firm at $125-$130. Light ram lambs sold to graziers for $67-$85, up $3-$5. Trade and live exporter paid $87-$103 for better types. Hoggets sold from $75-$120, a good $10 dearer.
The mutton markets were $3-$5 dearer. Hoggets sold $10 dearer. Best heavy ewes sold from $80-$109. The score 2 processor sheep sold from $67-$82 and light boners made $31-$73.
Wethers sold to $122, with most better types making $100-$111. Rams remained firm, with older types selling to processors for $47-$49. Better younger rams suitable for the live export trade sold from $60-$87.
Tasmania’s lambs sell to $161
The NLRS said after the very rough weather and major flooding, markets were back to normal at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday, with agents yarding 1300 lambs, 900 more than last week, and 1500 sheep, 1450 more.
It was the best yarding of heavy lambs for some time, while mutton numbers were the highest for a few weeks. Restockers bought very light lambs for $50-$60, and light and light trade for $60-$106. Exporters paid $80-$93 for light lambs. Light trade lambs sold for $91-$106, trade weights made $109-$134, heavy lambs sold for $133-$144 and extra heavies for $153-$161.
Mutton prices were the highest in these yards for some years, with heavy ewes making $90-$115, medium weights $68-$95, light ewes $51-$71 and very light lines $18-$41.
Sources: NLRS, MLA, AuctionsPlus.