TRADE and heavy lamb prices continued to strengthen mid-week, spurred on by domestic processors building Australia Day campaign supplies and keen exporters.
In New South Wales at Wagga on Thursday, the National Livestock Reporting Service said extra heavy lambs attracted premiums as export buyers opt to bid on lambs above 30kg carcase weight, consistently paying over 600c/kg.
Although restocker, Merino and light lamb prices eased slightly mid-week, and restockers struggled to match trade bidding, strong restocking inquiry competing with light lamb exporters is still pricing many crossbred drafts at 650c/kg-plus and up to more than 800c/kg at times.
After Thursday’s saleyard sales, the NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicators for lambs were: restocker, 666c/kg, down 13 cents; Merino 548c/kg, down 4c; light 625c/kg, down 3c; trade 609c/kg, up 1c; heavy 603c/kg, up 5c. The national trade lamb indicator was on 610c/kg and the heavy lamb indicator closed on 603c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton fell 5 cents to 406c/kg and the national indicator is on 405c/kg.
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Carcoar’s best trade lambs lift $8
In New South Wales at the Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange at Carcoar on Wednesday, the agents yarded 10,500 lambs, 1900 more than last week, and 4700 sheep, 500 fewer.
The NLRS said there was a fair selection of trade and heavy weight lambs, and some good lambs for the restockers. There were also a fair percentage of plain quality lambs and hoggets lacking finish.
Light weight lambs sold $5 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $66-$100. Better quality trade lambs were up to $8 dearer and the plainer lambs were cheaper. Trade weight new season lambs sold from $100-$138 and old trade lambs made $100-$147 to average 600c/kg cwt.
The heavy weight lambs were $3 dearer. The over 22kg 4 score old lambs made $140-$182 and the few heavy weight new season lambs sold to $158.
Trade weight Merino lambs sold to $100. Restockers paid to $112 and hoggets were dearer, making up to $130.
Most sheep in the mostly good quality yarding of mutton sold $3-$6 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $59-$89. The better 3 and 4 score Merinos made $80-$110 and crossbred sold to $135. Merino wethers sold to $127 and restockers paid to $127 for crossbred ewes scanned in lamb.
Heavy lambs in short supply at Yass
At the South Eastern Livestock Exchange in Yass on Wednesday, the agents yarded 21,710 lambs and 11,650 sheep.
The NLRS said lamb quality was mixed. There were plenty of unshorn lambs offered and a large percentage of light weights returned to the paddock. There were reasonable numbers of shorn lambs, ranging from light weights to heavy trades. Heavy lambs were in short supply.
With hot weather and the drying pasture feed means most of lambs are falling in yield. All the usual buyers operated and a few extra southern restockers were active in the cheaper market.
Restocker lambs sold from $82-$118. The medium and heavy trade weights made $108-$138. Heavy lambs were more consistent and sold from $148-$168. Average carcase weight prices ranged from 575-610c/kg. Crossbred hoggets sold to $135.
Sheep quality was mixed, with plenty of light sheep offered. A few runs of heavy weights sold to solid competition. The market trend was easier than previous weeks. Light ewes averaged $78/head. Medium weights sold from $80 to $116 and heavy crossbred ewes reached $128/head. Most averaged 375c to 420c/kg cwt.
New season lambs sold to $157 and averaged $111.34, Merino lambs made to $89.20 and averaged $51.72. Crossbred lambs sold to $169 and averaged $111.82.
In the sheep pens, hoggets made to $135.20 and averaged $95.94 and Merino wethers sold to $130 and averaged $97.40. Crossbred ewes made to $144 and averaged $104.50 and Merino ewes sold to $114.60 and averaged $93.79.
Wagga’s extra heavy lambs surge $12
At the Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 34,550 lambs, 7100 more than last week, and 10,100 sheep, 750 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb numbers lifted after the dearer market last week. More extra heavy lambs are starting to come into the market and are attracting premiums as export buyers opt to bid on lambs above 30kg carcass weight. There were reasonable numbers of shorn lambs, with major domestic buyers igniting the bidding on recently shorn drafts.
Light weight store type lambs attracted a small contingent of restockers, who struggled to match the dearer trends. All the usual export and domestic buyers attended.
Trade lamb prices generally stepped up another $5-$10, with buyers trying to fill orders for the Australia Day lamb campaign. Most trade lambs sold from $124-$168 to average 600-618c/kg. Store lamb numbers were limited and they made $86-$116. Light weight lambs offered to processors were very mixed in quality and buyers were selective, paying $90-$112.
Heavy lambs were well-supplied, with shorn lambs attracting the best competition. Shorn heavy lambs sold $7 dearer at $154-$176. Prices for extra heavy lambs surged by $12 to $171-$215.20, averaging 602c/kg.
The very mixed quality yarding of mutton sold to the usual buyers. Trade sheep averaged 399c/kg. Heavy mutton sold to strong competition at prices unchanged to $4 cheaper. Heavy crossbred ewes made $110-$137. Heavy Merino sheep sold from $114-$126 to average 421c/kg.
Hamilton’s heavy lambs lift $5-$10
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 27,679 lambs, 4148 more than last week.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed, with many dry lambs offered. The yarding included some large drafts of light and store lambs, and a good selection of trade and heavy lambs, with more shorn lines.
Most of the usual buyers operated and there was more restocker inquiry from South Australia and northern Victoria in the fluctuating market.
Light lambs were equal to one dollar cheaper, unshorn medium and heavy trade lambs eased $4-$8, although shorn lambs showed gains. Light and medium shorn lambs were $3-$5 dearer and the heavy shorn and unshorn lambs lifted $5-$10 higher, with a pen of shorn lambs estimated at 35kg cwt making $216.
Restockers were very active, paying $94-$118 for good store lambs and $34-$97 for lighter lots, up to 700c/kg or more in places, particularly for shorn lambs. Light weight 2 score lambs sold from $95-$115, averaging 660c/kg. Light trade weights sold from $110-$124 to average 640c/kg. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 score unshorn lambs sold from $119-$149 and heavier trade weight drafts made $143-$166, averaging 595c/kg.
Heavy 3 and 4 score unshorn lambs sold from $158-$174 and the extra heavy lambs made $171-$188, averaging 610c/kg. Light trade weight shorn lambs, 2 and 3 score, made $106-$118 to average 645c/kg. Medium trade weight shorn lambs sold from $118-$142 to average 615c/kg and heavy trade weight 3 and 4 scores sold from $139-$154. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs made $158-$171 and extra heavy lambs sold from $180-$216 with some extra competition, making 610-620c/kg.
Horsham’s shorn lambs lift $5-$10
In Victoria at the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 890 lambs, 2832 more than last week, and 643 sheep, 132 fewer.
The NLRS said with the grain harvest winding up and good returns for lambs, numbers rose this week. Lamb quality was average to good, with fewer buyers attending.
Heavy lambs were in good numbers and made to $207. Well-finished trade weight lambs were in shorter supply and sold from $129-$142. Heavier drafts made $141.50-$160 and averaged around 610c/kg. Most shorn lambs sold $5-$10 up on last week.
Dorper lambs sold from $99-$136 and Merino lambs made $93-$124. Restocker lambs were in demand and mostly sold dearer at $80-$110.
Light 2 score shorn lambs sold to $96. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs made $104-$131 and averaged around 610c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $129-$142 and the heavier weights made $141.50-$160, or 580-650c/kg to average around 610-620c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $151-$195 and the extra heavy lambs made to$207. Heavy hoggets sold from $112-$118.
The sheep yarding included all weights and grades. Heavy crossbred ewes sold to $132. Plainer medium weight sheep sold a few dollars easier. Light weight 2 score sheep made $56-$76. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $77-$112, or 350-465c/kg. Merino mutton averaged around 430c/kg. Medium weight Merino wethers sold from $110-$113 and the heavy crossbred sheep made $95-$132, averaging around 380c/kg.
Ouyen lamb prices follow market
At the Ouyen Livestock Exchange on Thursday, the agents offered 6711 lambs and 1229 sheep.
Prices opened strongly, following the market trend, in the centre’s first sale for 2017.
New season crossbred export lambs sold from $131-$201, or 570-610c/kg cwt, and trade weights made $115-$157, or 580-650c/kg.
Light Merino lambs sold from $100-$120 and the heavy lines made $125-$187, or 550-570c/kg.
In the mutton pens, light sheep sold for $55-$103, or 400-430c/kg, and heavy sheep made $100-$128, or 380-400c/kg. The next scheduled sale is Thursday, February 9.
Strong competition for Hamilton sheep
At Hamilton on Thursday, the agents yarded 14,655 sheep, 3212 fewer than last week.
The NLRS said the regular buyers competed strongly on the mixed quality yarding of good conditioned, light and plain and light crossbred and Merino sheep. Very light 1 score sheep sold equal, light and medium sheep were $4-$8 dearer and heavy mutton sold to good demand to be firm to $2 higher. Restocker interest was limited but they paid $90-$123 for full wool Merino ewes.
Very light weight sheep made $23-$58, and light weight 1 and 2 scores sold from $58-$91 to average 440c/kg. Medium trade weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $76-$104 and full wool Merino ewes made to $120 at 371-464c/kg. Merino mutton averaged 435c/kg and crossbred mutton made 400c/kg.
Heavy 3 and 4 score Merino ewes mostly sold for $107-$117, with a full wool pen lot making $126. Heavy crossbreds 3-5 scores sold from $95-$128, averaging 375c/kg. Heavy Merino wethers made $115-$131 and medium weights sold from $88-$123, averaging an estimated 430c/kg. Heavy rams of all breeds made $94-$127. There will be no sheep sale next week on Thursday due to the Australia Day holiday.
Mt Gambier’s light lambs lose $5-$8
In South Australia at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 9500 lambs, 6666 more than last week, and 1200 sheep, 821 more.
The NLRS said the usual trade and restocker buyers were active throughout the sale.
Heavy weight lambs peaked at $180 to be equal to the previous sale. Light young lambs lost $5-$8 week-on-week. Light shorn young lambs sold to restockers for $66-$92 and the trade paid $108-$116. Lambs over 22kg made $122-$155.
Older lambs, mostly supplementary-fed, presented in very good quality condition. Light older lambs 16-20kg made $108-$116, the 20-24kg lambs sold from $113-$158 and the best heavy weights made $136-$180. The few hoggets mainly sold from $90-$106.
The crossbred ewes were mostly medium-heavy weights that sold from $87-$124. Too few rams were offered to quote.
Katanning’s trade lambs firm
In Western Australia at the Katanning saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 10,734 lambs, 3884 more than last week, and 8000 sheep, 2000 fewer.
The NLRS said the mainly good quality sheep and lamb yarding was dominated by mutton and store lambs that sold to strong demand. All the usual buyers attended, including live exporters.
Light weight lambs were up $3 making $67-$102. Trade weight lambs remained firm selling from $95-$118. Heavy lambs rose by $2 selling from $115-$127 and extra heavy lambs sold-$130. Feeder buyers and restockers paid from $47 for the light immature lambs and up-$117 for the heavier drafts.
Mutton prices were up $1-$9, with light weight ewes with a full fleece making $51-$89. Prime 3 and 4 score sheep with a full fleece sold for $78-$117 to the trade.
Plain young blue tag ewes sold from $65 up to $103 for better types, to restockers. Store ewes with a full fleece rose by $7-$11 to $51-$95. Wethers sold to processors for $56-$147, and restockers and feeder buyers paid $56-$119 for large framed types with a full fleece. Full wool wethers suitable for live export made $82-$112.
The biggest movers this week were heavy rams selling to processors for up to $111. Ram lambs sold from $50-$120, depending on size, and rams suitable for live export made $116. Older rams sold to processors for $69-$111 and for $50-$120 to restockers and feeders.
Warwick lambs sell to $152
In Queensland at the Warwick saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 2027 lambs and hoggets, and 1304 sheep.
In a larger yarding of sheep and lambs, the lamb prices were quoted as firm to a shade dearer and mutton rates were dearer for all descriptions.
The top-priced lambs sold for $152 for V.G. and B.A. Smith of Biddeston.
Crossbred lambs 51-55kg lwt sold from $140-$152, the 46-50kg lambs made $134-$147, 41-45kg lines sold for $128-$140 and 35-40kg lambs made $95-$111.
Shorn crossbred hoggets 53.7kg lwt sold to $110. Trade wethers with $20 skins sold to $118, or 370c/kg cwt, and light wethers with $4 skins made to $87, or 280c/kg.
Heavy crossbred ewes with $20 skins sold to $116, or 360c/kg cwt, and light ewes with $2 skins made to $78, or 270c/kg.
Sources: MLA, NLRS.