Trade lamb rates continued to improve in saleyards across Australia early this week, but heavy lamb and restocker category prices lost ground, sometimes on quality.
Saleyards prices for lamb and mutton continued to move ahead of over-the-hook rates, which improved in most eastern states this week.
After Tuesday’s saleyard sales, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the Eastern States Daily Indicator for trade lambs as up four cents to 554c/kg cwt, while the heavy lamb indice was down three cents to 560c/kg cwt. The ESDI for restockers lambs lost 12 cents to 584c/kg cwt, Merino lambs were down seven cents to 493c/kg cwt and light lambs closed unchanged at 541c/kg cwt.
The national indicator for trade lambs was up five cents to 557c/kg cwt and the heavy lamb indice was at 562c/kg cwt, down three cents.
The mutton indicators lost ground over the first two days of sales; down six cents to 349c/kg cwt in the east and down seven cents nationally, to 349c/kg cwt.
NSW lamb grid rates lift to 560c/kg cwt
The NLRS said following positive price trends in saleyards over the last few weeks, lamb and mutton over-the-hook rates across all weight ranges moved higher. Trade weight lamb rates made the greatest gains, topping at 560¢/kg cwt.
The OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 18-22kg, 490-560c/kg, +13-15 cents; 22-24kg, 500-560c/kg, +17c; 24-26kg, 510-530c/kg, +17c; 26kg+, 510-530c/kg, +2c; Merinos 16-22kg, 410-520c/kg, +4c. Mutton: 14-18kg, 240-310c/kg, +15c; 18-24kg, 310-350c/kg, +9c; 24kg+, 300-360c/kg, +8c.
Victorian mutton rates rise to 350c/kg cwt
The NLRS said following good rainfall over the past week, over-the-hook lamb rates climbed higher across most categories. Most contributors lifted mutton rates, with medium weight carcases reaching 350c/kg cwt.
The OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 540c/kg, no change; 18-24kg, 540-560c/kg, +8-10c; 24-26kg, 520-540c/kg, +5c; 6kg+, 520c/kg, +10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 500c/kg. Mutton: 14-18kg, 280-340c/kg, +25c; 18-24kg, 310-350c/kg, +28c; 24kg+, 290-340c/kg, +28.
SA OTH lamb rates lift 10c/kg
Over-the-hook lamb rates lifted by an average of 10c/kg across all categories this week. Mutton rates were also dearer, with medium weight carcases averaging 340c/kg cwt.
The OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 500-520c/kg, +10c; 18-24kg, 500-560c/kg, +10c; 24-26kg, 500-520c/kg, +10c; Merinos 16-22kg, 460-480c/kg, +10c. Mutton: 14-18kg, 230-240c/kg, +18c; 18-24kg, 320-360c/kg, +18c; 24kg+, 320-360c/kg, +18c.
Heavy WA mutton to 540c/kg cwt on grid
In WA, the OTH rates for 2-4 score lambs are: 16-18kg, 420-510c/kg; 18-22kg, 480-540c/kg; 22-26kg, 490-540c/kg; 26kg+, 440-510c/kg; Merinos 16-22kg, 400-460c/kg. Mutton: 14-18kg, 230-240c/kg; 18-24kg, 240-280c/kg.
Tasmania OTH rates unchanged
In Tasmania, the OTH for 2-4 score lambs are unchanged on: 0-16kg, 460-480c/kg; 18-26kg+, 480-500. Mutton: 0-14kg, 260-280c/kg; 14-18kg, 260-300c/kg; 18-24kg, 270-300c/kg; 24kg+, 260-300c/kg.
Prices come back at Dubbo despite quality
In NSW on Monday at the Dubbo saleyards, the agents yarded 21,000 lambs, 14,420 more than last week, and 11,430 sheep, 7660 more.
The NLRS said the mixed quality yarding had a good number of excellent heavy weight lambs, along with a fair number of trade weights. Light weight lambs were also well-supplied. All the regular buyers operated.
Lightweight lambs were $3-$5 cheaper, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $50-$94. Trade weight lambs were $6-$10 cheaper, with the 18-22kg 3 scores selling from $92-$128 to average 550c/kg cwt. Heavy weight lambs were $4-$6 cheaper for 4 score weighing up to 26kg, while those over 26kg were fully firm, with the over 22kg cwt 4 scores selling from $130-$189. The restockers paid to $111 for lambs to restock and $134 for first cross ewe lambs.
Most grades were represented in the fair quality yarding of mutton. Light weight ewes were $7 cheaper, while the better medium and heavy weight sheep were $10-$12 cheaper. The 2 score ewes sold from $40-$74, while the better 3 and 4 scores sold from $72-$115 for Merinos and $110/head for crossbreds. The 3 and 4 score wether wethers sold from $78-$116.
Tamworth trade lambs cheaper on quality
In the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 3300 lambs, 300 fewer than last week, and 1450 sheep, 600 less.
The NLRS said there was a reduction in numbers despite the public holiday next Monday. The quality of the lambs was very mixed, ranging from well-finished heavy weights down to some fairly plain quality light weights. There was a fair supply of young lambs, mostly in trade weight categories. The same buyers from the previous sale attended.
The market for trade weight lambs was slightly cheaper in places, mostly quality related, with the better quality second cross lambs remaining firm. Light lambs to restockers sold well for what they were. Young first cross ewes attracted keen restocker competition, selling to a top of $177 to be dearer than the previous sale.
There was little change in the market for heavy and extra heavy lambs, with prices increasing in line with weight.
The sheep market was firm to dearer, with ewes making up the bulk of the offering. A large line of young Dorper ewes sold to a restocker at $90.
Forbes lambs sell cheaper
In the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 18,750 lambs, 850 more than last week, and 5450 sheep, 550 more.
The NLRS said quality continues to be mixed. Good numbers of finished and plain lambs were offered. Most lambs were in the heavy and extra heavy categories. The usual buyers competed in a market that was cheaper for the lambs but lifted for the older sheep.
Light lambs slipped $2, selling from $90-$102. Trade weights were $3-$5 easier, with prices ranging from $105-$132. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were $3-$5 cheaper. Heavy lambs sold from $128-$145. Extra heavy weights made $140-$198. Carcase weight prices averaged from 520c/kg-559c/kg.
The mutton was mostly mixed quality Merinos and prices lifted $4-$5. Merino ewes sold from $75-$128 and crossbred ewes ranged from $72-$122. Merino wethers sold from $80-$139.
Inverell lambs and sheep dearer
In the Inverell saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 2480 lambs, 1680 more than last week, and 2040 sheep, 1640 more.
The NLRS said the quality of the lambs was mixed, with an even spread of young, old and Dorper lambs. The usual buyers attended.
Market trends through the trade weight lambs were firm to dearer than the previous sale held a fortnight ago. Heavy lambs in fair numbers sold to cheaper trend than the previous sale with restricted competition.
The quality of the sheep improved, with quite a few well-finished medium and heavy sheep. Market trends were dearer, with medium and heavy sheep showing significant price gains.
Heavy lambs $2-$4 easier at Bendigo
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 27,833 lambs, 11,785 more than last week, and 10,479 sheep, 2562 more.
The NLRS said lamb numbers jumped ahead of next week’s Australia Day public holiday. The overall quality of the yarding improved, with more weight and finish. More shorn lambs were also displaying longer wool lengths, improving potential skin returns. The regular buyers operated in a market that varied based on quality and weight. Heavier lambs over about 22kg cwt averaged $2-$4 easier compared to last week. However, lightweight slaughter lambs and store lambs were significantly dearer in places. The market reached a top of $178.80 for a pen of extra heavy shorn lambs estimated to have a carcass weight of 33-34kg cwt.
Restockers from Finley in NSW, Shepparton, Horsham, Echuca and the local Bendigo area paid from $95-$104.20 for the better quality pens of crossbred store lambs. Light lambs sold to slaughter generally made $80-$106. Several agents offered large lines of light and trade weight Merino lambs and the lead pens displaying reasonable cover and finish sold from $103-$128, averaging over 500c/kg cwt. Heavy trade and export lamb prices generally ranged from $132-$156, varying from about 520c/kg-560c/kg cwt to average slightly less than a week ago at around 540c/kg cwt. There were about 28 pens of extra heavy shorn lambs that sold from $160-$178.80, to range from 520c/kg-540c/kg cwt.
The sheep yarding included several lines of heavy crossbred and Merino sheep. Most sales ranged from an estimated 330c/kg-400c/kg for the top pens of longer wool Merino wethers, to range from 340c/kg-350c/kg cwt. Extra heavy crossbred ewes sold from $104-$134.60, with restockers paying to $130 for ewes to join. The top pens of Merino wethers sold from $92-$127. Medium weight ewes sold from $70-$90 and light weight pens made from $44-$65.
Lamb prices hold firm at Ballarat
In the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 26,489 lambs, 4611 fewer than last week, and 17,559 sheep, 3059 more.
The NLRS said another good quality lamb yarding was offered to the usual buyers. A larger number of shorn young lambs, well-finished on fodder and local stubbles was yarded. A good number of young lambs with longer skins was penned. The market reached a top of $184 for extra heavy export lambs with most lambs selling generally firm on last week. Trade weight and heavy young lambs with longer skins sold from $114-$138 with odd sales out to $152.
Feeders and restockers were active and competed with processors for suitable lambs. Restockers paid mostly from $87-$118 and processors paid from $78-$122, at around 560c/kg cwt. Restockers also paid $114 for crossbred ewes.
Lighter trade 2 and 3 score shorn lambs sold from $88-$122. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $116-$129 and from $121-$140 for the heavier drafts, ranging from 520c/kg-600c/kg cwt to average around 550c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs sold from $139.60-$165.20 to average around 540c/kg cwt. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $163-$184. Heavy hoggets sold from $90.50-$128.
A large number of heavy crossbred ewes and several good quality pens of Merino wethers in near full wool were yarded. Most of the regular buyers attended and operated in a slightly cheaper market with most sheep selling a few dollars easier on last week. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $44-$85. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $51-$100, they ranged from 270c/kg-400c/kg cwt to average around 340c/kg cwt. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $77-$122.50 with heavy crossbred wethers selling to $124. Heavy Merino wethers sold from $86-$130, and lighter weights sold from $54-$105 at around 350c/kg-360c/kg cwt.
Naracoorte lambs dearer
In SA at the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 3695 lambs, 112 more than last week, and 1438 sheep, 1532 fewer.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers were present, along with a small restocker presence. Overall the market sold at dearer levels across all categories.
The light weight lambs ranged from $50-$98 to the trade to be $4 dearer. Light weight trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $98-$112, with restockers paying from $50-$103. Trade weight 3 score lambs also rose by up to $5 to $105-$127 at an average of 530c/kg cwt.
Heavy 4 score lambs ranged from $123-$152, up $8, averaging 530c/kg cwt. The few pens of export 4 and 5 score lambs ranged from $162-$168.
The lighter sheep remained firm while the heavier selection were up to $10 dearer. Light weight 1 and 2 scores ranged from $45-$72, with medium weight 2 and 3 scores returning from $72-$96 to average 370c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 and 5 score prices improved to $100-$125. Lightweight wethers ranged from $72-$85, with the heavier selection making from $86-$122. Rams mainly ranged from $50-$65.
Only best trade lambs firm at Dublin
At the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin, the agents yarded 10,417 lambs, 2618 more than last week, and 3730 sheep, 679 more.
The NLRS said the generally good quality crossbred and Merino lambs sold to easing demand from the usual trade and processor buyers. The best quality trade lambs were the exception, selling up to values of last week’s strong results. Restockers and feeders were cautiously active on suitable light weight lambs
Light weight 2 score crossbred lambs to feeders eased $2, selling from $68-$95, light weight 3 score crossbreds to trade buyers lifted very marginally, selling from $102-$108 and averaging 521c/kg cwt. The light trade weight 4 scores eased $8, selling from $113-$126 and averaging 536c/kg cwt. Heavy trade weight 4 scores remained unchanged, making $115-$140 to average 545c/kg cwt. The heavy weight lambs eased $5-$14, selling from $138-$160 and returning 538c/kg-546c/kg cwt. A few extra heavy weights sold at $165.
Very light weight Merino lambs sold to restockers from $24-$55. The light weight 3 score Merinos to processors eased $3, selling from $80-$100. Trade weight 3 scores eased $4, selling from $100-$105 and averaging 441c/kg cwt. Heavy weights sold from $107-$125, to range from 454c/kg-466c/kg cwt. Heavy weight Merino hoggets sold from $93-$118 and crossbreds made $100-$122.
The larger yarding of mixed sheep sold to easing competition from the usual trade and processor buyers while restockers failed to provide any input. Light weight 2 score ewes eased $2, selling from $55-$76 and averaging 276c/kg cwt. Prices for heavy weight 3 score ewes remained unchanged, ranging from $75-$100 and averaging 302c/kg cwt. Heavy weight wethers eased significantly, retreating $20 and selling from $82-$108. Heavy weight rams made $60-$80.
Live export demand lifts at Muchea
In WA at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 6362 lambs, 2198 fewer than last week, and 7102 sheep, 213 fewer.
The NLRS said the reduction in lamb numbers was due to less light and store lambs. Merino ewes were the largest category, while there was a moderate number of prime trade lambs with secondary, light and store lamb numbers well-supplied. All buyers were active, with live export competition strong on wethers, including wether lambs.
Prices remained solid for prime lambs. Wether and store lamb prices lifted $3-$7. Light store lambs made $26-$56, back marginally on quality. Light lamb to live export, air freight processors and feeders lifted $2-$4 with prices from $58-$89. Trade lambs made $83-$114, to be very close to firm, with the limited prime drafts selling close to 490c/kg cwt, but most making around 475c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs sold from $106-$129.
Heavy ewe prices were solid, but rates eased for the lighter conditioned drafts with light ewes from $30-$56, firm to $5 easier partially due to quality. The 2 score ewes to processors eased $5, selling from $52-$78 for close to 275c/kg cwt average. Better 3 score and heavy ewes made $60-$90 and were close to firm at 275c/kg. Restockers purchased light conditioned mature ewes at cheaper prices with ewe hoggets marginally dearer on quality at $50-$85.
Wether prices were driven by live export competition. Export weight drafts made $70-$92.59 to be $7 dearer to live exporters. Lighter and store wethers made $63-$86 and were close to $5 dearer. Ram prices remained solid with exporters and feeders active. Ram lambs sold to $85 with other young drafts making $40-$80. Older rams to processors made $20-$55.
Sources: MLA, NLRS and AuctionsPlus.