Trade lamb prices stabilise as restockers chase ewes and store lambs online

Terry Sim November 14, 2016
These July-August drop Poll Dorset cross lambs, 14.7kg cwt and score 1, sold for $90, at Bourke, NSW, on AuctionsPlus last week.

These July-August drop Poll Dorset cross lambs, 14.7kg cwt and score 1, sold for $90, at Bourke, NSW, on AuctionsPlus last week.

TRADE lamb prices stabilised firm to dearer in saleyard centres late last week, as the numbers offered declined in New South Wales, but increased in Victoria mid-week.

On Friday, fewer lambs were yarded in the Victorian and NSW centres selling, with trade lambs firm to dearer in the north, but fluctuating around last week’s prices at Shepparton in Victoria.

Over-the-hook rates last week were pitched lower in Victoria and South Australia, but firm in NSW.

The National Livestock Reporting Service is reporting increasing numbers of lambs showing dryness and grass seed contamination.

According to the National Livestock Reporting Service, lamb categories recorded weekly losses of 9-23 cents in their Eastern States Daily Indicators, leaving only restocker lambs at a 600c/kg-plus level.

After Friday’s sales, the ESDIs for the lamb categories, and their daily and weekly changes, were: restocker 608c/kg, down 2 cents, down 9c; Merinos 514c/kg, up 1c, down 23c; light 558c/kg, up 2c, down 13c; trade 530c/kg, down 1c, down 16c; heavy 514c/kg, no change, down 21c.  The national trade lamb indicator finished down 1 cent at 530c/kg, and the heavy indice was firm on 514c/kg.

The mutton indicators both improved 2 cents on Friday; the national indice to 369c/kg, and the ESDI to 370c/kg, up 10 cents for the week.

Cowra trade lambs $5 dearer

In New South Wales at the Cowra saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 7250 lambs, 770 fewer than last week, and 930 sheep, 430 more.

The NLRS said quality was very good, with the new season lambs in top condition. Most lambs were and heavy and trade new season lines, the number of old lambs was limited, but there was a good run of store lambs for restockers. All the usual buyers operated and competition was strong, resulting in a dearer sale.

Light lambs sold firm to local restockers at $98-$115. Medium and heavy trade weight new season lambs were $5 dearer and averaged 550-560c/kg cwt. Most of the heavy trade weights sold from $125-$135. Heavy weight new season lambs were $6-$8 stronger and averaged 550-555c/kg. A few pens of extra heavy weight lambs made $150-$159.

Sheep quality was good, with some heavy good conditioned sheep penned. Medium Merino ewes sold $6 dearer and averaged $85 or 320c/kg. Heavy Merino wethers averaged $104.90 or 360c/kg.

Griffith trade lambs firm

In the Griffith saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 4700 lambs, 1300 fewer than last week, and 3600 sheep, 600 more.

The NLRS said 3100 new season lambs were penned and quality was very mixed. More lambs showed signs of dryness and burr contamination. The usual buyers competed in a fairly steady market.

Light new season lambs lifted $1 to $108-$110. Trade weights held firm at $129-$144. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs were also firm at $143-$174. Carcase prices were 578-592c/kg.

Old trade weight lambs made $113-$130. Heavy lambs sold from $136-$139 and extra heavies made $149-$162.

The sheep were mostly mixed quality Merinos. Prices lifted, with Merino ewes making $80-$128. Crossbred ewes sold from $100-$130. Merino wethers made $94-$110.

Shepparton lamb prices firm

In Victoria at the Shepparton saleyards on Friday, the agents yarded 3200 lambs, 1100 fewer than last week, and 1000 sheep.

The NLRS said fewer lambs came forward as the young lamb season in the area starts to wind down. Lamb quality and weight was similar to last week, although most pens presented plainer with more dry-skinned and seed-affected lambs.

Fewer buyers attended, with some of last week’s domestic orders absent; however, there was enough demand from the core buying group to support the market. Prices were similar to a dollar or two each side of last week’s averages.

The market reached a top of $156 for heavy young lambs; one of five sales over $150, for lambs estimated at around 27-28kg cwt. Bidding varied over the middle runs of trade weight lambs, which made $118-$126, with the lower prices mainly recorded for pens showing signs of having slipped and lost carcase finish. Most lambs over 20kg sold to slaughter ranged around 500-520c/kg. There was less restocker activity and there weren’t many suitable lines available.

In the sheep pens, shorn crossbred ewes displaying a lot of weight and fat cover sold from $94-$106, to be a few dollars dearer than last week. There were no good lines of leaner trade weight mutton to generate reliable quotes. After the prime sale, agents had a small dispersal of first cross ewes, with a pen of shorn 3.5-year-old ewes selling for $184 to a local restocker.

AuctionsPlus numbers dip after big offering two weeks ago

After a huge online listing the previous week, AuctionsPlus sheep and lamb numbers fell by 14,613 to 75,421 last week.

The large offering of Merino ewe hoggets sold from $86.50-$213, with an average of $164. The top-priced lot were unjoined 150 17-18 month-old late September shown Ridgway Advance blood hoggets, 56.3kg lwt and mostly score 3, that were part of a flock reduction from Bordertown, South Australia. The 3-4 year-old Merino ewes sold from $85-$192 with an average of $136. The top price went to 30-32 month-old mid-March shorn Merino ewes at Wareek in Victoria. They weighed 57.9kg and were mostly score 3.

Older merino ewe numbers were strong this week and most were not station mated. Prices ranged from $95.50-$141, averaging $120. The top-priced line of 280 5.5 year-old early-October shorn ewes, 64kg lwt and mostly score 2, came from Horsham, in Victoria.

Merino wethers and wether lamb numbers were slightly back on last week, which lead to prices being stronger. Merino wether lambs sold from $70.50-$123, averaging $92. The top-priced line of 325 unshorn March-May drop Banavie and Kerrilyn blood wethers weighed 44.6kg and came from Concongella, Victoria. Merino wether hogget prices ranged from $80-$140, averaging $92. The top-priced line of 340 late-March shorn 17-18 month-old wethers, 60 kg and score 3, were at Dunolly in Victoria.

Store lambs under 30kg sold for $79-$105, averaging $94 or 368c/kg lwt, the 30-35kg lambs sold from $89-$102.5, averaging $97 or 290c/kg, the 35-40kg lines made $90-$126.50 averaging $107 or 287c/kg, and the over 40kg lambs sold from $95-$119.50, averaging $110 or 262c/kg.

Buyers across the eastern states competed for replacement first cross ewes on AuctionsPlus, resulting in stronger prices than last week. First cross ewe lambs sold from $123-$200, averaging $148. The top line of 136 11-12 month-old unshorn lambs, 50.6kg lwt and score 3, was offered at Ganmain, New South Wales.

Young unjoined first cross ewes sold from $180-$237, averaging $216. The top-priced line of 270 14-15 month-old late-August shorn ewes, 59.1kg and score 3, was offered at Wombat in New South Wales. A line of 252 6-7 year late-September shorn first cross ewes with 303 4-5 month-old Poll Dorset and Southdown lambs made $210. The ewes weighed 67kg, were mostly score 3, and the lambs were estimated to average 37kg lwt.

Other ewe highlights throughout the AuctionsPlus sheep sales this week included 7-12 month-old  Etiwanda and Genelink blood White Dorper ewes, 48.4kg lwt and score 3, at Brewarrina, NSW that sold for $175. A line of 220 mid-October shorn 16-17 month-old Dohne hoggets, 57.1kg lwt and score 3, at Tintinara, SA, sold for $190.50. A line of 2.5 year-old mid-September shorn Poll Dorset ewes, 81.3kg and score 5, at Girlambone NSW, sold for $206.

Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.


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