Trade lamb prices moved more surely up to and above 600c/kg and heavy lambs sold to $204 in saleyards mid-week, as domestic processors and exporters sought supplies from smaller offerings.
Many trade lambs in saleyards are now selling above current grids and equal to forward contracts of 580-590c/kg for 18-25kg lambs, delivered June.
Sheep prices also improved further from the start of the week, reaching 434c/kg at Wagga and pushing the National Livestock Reporting Service’s Eastern States Daily Indicator for mutton up four cents to 400c/kg and the national indice to 399c/kg.
Trade lambs to settle around 600c/kg
Elders Wagga auctioneer Joe Wilks said lamb prices were generally around $10 dearer with the best heavy lambs making to $204. Crossbred ewes sold to processors for up to $130.
“The sale started off very strong and you wouldn’t it got dearer, though with the last agent selling buyers had to fill trucks and prices were very sporadic and a lot dearer in places.”
Mr Wilks said lamb yardings across NSW were down this week with processors needing to pay more to get lambs. Some light lambs also sold to a Tasmanian processor.
“A lot of store blokes and traders had to lift their price another $8-$10 and were still not getting much.”
He said yardings were new reduced due to many farmers getting on tractors after recent rain.
“Our lambs yesterday were anything from 570-610c/kg cwt and I reckon you are looking at it hovering around that 600c/kg mark for a fair while.”
NLRS slaughter lamb indicators lift 10-12 cents
The NLRS quoted all Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb as improved mid-week, apart from restocker lambs which lost one cent to close on 545c/kg after Thursday’s saleyard sales.
The other ESDIs for lamb are: Merinos 507c/kg, up 6 cents; light 538c/kg, up 8c; trade 550c/kg, up 10c and heavies 555c/kg, up 12c. The national trade lamb indicator closed on 551c/kg, up 10 cents, and the heavy indice is on 556c/kg, up 13 cents
Carcoar’s heavy lambs $16-$20 dearer
In NSW at Carcoar’s Central Tablelands Livestock Exchange on Wednesday, the agents yarded 4500 lambs, 5000 fewer than last week, and 2200 sheep, 1850 fewer.
The NLRS said following the excellent rains over the past few days numbers were back considerably. The mixed yarding of lambs had some good heavy weights and a fair number of lightweights. Lightweight lambs were $12 dearer, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 scores selling from $70-$99. Trade lambs were $14-$18 dearer, with the 18-22kg 3 scores making $102-$137, to average 568c/kg cwt.
Heavy weight lambs were $16-$20 dearer with the over 22kg 4 scores selling from $130-$200, to average 583c/kg. Restocker lambs were also dearer, at $70 to $115 and hoggets sold to $121.
The mixed quality yarding of mutton was not to the standard of the last sale. However, light and medium weight Merino ewes were $5 dearer and the heavier sheep sold $18-$20 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $25-$77, the better 3 and 4 scores made $75-$139 for crossbreds and $127.50 for Merinos. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $82-$120.
Cootamundra’s trade lambs gain $8
At Cootamundra on Wednesday the agents yarded 4400 lambs, 1400 more than last week, and 2400 sheep, 764 more.
The NLRS said lamb numbers lifted despite good rainfall in the supply area. Quality was affected, with more secondary lambs penned. Heavy trade weights and heavy lambs were well-supplied and there more light weights. All but one of the usual buyers operated in a dearer market compared to the last sale held a fortnight ago.
Light processing lambs sold from $64-$94. The medium and heavy trade weight lambs gained $8, selling from $105-$129 to range from 550-570c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs were $2-$7 stronger, depending on weight, and sold from $123-$155 to average 540c/kg cwt. Extra heavy weights topped at $180, with most averaging 540c/kg cwt.
Competition was strong for all weights and grades of sheep with prices lifting $10-$15 on most lines. Ewes were best supplied and the medium weights sold from $72-$112. Heavy ewes made from $100-$124 and most ranged from 370-410c/kg cwt.
Wagga lambs sell to $204
At the Wagga Wagga saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 25,000 lambs, 11,000 fewer than last week, and 5000 sheep, 2000 less.
Numbers dropped significantly with producers now sowing crops after substantial rain across the region. Lamb quality was mixed across all weights and grades. All buyers and processors operated in the much dearer market.
Trade lambs were in shorter supply and prices strengthened substantially over all categories. Light trade weight lambs were limited and the better finished lambs averaged $122.10. There were more medium and heavy trade lambs and limited supplies of supplementary-fed shorn young lambs. Select butcher orders and stronger demand from major domestic processors drove the market noticeably higher.
Plenty of trade lambs sold above 600c/kg cwt, with the majority averaging 594c/kg. There were fewer Merino lambs and well-finished pens suitable for the trade sold $7-$13 dearer. Plainer light weight lambs were keenly sought by processors and prices lifted $8-$12 due to the lack of numbers. Heavy and extra heavy lambs sold to strong competition, though there was a greater variation in quality. The bulk of the heavy and extra heavy lambs made from $144-$204. Heavy lambs averaged 579c/kg while the extra heavy pens averaged 563c/kg.
Sheep quality was mixed with most being medium weights. Merino ewes suitable for the trade were in reasonable supply and prices were generally unchanged to $3 cheaper. Trade sheep made from $74-$117 to average 415c/kg cwt. Heavy sheep were in limited numbers, selling from $110-$103.20. Heavy wethers sold to $138.20, to average 434c/kg cwt.
Hamilton hit 600c/kg cwt
In Victoria at the Hamilton saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 11,589 lambs, 1787 fewer than last week, and 6363 sheep, 802 more.
The NLRS said lamb quality ranged from good quality heavies and medium trades down to more unfinished and lighter conditioned pens. The usual buyers competed.
There was a dearer trend throughout the market, with lighter and light trade lambs $5-$7 dearer and medium to heavy lambs $7-$10 dearer. Restockers from South Australia, Shepparton and locally found it harder to obtain numbers, paying up to 600c/kg cwt at times. Light lambs, 1 to 2 score, sold from $60-$108 and medium trade lambs, 18-22kg cwt, 2 and 3 scores made $109-$129, averaging 565c/kg. The heavy 4 score, 22kg-plus lambs made from $130-$162 and averaged around 535c/kg cwt.
Sheep of all weights and grades attracted spirited competition. Prices were firm to $2 dearer for light weight sheep, $3-$5 dearer for medium mutton and up to $10 higher in isolated sales. Heavy export sheep were also firm to sometimes $6 dearer, especially the Merino wethers.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $48-$74 and medium 2 and 3 score mutton made $75-$96, averaging 370c/kg cwt. The heavy grade 4 and 5 score sheep sold from $96-$118 and averaged an estimated 335c/kg. Best Merino wethers sold from $106-$120, or from 380-420c/kg.
Horsham’s wether mutton lifts up to $20
At the Horsham saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 8386 lambs, 1105 fewer than last week, and 2897 sheep, 583 more.
The NLRS said the usual buyers operated strongly on the very good quality offering of trade weight and heavy lambs.
Lambs generally sold $2-$10 dearer than last week and reached a market top of $195. Merino lambs sold from $86-$125, to be up to $10 dearer. Restockers were quiet, but did pay from $89-$117 for near full wool young Merino wethers.
Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $97-$115. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $118-$125, with the heavier lots selling from $122-$144, ranging from 520-580c/kg cwt to average around 540c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $138-$170 to average around 540c/kg. Extra heavy export lambs sold from $174-$195.
An excellent yarding of mainly heavy sheep sold to strong competition, with ewe mutton up to $10 dearer and the wethers making up to $20 more in places. A pen of 220 Merino wethers, estimated at 38kg cwt in near full wool, sold to a market top of $150.
Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $62-$89. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $77-$112, ranging from 360-480c/kg cwt, with the Merino ewes averaging around 430c/kg. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $95-$130 and heavy Merino wethers made $117-$150. Medium weights sold from $105-$109.50 to average about 420c/kg.
Ouyen’s heavy lambs $5-$8 dearer
The OLE said the market trend and stronger buyer competition for quality pushed prices for heavy export lambs to $197 or 560c/kg cwt, making them $5-8 dearer than at the last sale.
Trade lambs were firm to $5 dearer and store light slaughter lambs $5-$10 dearer. Prices for quality Merino lambs reached up to $127.60 or 540c/kg.
Mutton prices remain firm. Crossbred export lambs sold to $136-$197 or 530-560c/kg, the trade weights sold from $108-$147 or 530-580c/kg. The store and light crossbred lambs made $40-$110.
Light Merino lambs sold from $35-$114 or 500-570c/kg cwt and the heavy weights made $107-$127.60 or 510-540c/kg.
Light sheep sold from $55-$85 or 380-420c/kg cwt and the heavy sheep made $88-$118.60 or 340-400c/kg.
Mt Gambier’s trade and heavy lambs up $10-$12
In SA at the Mt Gambier saleyards on Wednesday, the agents yarded 1684 lambs, 662 fewer than last week, and 184 sheep, 28 more.
The NLRS said one regular buyer was absent, but this didn’t stop prices from rising, with better quality and weights coming forward.
Lightweight lambs to the trade ranged from $72-$106, with lightweight trade 2 and 3 score lambs making $99-$114 to be $3 dearer. Restockers only purchased a small number and paid from $68-$104. Trade weight 3 score lambs sold from $106-$139, lifting $10-$12 and averaging 575c/kg cwt. There were more heavy 4 score lambs and strong bidding put prices at $135-$176, a rise of $10-$12. Lightweight ewes sold to $54 with medium weight types ranging from $60-$75 and heavy 4 and 5 score ewes making $95-$128. Rams sold from $28-$60.
Katanning’s trade lambs lift $3
In WA at the Katanning saleyards on Thursday, the agents yarded 10,000 lambs, and 14,439 sheep, 1416 more than last week.
The NLRS said it was a mainly average quality yarding. Competition was solid from buyers and prices were firm on last week’s very good rates.
Light Merino store lambs sold from $15-$91 and light crossbred store lambs made $50-$91. Merino wether lambs sold to restockers and live exporters for $69-$92, while lambs suitable for the air express market made up to $108. Trade lambs, 18-22kg cwt, were up $3, with most sales from $80-$128. The heavy lambs remained firm and sold to $128.
Some good Merino ewe dispersal lines sold to restockers for $95-$113, while the older lines went to processors. The light ewes made $15-$45. The 2 score processor mutton made $30-$84 and the better 3 score mutton sold up to $105. Wether prices were firm. Better export types sold from $79-$111. Store drafts made from $74-$100. Rams sold to solid competition, with ram lambs making up to $103. Older rams sold for $49 to processors and up to $95 for live export.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, Ouyen Livestock Exchange.