LIGHT and medium trade sheep prices were boosted in saleyards this week as export processors sought stock to supply the annual Middle East Festival of the Sacrifice Eid Al Adha.
Victorian meat processor Frewstal released a contract earlier this month for lighter lean “six-way” sheep to supply the festival.
Frewstal operations manager Greg Nicholls at Stawell said the sheep have to be delivered for processing on September 23, 24, 25 and 26. During the festival, Muslims may symbolically sacrifice an animal, usually a goat or sheep, and divide it among themselves or just buy generous portions of meat for a communal meal.
The Frewstal contract was initially released at 300c/kg for 12-14kg cwt sheep and 340c/kg for 14-24kg mutton. After the market uptake was “slow enough,” these rates were subsequently increased to 320c/kg for the light weights, 360c/kg for 14-24kg sheep and 330c/kg for 24-28kgs. Frewstal is seeking about 12,000 ewes or wethers.
“We are trying to get an average of about 18kg,” Mr Nicholls said.
Mr Nicholls was hoping to source shorn wethers or ewes after lambs were weaned, but has also had to source stock in saleyards for lot feeding.
At Bendigo on Monday, the National Livestock Reporting Service quoted 14-18 ewes at 340-407c/kg and 18.1-24kg lines at 300-400c/kg. At Ballarat yesterday the 14-18kg ewes made 294-394c/kg and the 18-24kg lines ranged from 291-407c/kg. Mutton prices in NSW yards have been dearer than these this week, especially for lines with higher skin values.
Landmark Bendigo auctioneer Richard Leitch said the middle run of sheep sold very well this week.
“Our mutton job has been enormous for the last four weeks – we have been yarding 12,000-14,000 sheep and if they were going to wind the job back a bit, that’s the opportunity to do it and they haven’t.
“I’d say they are getting rid of everything they are killing at present.”
Wet cold conditions delaying new season lamb turn off
Domestic and supermarket competition for quality new season lambs intensified this week as colder, wet weather held up supplies to NSW and Victorian saleyards.
Brian Unthank Rodwell auctioneer at Corowa Peter Ellis said the lift in lamb prices this week was due to supply and demand.
“The new season lambs are coming, but they are not coming quick enough.
“The (Corowa) market is yarding 3500, when this time last year we would be more like triple that around here and also down south at Bendigo,” he said.
“The northern NSW markets are playing with a few, but we aren’t, and it is all to do with the cold and wet winter.
“Hence we are getting paid and it’s a wonderful thing if you’ve got them.”
Mr Ellis said Wagga tomorrow has drawn for about 19,000 lambs, but would probably end up yarding 17,000-18,000 lambs, including about 8000 suckers.
“At this time of the year they would normally be yarding probably double that.”
At Bendigo, Mr Leitch said buyers were paying more for quality new season lambs and the market for old lambs was also very good.
“I reckon our sucker job was $5-$8 dearer than last week, but the quality of the lambs was a bit better too.”
More new season lambs selling above 650c/kg this week
At Dubbo on Monday, the 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $1-$10 skins made $83-$110, or 539-641c/kg. The trade weight 18.1-22kg lines with $8-$11 skins sold from $112-$149, or 520-635c/kg, and the 22.1-24kg lines with $11 skins made $145-$1`57, or 583-635c/kg.
At Corowa on Monday, the 12.1-18kg new season lines with $2-$12 skins made $85-$125, or 488-710c/kg. The trade weights with $2-$12 skins sold from $119-$158.60, or 562-680c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lambs with $12-$13 skins made $154.60-$166.20, or 562-617c/kg.
At Tamworth, the 16.1-18kg young lambs with $6 skins made $90-$108, or 494-567c/kg. The trade weights with $8-$10 skins ranged from $112-$150, or 555-651c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $10-$11 skins sold from $155.50-$163, or 585-641c/kg.
Deniliquin’s 16.1-18kg new season lines with $7-$8 skins made $109-$113, or 561-624c/kg. The trade weights with $8-$11 skins sold from $111-$152, or 542-646c/kg, the 22.1-26kg drafts with $10-$12 skins made $147.20-$172, or 605-649c/kg, and 26.1-30kg lines with $12 skins ranged from $172/60-$173.20, or 586-595c/kg.
Forbes’ 12.1-18kg young lambs with $1-$11 skins made $93-$115, or 575-662c/kg. The trade weights with $1-$12 skins ranged from $115-$158, or 568-686c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $1-$12 skins made $138-$171, or 568-654c/kg.
In Victoria, Bendigo’s 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $4-$8 skins sold from $93-$118, or 504-594c/kg. The 18.1-22kg lambs with $8-$11 skins made $109-$157, or 532-666c/kg, and the 22.1-26kg lines with $8-$12 skins sold from $134-$174.60, or 574-646c/kg.
Ballarat’s 16.1-18kg young lambs with $6-$8 skins made $112-$122, or 603-633c/kg. The 18.1-22kg lines with $8-$11 skins sold from $155-$145, or 563-624c/kg, and a 22.1-24kg line with $10 skins made $157, or 639c/kg.
In South Australia, Dublin’s 12.1-18kg new season lambs with $1-$7 skins made $65-$110, or 469-707c/kg. The 18.1-22kg drafts with $1-$7 skins sold from $100-$132, or 479-568c/kg, and the n22.1-26kg drafts with $7-$10 skins ranged from $127-$163, or 508-604c/kg.
Naracoorte’s 12.1-18 new season lambs with $4-$5 skins made $80-$98, or 547-639c/kg, and the 18.1-24kg drafts with $6 skins sold from $111-$130, or 539-553c/kg.
In Western Australia at Muchea, the 12.1-18kg young lambs with $2-$3 skins made from $67.50-$95.50, or 4977-524c/kg, and the 18/1-24kg lines with $2-$4 skins sold from $88.50-$128, or 450-564c/kg.
Over-the-hook rates firm
In NSW, the NLRS quoted over-the-hook lamb and mutton rates as unchanged week-on-week. Rain around some areas over the weekend has tightened supply and saleyard prices are still holding strong. Lamb rates range from 530-600c/kg for crossbreds and 460-500c/kg for Merinos. Mutton rates range from 270-400c/kg.
In Victoria, the NLRS quoted new season trade weight lambs as averaging 611c/kg cwt this week. Heavy lambs ranged from 585-620c/kg. Mutton over-the-hook indicators were unchanged on last week’s levels at 310-360c/kg.
In South Australia, the NLRS quoted light weight new season lamb rates as averaging 580c/kg cwt this week, while trade weight categories topped at 625c and averaged 595c/kg cwt. Merino lambs ranged from 530-550c/kg. Sheep rates were at 290-360c/kg.
Tasmania’s over-the-hook rates for lambs and sheep were quoted as unchanged, with lambs ranging from 540-600c/kg and mutton at 310-360c/kg. No WA OTH update was available at the time this report was published.
NLRS restocker indicator lifts
The NLRS Eastern States Daily Indicator for restocker lambs rose by 13 cents to 559c/kg early this week, but most other lamb indicators lost ground.
After Tuesday’s saleyards sales, the other lamb ESDIs are: Merinos 504c/kg, down 7 cents; light 526c/kg, down 10c; trade 576c/kg, down 5c; heavy 586c/kg, up 1c. The national trade lamb indicator also lost 5 cents to close at 576c/kg and the heavy indice is up 1 cents to 586c/kg.
The ESDI for mutton gained 3 cents to 369c/kg and the national indicator is at 367c/kg, up 2 cents.
Dubbo trade lambs up $5
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 25,470 lambs, 13,910 fewer than last week, and 6155 sheep, 55 more.
The NLRS said it was a pretty good quality yarding with a good mix of well-finished new season lambs and heavy weight old lambs. Merino lambs were also well-supplied.
Light weight lambs sold $1-$3 dearer, with the 12-18kg cwt 2 score bag lambs selling from $57-$110. Trade weight lambs were $5 dearer, with the new season lines making $107-$157, to average 600c/kg cwt.
Trade weight old lambs sold from $105-$140. Heavy weight lambs sold $1 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $130-$188. Merino lambs were $3-$5 cheaper, with the trade weights selling from $89-$134 and the heavier weights making to $143. Restockers paid to $88 and hoggets sold to $129.
It was a mixed quality sheep yarding and grades sold $4-$7 dearer. The 2 score ewes sold from $34-$84, while the better 3 and 4 scores Merinos made $76-$130 and the crossbred to $122. The 3 and 4 score Merino wethers sold from $82-$116.
Corowa new season lambs $12-$14 dearer
At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 6875 lambs, 208 fewer than last week, and 2753 sheep, 762 more.
The NLRS said the yarding included about 3500 new season lambs. Quality was good in the new season lambs with trades and heavy weights best supplied. Old lambs were well-represented by the heavy trade weights and heavy lambs, with plenty coming off crops and feeders. Not all the usual buyers operated, but strong competition lifted prices to dearer levels.
New season lambs sold $12-$14 dearer, with the medium and heavy trade weights selling from $119-$158.60, or 620-640c/kg cwt. Heavy new season lambs ranged from $152-$166.20, or close to 600c/kg. Old trade lambs were $5-$10 dearer, with the odd sale of neatly shorn heavy trade weights selling dearer. The medium and heavy trade weights sold from $101-$148, or 575-600c/kg. Heavy old lambs ranged from $137-$172 and the extra heavy lambs reached $192. Most ranged from 540-580c/kg. Light processing Merino lambs were $3 cheaper at $62-$96, but the better rounded 3 score light and medium trade weights were $5 dearer.
Mutton quality was good with a fair percentage of heavy weights. Prices were stronger, with medium weight 3 score ewes making $84-$98. Heavy Merino ewes sold from $106-$124. Crossbreds sold from $91-$137.20. Most ranged from 400-420c/kg cwt.
Tamworth’s young trade lambs $8-$9 dearer
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 2500 lambs, 950 fewer than last week, and 1000 sheep, 800 less.
The NLRS said rain reduced sheep and lamb numbers. There was a fair supply of very good quality young lambs penned along with some good quality old lambs. The usual buyers operated. Market trends were $8-$9 dearer for good quality young trade lambs. Trends varied in the old lambs, with some of the secondary quality lambs selling cheaper. The better quality trade and heavyweight lambs remained close to firm, with quality varying price in some cases. Light and medium weight ewes generally sold firm to cheaper. However, the small numbers contributed to some plain condition lightweights selling to a dearer trend. Wethers were dearer with low numbers contributing to quality related price change.
Forbes’ young lambs sell $3-$5 dearer
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 23,810 lambs, 7086 fewer than last week, and 5150 sheep, 5857 less.
The NLRS said lamb quality was similar to the previous sales with some good lines of finished lambs and the plainer types. The usual buyers competed in a dearer market.
Prices lifted $3-$5 for the 11,250 new season lambs penned. Trade weights sold from $118-$158. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs made $148-$171. Carcase prices ranged from 615-650c/kg cwt.
Old light lambs sold from $100-$114. Trade weights ranged from $113-$147. Heavy and extra heavy weights also sold stronger, with heavy lambs making $144-$158 and extra heavies from $152-$206. Carcase prices ranged from 590-618c/kg.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality remained mixed. Prices lifted $4-$6. Merino ewes sold from $80-$130. Crossbreds sold from $82-$126. Merino wethers made $77-$127.
Deniliquin’s young trade lambs 620-630c/kg
At the Deniliquin saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 5859 lambs, 2040 more than the previous sale, and 1415 sheep, 281 more.
The NLRS said lamb numbers increased as the flow of new season lambs starts to build. The yarding comprised 4493 young lambs and 1366 old season lambs. The quality and consistency of the lead pens of young lambs was impressive and attracted strong support from domestic and export buyers.
Price trends were similar to a fortnight ago, although extra weight in the top drafts meant three pens estimated at 27-28kg cwt sold above $170 to a market top of $173.20. There was only a scattering of old season lambs in the yarding and support for these was selective, with quality a factor.
The majority of the young lambs were good trade weights above 22kg cwt and prices consistently ranged from $148-$165, or 620-630c/kg cwt, with odd pens higher. The top few export weight pens averaged just shy of 600c/kg cwt, based on skin returns of $12. There were only limited pens of lighter weight young lambs which sold from $109-$129. The offering of old season lambs was limited and mixed and heavier types were cheaper while lighter weight kill types, including some Merinos, averaged dearer.
Sheep prices were dearer, with the best gains recorded for trade weight ewes. A large line of 255 Merino ewes, estimated at 24kg cwt with an $18 skin, sold for the top price of $120.60, or about 450c/kg cwt. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $100-$120. Some pens of very light Merino ewes sold from $42-$65 and were dearer on a carcase basis.
Bendigo’s best young lambs $2-$7 dearer
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 7341 lambs, 2554 fewer than last week, and 12,721 sheep, 4198 more.
The NLRS said fewer new season lambs, Merinos and old season crossbreds were yarded. Quality was generally plainer and most noticeably in the young lambs, where most pens showed signs of dryness in the skin and varied fat cover, once off the top pens. All the regular buyers attended, but not all exporters or domestic processors operated at their usual capacity. Price results were mixed depending on quality and carcase weight.
The better presented drafts of young lambs were $2-$7 dearer, while lighter types suitable for processor orders were cheaper. The same trend was evident in the old lamb section, where the limited runs of quality trade and export lambs were dearer, while secondary domestic and lightweight slaughter lambs were cheaper. Domestic buyers paid to $174.60 for young lambs and to $165 for old lambs. Competition for light weight lambs was weaker, particularly on secondary old season lambs lacking carcase finish.
Competition was strongest on the middle drafts of new season lambs suiting supermarket and domestic orders, with the 22-24kg cwt types averaging an estimated 636c/kg, at nearly $156. Sales of young lambs were estimated up to 660c/kg. There were only limited pens of young lambs over 24kg cwt, which sold from $165-$174.60.
The sheep included several big lines of recently shorn crossbred and Merino ewes. Bidding for extra heavy mutton eased, while the general run of trade sheep were firm to slightly cheaper. Light weight sheep in plain condition were dearer.
Ballarat sheep dearer
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4004 lambs, 2554 fewer than last week, and 2893 sheep, 945 less.
The NLRS said most of the regular buyers attended. Quality was plain to average over the old lambs and they mostly sold unchanged, with some of the lighter, plainer types a little easier. Several pens of new season young lambs were in average condition, with medium weights making $138.50-$157.50 and lighter trade weights $116-$134, or 580-640c/kg cwt. Feeders paid from $112-$123.50 for young lambs. Restockers paid from $89-$117 and feeders $95-$134 for old lambs to turn out. Light weight 1 and 2 score lambs sold from $70-$89. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $84-$123, or about 570c/kg. Trade weight 3 and 4 score lambs made $124-$144, or 520-620c/kg to average about 580c/kg. Heavy 3 and 4 score lambs sold from $139-$180. Heavy hoggets sold to $124.50 and Merino lambs made $75-$89.
The sheep included all weights and grades, including some heavy crossbreds. There were more shorn Merinos. Sheep mostly sold firm too few dollars dearer than last week. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep made $58-$76 and very light 1 scores sold from $22-$52.50. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep sold from $66-$107.60, or 300-410c/kg, to average about 385/kg cwt for the Merinos. Heavy 3 to 5 score sheep sold from $85-$138. Heavy Merino wethers made $90-$109.50 and the medium weights sold from $74-$100, to average about 380c/kg. Rams of all weights sold from $38-$88.
Dublin light young lambs lift $10
In South Australia at the SA Livestock Exchange near Dublin on Tuesday, the agents yarded 10,117 lambs, 14 fewer than last week, and 2622 sheep, 166 more.
The NLRS said the crossbred and Merino lambs sold to solid competition from the usual trade and processor buyers. New seasons lambs were plentiful, the quality was generally very good and buyers took the opportunity to secure numbers. Feeder buyers operated on new season lambs and restockers were selectively active on woolly Merino lambs.
Feeders paid up to $10 more for light weight new season crossbred lambs, at $69-$115. Light weight 3 scores to trade buyers remained firm at $100-$114 and averaged 535c/kg cwt. Light trade weight 4 scores sold from $111-$132 to average 537c/kg and heavy trade weights made $127-$150, to average 559c/kg. Heavy weights sold from $145-$163, or 544-604c/kg. The few new seasons Merinos sold from $90-$100.
Old crossbred lambs attracted solid bidding. Trade weights sold from $100-$130 and heavy weights made $125-$140. The old Merino lambs yarded were generally good quality. Trade weights sold from $100-$123, averaging 476c/kg and heavy weights sold from $130-$152, or 486-527c/kg.
The good quality sheep yarding sold to stronger competition from local and interstate processor buyers. Light weight 2 score ewes lifted $2-$5 to $60-$78, averaging 306c/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 score ewes lifted marginally to $75-$107 to average 291c/kg. Heavy weight wethers eased $4 to $95-$114 to average 333c/kg. Heavy weight rams sold from $50-$90.
Naracoorte lamb prices firm
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1221 lambs, 28 fewer than last week, and 905 sheep, 35 more.
The NLRS said a smaller field of trade and processor buyers was active, while restockers virtually had no impact on the market. More new season lambs came forward, and with quality and weight lacking, prices were firm.
New season trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $111-$130, with the lighter lines making $80-$98. Lightweight lambs mainly sold from $80-$92 and lightweight trade 2 and 3 scores from $92-$115. Trade weight 3 score lambs ranged from $122-$140 at an average of 570c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score lambs mainly sold from $133-$158, with extra heavy lines selling to $164. Hoggets mainly ranged from $82-$110.
Sheep prices tended to be slightly easier. Lightweight ewes ranged from $58-$66. Medium weight 2 and 3 score crossbreds sold from $76-$83 and Merinos in the same range made $70-$89. These ewes averaged 320c/kg cwt. Heavy 4 score ewes ranged from $80-$100 to be up to $5 easier. Rams made $60-$96.
Muchea demand lifts lamb prices
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4650 lambs, 920 fewer than last week, and 7261 sheep, 1031 more.
The NLRS said quality was similar to last week, but there was not as much weight in the new season lamb drafts. There were some good drafts of wether lambs and young wethers which met solid competition from processors and live export buyers. All buyers were active and competition lifted across most categories. Live exporters and processors lifted prices for wether lambs to meet orders.
Light store crossbred and Merino lambs sold dearer to restockers, at $34-$78. Light lambs bought by processors, live exporters and restockers were mostly dearer. New season drafts were up $5 to $67-$95 and old season lambs made $59-$95. Trade new season lambs lifted around $6 and old trade lambs were firm to $5 dearer, at $88-$127. Heavy lamb made $108-$135.5 to be also slightly dearer.
Ewe weight and quality was good. Ewe mutton prices lifted, particularly for the lighter weight drafts. Light mutton made $41-$67 and the 2 score medium weight mutton was $4 dearer, averaging $72. Better condition and heavy weight ewes sold close to firm at $72-$112.50, with full wool drafts topping the market. Restockers paid $50-$94 for suitable drafts, with most dearer by close to $5. Wether demand to meet export requirements lifted prices by close to $5/head. Live exporters paid $80-$120 for shorn wethers and up to $139 for extra heavy, longer wool drafts. Lighter and store drafts suitable for restockers made $53-$109 and were close to $10 dearer. Rams continued to sell to solid demand, with ram lambs making to a top of $120. Young rams to live exporters and feeders made $50-$103 and old rams to processors sold from $20-$70.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.