LAMB prices lifted in saleyards early this week as weather constrained consignments to markets and abattoirs, especially in New South Wales.
Over-the-hook rates were also lowered in most states this week, but processors then paid higher carcase weight prices in saleyards, with rates more consistently over 550-600c/kg for all new season trade and heavy lambs.
In NSW, Victoria and South Australia mostly keen trade and processor buyers competed for quality young lines, and were forced to top up with old lambs, especially when quality was suitable.
At the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the National Livestock Reporting Service said trade lambs lifted $7-$10 and this trend continued at Tamworth, Corowa and Forbes
At Bendigo on Monday, new season lamb prices rose $5-$15 and rates for an improved offering of grain-fed old lambs lifted by up to $25. Ballarat’s new season lambs were $5-$10 dearer.
In South Australia, restockers pushed trade buyers to keep lamb prices firm. However, in Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards and in northern Tasmania, lamb prices fell.
NLRS slaughter lamb indicators improve
After Tuesday’s saleyards sale, the Eastern States Daily Indicators for lamb were: restocker 537c/kg, down 43 cents; Merino, 545c/kg, up 11c; light 578c/kg, up 21c; trade 597c/kg, up 7c; heavy 603c/kg, up 4c. The ESDI for mutton fell 3 cents to 411c/kg.
Dubbo trade lambs lift $7-$10
In New South Wales at the Dubbo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 15,060 lambs, 6690 fewer than last week, and 2350 sheep, 5230 less.
The NLRS said sheep and lamb numbers were down considerably after last week’s rain. It was a good quality yarding with a good selection of trade and heavy weight lambs, and fair numbers of lighter weights and Merinos.
Light weight lambs sold $3-$5 dearer to processors, with the 12-18kg 2 scores making $77-$107. Trade lambs were $7-$10 dearer, with the trade weight new season lambs selling from $117-$148 to average 640-660c/kg cwt. Heavy weight new season lambs sold to $182. Trade weight old lambs sold from $113-$150 to average around 620c/kg. Heavy weight lambs were $8 dearer, with the over 22kg 4 scores making $145-$196. Merino lambs were $8 dearer, with the trade weights selling from $102-$139. Restockers paid to $146 for first cross ewe lambs and to $115 for lambs to fatten.
Most grade of sheep sold $2-$4 dearer in the generally good quality yarding. The 2 score ewes sold from $57-$86, while the better 3 and 4 score crossbreds made $80-$141 and the Merinos sold to $138. Merino wethers made $132.
Corowa’s trade lambs $5-$15 dearer
At the Corowa saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 4700 lambs, 1745 fewer than last week, and 2300 sheep, 1100 less.
The NLRS said lamb numbers decreased due to access issues, combined with supplies of old lambs declining seasonally. Quality was mixed in the old trade lambs. Not all major domestic buyers were present or active.
New season trade weight lamb sold to stronger demand and prices improved by $5-$15.
The best trade lambs made $125-$160 to average 627c/kg cwt. Heavy new season lambs sold from $158-$180. Old crossbred lambs varied in quality and prices fluctuated. Old trade lamb prices improved by $2-$4. Light trade weight lambs sold from $105-$122, medium trade weights made $120-$147 and the small number of heavy trade lambs sold to $150. Extra heavy lambs sold from $154-$180.
It was a mixed quality offering of sheep with several excellent pens of heavy ewes. Not all buyers were present and competition was weaker. Heavy weight crossbred ewes made to $125 and Merino ewes sold to $118.
Tamworth lamb market stronger
At the Tamworth saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 4350 lambs, 1350 more than last week, and 1890 sheep, 1390 more.
The NLRS said it was a good quality yarding of lambs with most well-finished and mainly off crops. There were some good runs of heavy and extra heavy lambs, and trade weights were well-supplied.
The market was firm to stronger for most classes of lambs. Restockers were keen to acquire lambs to go on to crops. The sale incorporated the annual J.L. Goodwin memorial shield, lamb show and sale. The champion pen of 20 lambs yarded by the Barton Partnership sold for $400 and the proceeds were donated to the Westpac helicopter appeal.
The sheep yarding included several pens of heavy wethers and ewes in full wool, and several pens of trade mutton. Competition was strong, with most sheep selling to dearer prices.
Forbes’ young lambs firm to $4 dearer
At the Forbes saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 26,900 lambs, 1220 more than last week, and 7650 sheep, 300 fewer.
The NLRS said despite flooding in the drawing area, numbers remained fairly steady. Agents yarded 15,800 fair quality new season lambs penned and there were good numbers of well-presented finished lambs. Trade and heavy lambs were well-supplied. Extra buyers competed in a firm to dearer market, particularly on the lighter lambs.
New season lambs were firm to $4 dearer. Light lambs sold from $116-$120. Trade weights made $121-$147. Heavy and extra heavy weight lambs sold from $143-$166. Carcase prices averaged 613-639c/kg. Old light weight lambs lifted $5 to $103-$119. Trade weights were $3 better at $115-$142. Heavy and extra heavy weights sold $2-$4 better. Heavy lambs made $140-$146 and extra heavies $151-$198.
The sheep were mostly Merinos and quality was similar to previous sales. Prices were firm to $4 dearer with Merino ewes selling from $80-$140. Crossbred ewes made $85-$129 and Merino wethers $83-$123.
Deniliquin lambs dearer
At the Deniliquin saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 5183 lambs, 2624 fewer than two weeks ago, and 4018 sheep, 1801 more.
The NLRS said fewer old season lambs came forward. The quality and presentation of the young lambs was very good, although there were fewer heavy weights and most were trade weights.
The bigger yarding attracted more processor competition, with all the major domestic companies competing on lamb. Like other recent markets, the sale benefited from the widespread rain which has disrupted the movement of slaughter stock to abattoirs.
Prices for the best young lambs were noticeably dearer, while the lighter types sold firm to a few dollars dearer when compared to the previous sale. Prices for young lambs reached a top of $181 for a small pen lot of heavy export lambs. It was the only sale at this level, with the next best price being $164.
Most of the lead drafts of young lambs suiting domestic orders sold from $130-$155 at around 590-620c/kg carcase weight. Lighter young lambs sold to slaughter made $107-$126. Some small and immature lambs sold very strongly at $80-$104 to local and Birchip restockers. The selection of old season lambs was very mixed with a lot of small clean-up lots. Prices for the best domestic and export slaughter bodies lifted as buyers attempted to fill orders.
The sheep were mostly Merino ewes, with sheep off-shears starting to present in very good condition and plenty of weight due to the favourable season. Processor demand for sheep remained very buoyant, with the best mutton making an estimated 380-420c/kg cwt. In dollars per head terms, most of the bigger-framed and heavy ewes sold from $80-$120, with odd sales to $130.
Bendigo lambs up $5-$15
In Victoria at the Bendigo saleyards on Monday, the agents yarded 9854 lambs, 242 fewer than last week, and 5138 sheep, 1267 more.
The NLRS said the lamb market showed a much dearer price trend, amid reports recent rain has held up kill supplies, particularly in NSW. Some companies were transporting lambs immediately for same day slaughter. One export company which gave only limited support to lambs last week was much more active, helping lift price rates across the yarding for heavy slaughter pens.
Prices for young lambs were $5-$15 dearer, while an improved line-up of old season lambs, including some pens of shorter-skinned types off grain, lifted by up to $25 when compared to the discounted results of recent markets. Heavy young lambs sold to a top of $175 and there were four sales above $170 to exporters.
The main drafts of heavy trade weight young lambs sold from $143-$167 as carcase weight averages pushed back over 600c/kg cwt. Light weight young lambs went to slaughter at $110-$130 and also averaged over 600c/kg. There was some restocker interest from Birchip and the local Bendigo area, but the supply of suitable young lambs was limited to a few pens which sold strongly on size at $90-$104.
Competition for old season lambs intensified as buyers attempted to fill orders. Prices across all weights and grades improved, with the best slaughter types returning over 600c/kg. Pens of heavy old season lambs sold from $140-$175.
Bare-shorn crossbred ewes accounted for most of the lift in sheep numbers. Sheep are now starting-present off-shears with plenty of weight thanks to the favourable season. Mutton prices tracked in a similar range to last week. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $110-$128, and heavy Merinos made to $125. The main runs of trade weight Merino ewes, most off-shears, sold from $75-$104 to average around 400c/kg.
Ballarat’s new season lambs $5-$10 dearer
At the Ballarat saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4658 lambs, 2803 more than last week, and 3004 sheep, 61 fewer.
The NLRS said lamb quality was very mixed and more buyers attended showing an urgency to obtain numbers for orders.
Prices lifted $5-$10 for the increased average to good quality new season lamb offering, though there was limited number of heavy weights. Most older lambs sold $4-$11 stronger, making up to $170. Restockers paid $109 for young lambs and $69-$85 for Merino lambs.
Light trade 2 and 3 score new season lambs sold from $110-$118. Medium trade weights made $122-$144, or 600-635c/kg, to average an estimated 620c/kg. Heavier new season 2 and 3 score lambs sold from $145-$162. Light weight 2 score old lambs sold to processors for $68-$90. Light trade weight old lambs made $98-$113, and medium trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $115-$145, averaging close to 585c/kg. The heavier 3 and 4 scores made $148-$163.
The sheep quality was good to average, with more shorn Merino ewes yarded. Sheep prices were generally $3-$7 dearer, with spirited bidding throughout the sale, especially for light weight mutton. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $62-$87. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $80-$112, or 337-433c/kg. Merino mutton averaged 420c/kg. Heavy crossbred 3-5 score sheep sold from $105-$140, to average around 370c/kg. The better Merino wethers made $81-$112, to average 425c/kg. The best heavy rams of all breeds sold from $90-$124, with hoggets reaching $130.
Restockers push trade buyers at Dublin
At the South Australian Livestock Exchange at Dubbo, the agents yarded 10,000 lambs, 1312 more than last week, and 3000 sheep, 573 more.
The NLRS said the usual trade and processor buyers attended along with a larger number of restockers and feeders, making prices fully firm on last week.
New season lambs dominated the yarding. Very light weights under 16kg sold mainly to the trade for $82-$108, but were pushed by feeders. The 16-18kg air freight types sold from $98-$118. Trade weights made from $115-$134. Heavy new season lambs made $118-$172.
Old season lambs remained firm with light weights making $31-$80-restockers. Air freight types 16-18kg sold from $88-$115, trade lambs made $92-$135 and heavy old lambs sold for $117-$150.
A large number of hoggets were penned, with light weights making from $50-$76. Medium weights ranged from $76-$125 and sold mainly to restockers, while heavy weights made $100-$132.
In the mutton market, light weight ewes sold from $40-$70. Medium weights made $75-$100. Heavy weights sold from $80-$136, the top ewes had a big jacket and went-restockers. Wethers were in short supply and medium weights sold from $80-$97 and full wool heavy weight sold to $128, to restockers. Rams sold from $65-$118.
Naracoorte young lambs sell to $150
At the Naracoorte saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 1855 lambs, 702 more than last week, and 1925 sheep, 629 more.
The NLRS said the usual buyers and some extra competition operated in the generally dearer market. Quality was average to good, with more new season young lambs yarded.
New season lambs sold to $150, or around 600c/kg for the heavier trade weights. Restockers paid from $74-$86 for light weight young lambs.
Light trade weight new season young lambs sold from $106-$124 or around 580c/kg. The heavier trade weights made $124-$150 and mostly ranged from 590-600c/kg. Light weight 2 score old lambs made $69-$83. Light trade weight 2 and 3 scores sold from $97-$112. Trade weight 3 and 4 scores made $118-$128 and the heavier weights sold from $130-$140, or around 500c/kg.
The sheep yarding included all weights and grades, which sold to keen demand to be a few dollars dearer. Light weight 1 and 2 score sheep sold from $55-$77. Medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep made $65-$103. Merino mutton averaged around 410c/kg. Heavy crossbred sheep sold from $96-$135 and averaged around 370c/kg. Heavy Merino ewes made $105-$132. Rams of all weights sold from $66-$126.
Muchea lamb prices fall by up to $10
In Western Australia at the Muchea saleyards on Tuesday, the agents yarded 4900 lambs, 900 fewer than last week, and 4322 sheep, 298 fewer.
The NLRS said almost 3000 new season lambs were consigned, 60 percent of the lambs offered. Most of the new season lambs were of good quality, but the old season lambs were very mixed.
The usual buyers attended and most made purchases. Lamb prices fell by up to $10, with most processors having adequate direct supplies. Light weight new season lambs sold $5-$10 cheaper to processors at $65-$85. Trade weight drafts made $80-$111, also back by $5-$10. Trade lamb prices were close to 450c/kg. Heavy new season lambs sold to $116 and averaged $112, back at least $4.
The old season lambs were of mixed quality with many secondary, tail-end drafts, and a reasonable number of Merino drafts. Old light weight lambs made $50-$89, trade weights sold from $78-$106 and heavy drafts made $96-$111. Most old season lambs sold $5-$8 cheaper, with odd pens back by as much as $15. Better old season lambs made close to 440c/kg.
Ewe mutton supplies remained solid, with reasonable numbers of younger drafts. Ewe prices remained very solid, with all processor categories firm to marginally dearer. Ewes were mostly well conditioned and some had almost full fleeces.
Ewes, wethers and rams maintained values under solid competition. Light weight ewes sold for $45-$60 and the medium weight processor drafts made $65-$90, up to $5 dearer. Heavy ewes made $75-$100 to be firm to $1 dearer and averaged close to 310c/kg. The dearer ewes, including some drafts sold to restockers, had close to full wool. Restockers paid from $70-$94 for younger drafts with mature lines selling to $106.
Wether prices remained strong, particularly for lighter weight drafts. Heavy wethers made $90-$115 to be $3 dearer, and lighter drafts sold up to $6 dearer at $80-$104. The dearer wethers had skin values of almost 18. Rams sold well, with ram lambs making to $98 and suitable young rams $45-$91. Old rams sold to processors for $10-$55, in line with last week’s prices.
Most Tasmanian lambs $3-$7 cheaper
At the northern Tasmanian saleyards at Powranna and Killafaddy on Tuesday, the agents yarded 750 lambs, 220 more than last week, and 250 sheep, 60 more.
Most of the lamb numbers were light or very light export or restocker types with very few good quality trade lambs available. There was limited export and trade competition and most prices were $3-7 cheaper.
Restockers bought most of the light lambs, paying $45-$58 for very light drafts and $85-$90 for light trade pens. Exporters bought light lambs for $58-$85. The trade paid $80-$95 for light trade and $100-$121 for trade weights. Heavy and extra heavy lambs sold from $120-$140.
Most of the sheep were bought by a regular Victorian exporter, although light Merino sheep went to restockers. Restockers paid $50-$63 and exporters $50-$73 for light sheep and $60-$87 for medium weights.
Sources: MLA, NLRS, AuctionsPlus.