Lamb markets have continued to be unpredictable, with prices fluctuating depending on quality and supply.
The one positive trend by the end of last week was strong competition and slightly higher prices for heavy export lambs.
At Wagga Wagga and Griffith, prices were anywhere from firm to $12 cheaper with drafts of dry longer wool lambs harder to sell. Select pens of heavy grain finished shorn lambs which offered buyers weight and yield commanded good prices and made from $160-$237 to average 617¢/kg.
Top quality drafts of young fresh trade lambs in good clean skins pushed over 680¢/kg cwt, however such prices were isolated with most sales $8-$12 cheaper averaging 653¢/kg cwt.
Lighter weight lambs bore the brunt of a hefty price correction of $17, with the trend a reflection a smaller contingent of buyers operating across this category and the plainer quality.
In the sheep market, the gap between heavy and light mutton widened, with lighter weight sheep rates falling away as more numbers came forward. Light and medium grades slipped $10-$17 to average 410¢/kg cwt. Heavy mutton rates took off in the opposite direction, lifting $10 to record a top price of $163, averaging 456¢/kg cwt.
At Corowa, lamb numbers dropped by 5100 with only 7000 lambs penned along with 2800 sheep. The reason was extreme temperatures across the region and a rates drop at the previous sale.
Rates jumped significantly. The trade lamb market was quoted by the National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) $10-$14 dearer, with most trade lambs tracking above 700¢/kg cwt. Heavy lambs generally sold for more than 660¢/kg cwt, making from $165-$226. The mutton market contained some good lines of sheep. Prices were generally $12-$22 dearer, with the offering averaging 409-483¢/kg cwt.
Bendigo’s lamb market opened dearer price trends – NLRS said trade prices lifted $9-$18, causing some buyers to pull out or reduce buying volumes. Rates for trade lambs varied on quality. Better quality drafts fetched from $117-$175.50 to average 685¢/kg cwt. Diminishing supplies of heavy lambs helped kick prices $10-$11, averaging 645¢/kg cwt.
Ballarat lambs showed more demand, with most processors providing strong competition.
Better finished trade pens topped $181, gaining $24 to average 704¢/kg cwt.
Heavy lambs were $12 dearer and made from $180-$244 to average 658¢/kg cwt. A good selection of store lambs were offered, and overall the market was $8 dearer to top at $140. There was plenty of weight in the mutton yarding and the best heavy sheep lifted $5-$9, averaging 444¢/kg cwt.