The first good rain this winter for some parts of Victoria and NSW has lifted lamb prices, but the initial response from processors hasn’t been extreme.
Monday prices fluctuated from a few dollars to up to $20 dearer in isolated sales for the correct trade lamb meeting processors’ specifications. While desperately needed, the rain initially makes conditions tougher, as cold and wet weather makes sheep and cattle hungrier, increasing the need for hay and supplements.
To really ignite restocker interest, there needs to be good follow up rains.
After a massive price correction the previous sale, Wagga stayed remarkably unchanged. Quality and much lower numbers meant rates held for trade and heavy weights.
There was a slight dip for trade lambs of $3, but the biggest fall was $15 for store lambs.
Trade lambs were still making 610¢, though competition at times was patchy, with major supermarkets buyers more selective.
The strongest competition was for odd pens of new season lambs, averaging 618¢/kg. Heavy export lambs 25kg plus were unchanged, although not all processors operated fully. The bulk of the offering sold at $151-$207 to average 586¢/kg.
The mutton market headed south for some breeds, leaving bystanders more than a little puzzled.
Cross bred ewes fell $6-$13 while Merino ewes and wethers held their own, making $92-$170 to average around 423¢/kg cwt.
Lamb prices started the week on a better note, with processors eager due in part to reduced supplies. Fewer than 5500 lambs were offered at Bendigo on Monday. The range in quality reflected a winter market, with all weights and grades represented. National Livestock Reporting Service said a shortage of well finished trade lambs drove the market $20 higher for select pens.
Trade lambs sold at $98-$165 to average 612¢/kg. Heavy lambs topped at $190. Better finished heavy lambs sold from $170-$185 to average 540-570¢/kg. The sheep market was dearer, founded on a shortage of all weights and grades. The better drafts averaged 420-470¢/kg cwt.
Another drop in supply of 7130 lambs meant prices lifted at Ballarat on Tuesday.
Prices for trade lambs generally gained $10, with some sales spiking $17. The influence of a stronger major domestic competition showed. The other big improvement was heavy export lambs, which strengthened after a run of weaker results due to abattoir maintenance. Dearer trends of $3-$11 were based on limited supplies. The bulk of the heavy offering made $158-$205.
On the sheep front, rates surged $10-$17 to average 420-443¢/kg cwt.