The season continues to have the biggest influence on lamb prices and demand.
This was reflected in the saleyard supply last week, with dry conditions and limited supplies of finished lambs boosting rates in NSW, while markets in the south trended lower.
An example of this was at Hamilton last week, where the centre was full to capacity, yarding 49,581 lambs – a 10 per cent increase on the previous week according to National Livestock Reporting Service data.
Numbers at Wagga plummeted to 22,000 on Thursday, declining by just on 10,000 lambs. Despite more finished lambs in the offering, demand outstripped supply surging $7-$8 for heavy lambs with plenty of sales ranging from $200-$230 to average 650¢/kg. Shorn trade lambs were paid a premium topping at $172, with the bulk of trade lambs, averaging 626-645¢/kg cwt.
In the south, the season and numbers are also influencing price results due to increased supplies of young lambs in genuine slaughter condition. Victorian market data, shows trade lambs averaging 606¢/kg last week at Hamilton, while the heavy portion averaged 602¢, topping at $205.
At the close of trading on Friday, the national trade lamb indicator sat at 613¢, while heavy lambs rested on 616¢/kg cwt.
Torrential rain over the weekend across much of Victoria and NSW has put crop values under pressure. However, there may be an upside to the wet summer with demand for domestic and export lambs ramping up, not to mention mutton, which has steamed ahead in leaps and bounds.
This was evident in opening markets on Monday, where prices generally jumped $8-$10 isolated sales more. Dubbo recorded the top price when shorn heavy lambs made $238.
At Corowa, the lamb market gained traction in a much smaller offering due in part to the wet conditions. The big movers on the day were extra heavy lambs where the shorn portion rocketed ahead by as much as $35.
Extra heavy lambs sold from $170-$220 to average 644¢/kg cwt. In a promising sign for producers, trade lambs gained $7-$8, while lighter weight lambs to slaughter lifted $14.
On the back of wet weather, restockers bounced rates $9-$35 with the lighter weights enjoying the bigger price hike. Well-bred store lambs sold from $108-$130.
At Bendigo, on Monday a much smaller yarding of 9561 lambs was down by 8849. Lamb prices seemed to gain traction again this week with most categories quoted dearer. Bidding for trade and export lambs improved $5-$8 despite quality being plainer. The better finished trade lambs sold from $135-$170, averaging 623¢/kg cwt.
Processors dug deep in the mutton run, paying $7-$14 more for trade and heavy grades.
The best price recorded was $187 for Merino ewes. While this price is the highest at Bendigo this selling season, the market produced impressive result over trade weight categories to average 481-517¢/kg cwt.
Ballarat’s offering on Tuesday of 46,105 was described as average to good. It did nothing to harm prices, which the NLRS quoted were up to $6 dearer.
The best trade lambs averaged 627¢/kg cwt and ranged from $123-$168.
The highlight was improved demand for heavy lambs with plenty of sale above the $200 mark. Heavy lambs sold at $168-$219.
Meanwhile, mutton sales rocketed ahead lifting $12-$13 for the heavy pens to average 458-526¢/kg cwt.