Lamb supply takes pause in heated market

By By Murray Arnel
Updated January 5 2016 - 6:14pm, first published October 4 2007 - 11:00pm

The Victorian lamb supply took a momentary breather with numbers easing by about five to six per cent at the major saleyards this week.This may indicate the main northern supply may have peaked as Bendigo’s Monday supply was pegged at 33,000 for the second week in succession but final sale numbers failed to reach the initial draw. More young lambs in the Bendigo yarding were of lighter weights and many more dry woolled types were penned along with a greater supply of Merino young lambs to make up the numbers.The Ouyen market last Thursday was cancelled to ease the burden on recent supplies. The far northwest saleyard has since returned to its usual fortnightly market and has advised of 13,000 head for the next sale, compared to the 6500 sold two weeks ago. And at Finley, NSW, on Tuesday a penning of 5800 suckers and old lambs provided neither the weight nor the freshness of previous sales. Increased numbers of lighter young lambs, also drier in wool, were penned.All of these snippets of events combined suggest the bulk of the north supply may be passed in time for the developing western supply as numbers at Naracoorte, SA, saleyards were increased by 3000 head on Tuesday for this centre’s first five-figure yarding for the new selling season.The National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) said the larger yarding of 10,700 at Naracoorte comprised mainly young lambs and hoggets. Pens of young lambs showed a dry tip in the wool, the service said: a legacy of the harsh season despite some welcome rainfall over the past week in the region.Trade and heavy young lambs sold cheaper $4-$8 a head to 260-290 cents a kilogram. Light trade young lambs lost up to $12 as most sales in this class collapsed below $50.Local and southeast restockers were active over a range of categories at the lower prices. Trade young lambs made $58-$76 while heavy weights made from $74 to top at $91.50. Restockers paid $27-$30 for the lightest pens, $30-$47.50 for the second run and to $48.50 for the best second-cross.The Bendigo sale this week was the first of the split market sequence that will sell lambs each Monday and sheep every Thursday until further notice. However, despite the easing of the yard congestion, lambs returned to the easier prices of a fortnight ago with trade young lambs mostly $5-$6 cheaper and heavy lamb prices were fell $2-$3.The NLRS said that fewer heavy lambs were offered at this week ‘s sale and these made $65-$88 while trade fetched $52-$78 to both average 270-280c/kg.The greater variety of young lambs displayed (first-cross, second-cross, Merino etcetera) provided a thin wedge of opportunity for a narrow band of restocker interest. And, yet restockers bought less than 10 per cent of the market with those returned to the paddock mostly sold at $35-$58 with a sprinkling taken up to $66.Numbers offered at Ballarat Tuesday were reduced to a tick over 7000 head, with about 80pc of this supply comprised of young lambs. While quality remained mixed, prices firmed slightly and rates elevated to 280-300c/kg.The NSW market at Forbes struggled under the weight of increased numbers, and as supplies increased significantly to almost 32,000, of which about half were young lambs, prices retreated $5-$6 for trade and heavy weights to realise 260-275c/kg.Merino and secondary types lost up to $10.With the moving of the Bendigo mutton sale to Thursdays processors had limited opportunities to buy this week.At Ballarat a penning of 1533 mutton saw prices overall regain $2-$4 in an erratic market. Most trade and heavy ewe mutton made 70-90c/kg while wethers made $55 and crossbred wethers to $70.Despite the short Victorian supply NSW mutton was hammered back into the 55-65c price bracket.

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