The Eastern heavy lamb indicator closed last week higher on 628c/kg carcass weight. Prices were supported by tightening supplies of extra heavy lambs at all selling centres. Rumours of reduced shifts at some major processing works have been overly exaggerated to say the least, with all companies providing robust competition particularly at northern markets.
It was the same story for restocking lambs with the EYCI up 53c/kg. Higher prices can be attributed to the predication of rain and high forward lamb contract prices, which boosted the level of competition among restockers and lot feeders late in the week.
Trade lamb prices increased nationally to sit at 645c/kg a direct reflection of the stronger demand from major domestic processors and the shorter supplies of well finished lambs. However those prices are down 47c/kg to a year ago levels. Niche markets and select butcher orders at times have pushed prices significantly higher if the correct article presents its self. Some of the fresh shorter skinned trade lambs have hovered around 700c/kg.
The standout feature of trade prices was seen at Wagga Wagga and Griffith NSW where the better trade types made from $150 -$170 . It’s worth remembering that those two markets have lacked quality 22-24kg trade lambs and the usual domestic buyers along with supermarkets have been keener than usual to secure lambs in this weight range.
A shorter trading week due to the Queen’s birthday holiday on Monday and excellent quality drove much of the price rises for lambs at Ballarat on Tuesday.
National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) reported a slight decrease in numbers, with just over 19,800 lambs, while sheep numbers eased back moderately. The market opened on a strong note with prices generally tracking $5- $6 dearer.
The better prices were for quality drafts that suited domestic and export orders. Trade lambs fetched from $129-$163 while heavier drafts sold from $142-$173 and averaged 666c/kg cwt, however there were some lambs which broke the 700c/kg cwt barrier several times throughout the market.
Bidding for heavy lambs was stronger over all weight categories. The better finished 4 score lambs made from $168-$228 to average 623c/kg cwt. Lighter weight lambs needing more finish sold to similar rates of the previous sale making from $71-$126. Immature light lambs to the restockers were tough to sell falling sharply. The heavier secondary lambs were keenly contested by both restockers and lot feeders with prices lifting $2-$9. Well-bred secondary store lambs with weight and frame fetched from $127-$132.