A backlog of numbers in Victoria was rushed into lamb markets last week following the continuing dry conditions and Melbourne Cup public holiday Tuesday.
With numbers up at Wagga, Corowa, Bendigo, Ballarat, Hamilton and Naracoorte, buyers had the perfect opportunity to tug at recent record rates, with the main categories generally discounted $20-$30, while store lambs on average dipped $10.
Another major influence on price trends was a marked improvement in quality. Reports indicate this was particularly the case for trade and heavy lambs which provided buyers with the greatest freedom of choice.
Feedlot and restocker activity was more reserved although some feedlots upped the ante on the 18-22kg trade weight types.
The largest NSW market to have an influence on Victorian prices is Wagga sale which yarded 40,000 lambs and 24,000 sheep.
With a couple of thousand extra sheep and lambs at Wagga prices headed south from the start of the sale. Trade lambs rates varied owing to the plainer quality with most selling $10-$20 cheaper to average 768c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs were beholden to a fickle demand with some sales down lower while others were back severely where very dry skins were an issue. The main run of heavy young lambs made from $196-$240 along way shy of $277 for the top pen the previous sale.
Likewise demand and rates for mutton drifted lower with heavy sheep most affected. Heavy sheep fell $14-$18 with heavy crossbred ewes topping at $163 and the Merino portion making to $155.
Heavy sheep regularly sold from 370-414c/kg cwt. Trade sheep sold at $14-$21 lower averaging 384c/kg cwt.
Lamb prices continue to falter in opening sales as markets struggle to find a base rate amid the tough seasonal conditions. The overall pattern in NSW and Victoria was cheaper with discounting severe for heavy young lambs.
An example of this was at Bendigo in Victoria this week where in a smaller yarding of 20,000 lambs, heavy and extra heavy lambs nose-dived $43-$52. The National Livestock Reporting Service noted there were no sales above $200, the heaviest lambs 26-30kg sold from $164-$190 to average 636c/kg cwt.
Price rates for unshorn trade lambs 24kg were $40-$50 cheaper with buyers nonchalant. Other trade weight lambs dipped $20-$40 with rates generally averaging 621c/kg cwt. A volume restocker buyer from Swan Hill underpinned the lighter weight lamb rates ahead of buyers from Tasmania, Gippsland, Yarrawonga and the local area. Second cross store lambs sold from $113-$131 to average $124.
The eastern states trade lambs indicator lost 15c on Monday closing at 620c/kg. Heavy lambs dipped 15c to rest at 6222.
Competition was reported weaker at Corowa in NSW by the National Livestock Reporting service with prices dropping $21-$28 for trade and heavy lambs. Medium trade weight lambs were back $23 and more in places, while light lambs fell $11-$14. Heavy lambs sold $28 cheaper making from $163-$198 to average 680c/kg cwt.
Lamb supply dropped at Ballarat yesterday and so did rates. Extra heavy lambs 26kg plus sold $12 cheaper making from $200-$228. Trade lambs generally eased $7 to average 690c/kg cwt. Lambs back to the paddock with frame sold at $117-$158.