Price results for lambs and sheep are reflecting supply and seasonal conditions across Victoria and NSW, leading to mixed trends.
The highlight of last week was extra heavy lambs, when prices continually broke back through the $230 barrier at Wagga. Flagging supplies nationally of extra heavy lambs have helped sustain price levels, due to autumn lambing and the high cost of grain.
The eastern states heavy lamb indicator did however slip 2c to rest at 631c/kg. The trade lamb indicator also dipped 2c to 631c/kg.
Despite the decline in lamb numbers at markets, processors reached a tipping point with the amount of direct to works lambs, which resulted in prices fading across trade lamb categories. Trade lamb prices were weaker at both Wagga and, Griffith thanks to the drop in trade lamb quality and patchy demand.
Wagga’s smaller market of 20,000 lambs saw rates drop $5 for trade lambs, which remained erratic in early sales, struggling to find its momentum due to a lack of well finished lines. Dry longer-wool lambs continued to drag prices back as buyers went in search of fresh shorter skinned stock. The entire offering of trade lambs average 630-650c/kg cwt selling to a top of $168. There was more competition for heavy lambs 24-26kg, which held firm to a few dollars dearer making $162-$177. Extra heavy lambs ignited the bidding with prices topping at $240 to average 618c-646c/kg. The local contingent of restockers took home some very mixed lots of secondary lambs, but found the going tough against feedlot competition. Lamb to turnout made from $20-$115, while lambs to feed on topped at $142.
The mutton market sold to weaker levels of demand with northern buyers facing off for heavier Merino ewes. Heavy sheep made from $110-$170 to average 407c/kg. Trade ewes fell $17 fetching from $72-$125.
At Corowa, lamb numbers halved to 6550 while sheep supplies dropped to 2200. The NLRS said the market improved in general $2-$5. The larger price gains were quality driven with buyers favouring shorter skinned fresh lambs. Trade lambs improved $2 making from $118-$163 to average 647c/kg cwt. Heavy lambs lifted $5 to average 634c/kg cwt. Light weight plainer lambs sold weaker to processors making $77-$116. Restocker competition was minimal with prices ranging from $50-$142.
Extra heavy lambs were unchanged at Ballarat in a slightly bigger yarding of almost 15,391 lambs. While trade lambs were dearer, quality varied and rates did rise $4-$5 for some of the well finished pens to average 661c/kg cwt. Lambs suitable to feed on were snapped up by solid lot feeder demand, making $104-$146.