Prices for the best domestic sucker lambs have suffered a significant correction, and some variance is starting to creep in for good quality old trade lambs.
The major sales last week reported price averages in the low 700 cents per kilogram range for the main drafts of domestic new season lambs, while old lambs struggled to average around the 650c/kg carcase weight mark.
Heavy old lambs 26kg cwt plus all grain assisted or finished off crops battled to make $195, with a single pen hitting $200.
At Wagga for the first time in several years extra heavy lamb sales fell well below 500c/kg. It appeared that competition for lambs 30kg carcass weight waned considerably, with only a couple buyers interested in bidding.
Larger numbers of Merinos were evident at a few more saleyards including Wagga where a draw of nearly 5000 sold to a top price of $165. Merinos are attracting several buyers on quality, with pens of grain assisted and with good shape to suit domestic buyers making from $130-$148 to average 609c/kg cwt. Merinos lacking cover and under 18kg sold from $110-$122.
Meanwhile the mutton market lost more traction with rates falling up to $40.
Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $142-$166 averaging 418c/kg cwt while heavy merino ewes topped at $160 averaging 452c/kg.
The outstanding season across the supply areas has impacted on trade and plain sheep supplies with only limited numbers offered.
The few pens sold at $105-$150 with trade mutton averaging 523-583c/kg cwt.
The lamb market is yet to settle from the big drop off in processor demand and the uncertainty from Coronavirus which haunts abattoirs.
COVID-19 poses a real threat daily of closing abattoir businesses down for a minimum of two-weeks
An example of this was JBS Swift Brooklyn last week when another abattoir worker was diagnosed with the virus causing the plant to immediately shutdown.
Prices have continued to ease with data collected by the National Livestock Reporting Service showing corrections of $10-$25 across all weight categories in opening sales Monday.
Farmers reacted to the cheaper trends at Corowa with numbers dropping by almost a third.
Despite the limited supplies new trade season lambs fell $23 to average 641c/kg.
Heavy old lambs slipped $10-$11 topping at $190 to average 540c/kg cwt.
At Bendigo it was more of the same with trade lamb rates $14 cheaper making from $127-$170 to average 650-675c/kg cwt.
Heavy old lambs were back $15 with buyers shifting their attention to the new season portion, carcass weight prices averaged 550-590c/kg cwt.
Ballarat agents could only muster 2976 lambs and 1477 sheep.
Trade lambs sold either side of firm to average 693c/kg cwt.
- Leann Dax is an NLRS market reporter.