Numbers lifted as another flush of light store lambs came out of the north. One agency yarded around 4,000 unshorn small crossbred lambs sent down from properties around Hay in NSW. The supply of well finished slaughter lambs remained tight, and the buying focus was on the lead runs of new season young lambs as the quality of old season stock continues to decline. All the regular buyers operated in a dearer market, some processors appearing short of numbers. Prices for the main trade weight categories lifted by $5 to $15/head. Bidding was also more consistent across the market compared to previous weeks, reducing the big carcase price spread which has been evident.
One heavy pen of early drop young lambs topped at $279/head. The main run of heavy and medium trade weight lambs sold from $200 to $256/head to average an estimated 930c to 965c/kg cwt. Plainer young lambs, with less weight and finish, mostly sold from $140 to $177/head to average about 800c/kg cwt. Demand for MK processing lambs around 16kg cwt was noticeably stronger this week and these lambs made from $116 to $136/head to be trending around 750c/kg cwt. A big crowd of farmers and agents turned up for the store lambs, which sold south to Hamilton as well as Wycheproof, Swan Hill and Bendigo where they will eventually end up on grain. Small store lambs were dearer again. Any young lambs displaying a bit of frame and growth made from $80 to $125, while the smallest and most immature types which weighed just a few kilograms sold from $16 to $60/head.
Old season lambs are now very mixed for quality, with most coming through in smaller pens as producers sell their last drafts.
The best heavy lambs, most grain assisted, made from $240 to a top of $276, while the good runs of trade weights mostly made from $180 to $230/head. Rates for old lambs consolidated at 800c to 930c/kg cwt across the majority.
The sheep sale included more Merino wethers and ewes off shears. Processor demand was stronger, with reports rain across parts of NSW had slowed stock movements to abattoirs. Prices lifted by $5 to $10 across the general run of mutton, with some of the heaviest crossbreds gaining up to $20/head. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $125 to $155/head, with the heaviest runs of Merino ewes in the same price range. Heavy Merino wethers made from $122 to $157, and the trade weights from $90 to $129/head. A good run of mutton was estimated as costing processors from 420c to 460c/kg cwt.Back