Lamb supply remained similar to a week ago at 19,000 head. Quality was mixed and comprised only limited pens of well finished heavy slaughter lambs, the bulk of the yarding presenting as drier skinned types under 20kg cwt. Processor demand was stronger with more export orders active, although one major domestic buyer was still absent. Price results were linked to lamb weight and carcase finish. Heavy lambs above 24kg cwt rebounded by $30 to $40/head to regain most of the previous week’s big losses.
Price improvements over the medium and lighter weight lambs were more modest at $6 to $18/head, although these lambs did hold their value better a week ago. Restockers were not as active this market, with only a couple of local agents following the sale and processors stepped-in and purchased most of the smaller lambs. There was a few pens of extra heavy young lambs above 30kg cwt which sold from $224 to a top of $240/head. The lead run of heavy trade weight unshorn lambs, 24-26kg cwt, sold from $183 to $216 to average around $196/head. The next grade down, 22-24kg cwt, sold from $163 to $185 to average $175/head.
On a carcase basis the best of the crossbred slaughter lambs were returning estimated averages of 700c to 740c/kg. There was a big supply pool of lighter weight lambs in the 18-20kg cwt bracket and these sold from $128 to $153/head – the higher prices reserved for pens with better fat cover and finish. Most lighter lambs sold from $114 to $135/head. Pens of recently shorn young lambs to suit restockers and feedlots were strongly supported at $125 to $142/head for the best lines. The supply of old season lambs is now limited to odd lots, reaching $234/head for a small penlot of extra heavy exports. Sheep increased to 12,000 head, with a lot of weight and condition available in the crossbred section as older ewes from southern grazing areas are sold.
Heavy sheep were firm, while good price gains of $5 to $20/head were recorded across the medium and lighter lines of mutton. An extra heavy pen of crossbred ewes sold to $180, the next best price being $160/head. Most crossbred ewes $128 to $150/head. Some very heavy Merino wethers above 30kg cwt sold to $168, while ewes reached $156/head. Heavy crossbred ewes were trending