Lamb numbers remained similar, although there was a dramatic decrease in quality and weight across the yarding. Agents said the supply of first draft young lambs from southern areas was nearly finished, while the turn off of shorn lambs is only just starting. It meant there were only limited numbers of heavy and medium trade weight lambs available. This tight supply helped support the market despite not all processors operating. The best processor lambs improved by approximately $8/head, with well finished recently shorn pens attracting the best support from buyers. The bulk of the yarding were lighter weight lambs under 20kg cwt that sold to a mix of restocking and processing orders.
Lambs in the 16-20kg cwt category sold a few dollars either side of last week’s prices, while the smallest lambs to the paddock rebounded by up to $15, as restockers looked to purchase for less than $100/head. Heavy shorn lambs sold to $199 and unshorn young lambs made to $188/head.
The general run of trade weight lambs mainly made from $150 to $180/head. On a carcase basis, most categories returned averages from 670c to 695c, with premiums of over 700c/kg cwt paid for the lead pens of recently shorn lambs. There were many dry skinned lambs in the 18-20kg weight category and these fluctuated from $120 to $144/head. Restockers were active from Euroa, Echuca, Swan Hill, Wycheproof and the local Bendigo area, and demand favoured the smallest store lambs, as buyers set dollar per head limits. Small lambs to the paddock made from $49 to $99 to average approximately $80/head. Bigger framed types, with more size, received from $114 to $130/head. Carcase prices for small store lambs showed substantial increases at times. It was another good yarding of sheep, covering all weights and grades. Processor demand was more subdued, with not all buyers active, and the sale lost momentum during the auction.
The best of the feature lines, such as 608 head of heavy Merino wethers in a short skin, sold for $130/head, remaining similar to a week ago. However, prices for the general yarding eased by $4 to $11/head, with heavy crossbred ewes and very plain and light sheep the most affected. The better quality processing sheep were estimated to make from 380c to 420c/kg cwt, with premiums above this paid for the best lines of Merino wethers and ewes. There will be a final market at Bendigo next Monday, with markets recommencing on the 7th January 2019.