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Australian Weekly Sheep Summary

06 February 2015
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - The following report is a collection of market summaries from the previous week across Australia's territories from analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

Western Australia 

Numbers lifted strongly this week, with hot and dry conditions impacting feed and water availability across many areas. Quality continued to slip, with a larger percentage of light weight plainer drafts. Lamb supplies increased by more than 5,000 head, with the majority of supply again made up of light and store lamb categories with a larger percentage Merino light weights. Limited supplies of prime lambs were available, along with smaller numbers of well-conditioned ewe mutton. Prices for trade lamb were slightly dearer, with both markets recording prices close to 490¢/kg cwt for the majority of the trade weight lambs. Heavier and prime drafts however were very limited and lifted slightly to be close to 510¢/kg cwt. Ewe mutton prices eased at both sales, with supply increasing by 7,000 head. Processor and live export competition on heavy weight wether drafts lifted at Muchea but quality saw Katanning drafts ease by $5/head. Store wether drafts were slightly easier on limited live export interest.

Trade weight lambs continue to sell dearer

Trade lamb drafts to processors made between 490¢ and 515¢/kg cwt, with sales mostly between $88 and $122 and the heavier lambs making from $111 to $130/head. Lighter lambs suitable for the processors, air freight markets and feeders lifted another $3, with most sales between $70 and $99/head. Store lambs, both Merino and crossbreds were available in larger numbers, with light crossbreds and most Merino drafts between $30 and $77 and $3/head dearer.

Mutton prices ease

Mutton prices to processors slipped $3 to $5, largely due to decreased weight and quality, with heavier 3 and 4 score ewes making $55 to $94/head or close to 290¢/kg cwt. Ewes in 2 score condition sold between $55 and $75, to be $2/head easier and also averaged close to 290¢/kg cwt. Restockers remained active on mature ewes and Merino hogget drafts, with prices close to firm. Wether prices eased, largely due to decreased live export competition, with heavy weight drafts making from $79 to $100, back $5/head. Lighter conditioned wethers were also $5 easier, with sales between $45 and $82/head. Ram lamb and young ram sales remained firm with selective live export activity.

South Australia

Lamb supply lifts across state sales

SA lamb supply, as reported by MLA’s NLRS, increased 60 per cent this week, following a large drop in numbers consigned the previous week. The largest increase was reported from Naracoorte, with 4,601 head penned. Mount Gambier yarded 4,657 lambs, an increase of 93 per cent , while the SA Livestock Exchange consigned 8,073 head, up 21 per cent week-on-week.

Total sheep supply fell across the state by 10 per cent , with 5,135 head being offered. The larger sales at Naracoorte and the SA Livestock Exchange fell by 11 per cent and 15 per cent , for a total of 2,522 and 2,126 head, respectively. Mount Gambier yarded 487 head of mutton, representing a 42 per cent increase.

Buyer competition increases

Across the state there was solid competition between the usual trade and processing buyers, who managed to secure majority of stock offered. Small contingents of restockers were present but struggled to make purchases, with prices trending firm to dearer across the state and some lambs exceeding the $200/head mark at both the SA Livestock Exchange and Mount Gambier. Overall the increase in prices reflected an improved quality of stock offered this week across SA.

Lamb prices rise

Following the previous week’s increase in lamb prices, the overall market held firm or lifted further. Prices for trade lambs (18-22kg) lifted slightly from last week, with the majority selling at an average of 585¢, up 6¢/kg cwt. Heavy lambs (22-26kg), increased by 27¢, ranging from 492¢ to 646¢, with an average of 599¢/kg cwt. The heavier export category averaged 593¢, lifting 30¢/kg cwt. 

New South Wales 

Lamb supplies increase

With saleyards returning to their normal working week after last week’s public holiday, lamb numbers, as reported by MLA’s NLRS, lifted 48 per cent to 99,917 head. Dubbo commenced the markets and consigned 23,300 lambs, while Tamworth yarded 4,100 head. Forbes penned similar numbers, at 23,600 head, and CTLX increased its lambs by 42 per cent , yarding 9,500 head. Wagga increased by 40 per cent , to pen 35,000 head, while Inverell continued its fortnightly market and yarded 1,907 lambs.

Sheep numbers also lifted with 33,827 penned across the state, up 46 per cent week-on-week. Dubbo penned 7,330 head and Tamworth offered 2,025 sheep. Forbes yarded 7,900 head, while CTLX consigned 6,200 sheep. Wagga penned 6,500 head, down 14 per cent week-on-week.

Quality overall fair to good

Quality at Dubbo was good, with excellent lines of heavy weight lambs available, along with good numbers of well-finished Merinos. Forbes offered a fair quality penning, with the heavy and extra heavy weight lambs making up the bulk of the yarding. CTLX penned a mixed quality yarding, with consignments of heavy weight shorn lambs, together with a reasonable selection of new season lambs. Quality was very good at Wagga, with plenty of weight in the offering, while trade weight lambs were in shorter supply.

Lamb prices average dearer

Dearer trends were evident throughout the state, as trade weight shorn lambs lifted $3 to $4, to average from $101 to $144/head, or from 552¢ to 572¢/kg cwt. The heavier weights to exporters topped at $212, with the majority making from $158 to $194/head, depending on weight. The extra heavy weight Merino lambs sold well, receiving from $180 to $195/head. There was little change in mutton prices week-on-week, with the medium and heavy weights making from $53 to $130/head. The better 2 to 4 score mutton averaged around the 318¢ to 380¢/kg cwt range. 


Yardings rise

Victorian lamb supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, gained 53 per cent week-on-week, to total 71,614 head, as Bendigo returned to the market after last week’s long weekend. Ballarat recorded a fall of 15 per cent , to 22,878 head, while Hamilton and Horsham supply lifted to 15,900 head and 12,925 head, respectively.

Mutton supply lifted 62 per cent week-on-week, to 47,611 head. Horsham supply almost doubled, with 3,778 head yarded, while throughput at Ballarat and Hamilton increased 25 per cent and 11 per cent , to 16,665 head and 15,625 head, respectively.

Quality remains good

Lamb quality at all markets was good, with well-finished trade and heavy weight lambs yarded. Buyers operated strongly at Bendigo and Ballarat, while restockers at Hamilton and Horsham were very active.

There were several runs of heavy weight crossbred and Merino wethers and ewes yarded at Bendigo and Ballarat. Hamilton yarded mainly medium and heavy weight sheep, not all processors operated, however restockers were active on younger Merino sheep.

Lambs crack $200/head

Light weight 2 score young lambs to restockers were 68¢ dearer on 591¢, while older lines to restockers gained 29¢ to average 598¢/kg cwt. Light weight 3 score older lambs to slaughter lifted 29¢ to 609¢, while trade weight 3 score lambs to slaughter gained 18¢ to 585¢/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 and 4 score lambs to slaughter were 5¢ to 32¢ higher, to range in price from 517¢ to 644¢/kg cwt. A line of extra heavy weight lambs topped the markets this week, cracking $208/head at Ballarat.

Light weight 2 score Merino ewes lifted 19¢ to 377¢, while medium weight 3 score Merino ewes gained 3¢ to 365¢/kg cwt. Heavy weight 4 score first cross ewes increased 8¢ to 352¢/kg cwt. Medium weight 2 score Merino wethers were 30¢ higher on 392¢, while 3 score lines eased 16¢ to 360¢/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 score Merino wethers improved 37¢ to 377¢, while 4 score lines decreased 7¢ to settle on 388¢/kg cwt.

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