There was a modest lift in lamb numbers following last week’s rain disrupted sale. Quality remained very mixed with supplies of lambs in genuine prime condition remaining limited. A full field of buyers competed in a stronger market, with high demand shown for medium and heavy trade lambs. Prices improved by $2 to $5 across the general run of young full wool lambs, while premiums were paid for well finished shorn lambs which pushed some sales up to $10/head dearer. The main run of store lambs averaged $6/head dearer.
Prices reached a top of $202/head for a small pen lot of extra heavy young lambs, and there wasn’t a lot of price change for the biggest lambs to export orders. The market was driven by domestic competition for lambs weighing from 21-27kg cwt, with these buyers paying over $180/head at times. Most of the better quality trade weight lambs ranged from $140 to $185, with the main run of crossbreds in the 22-24kg category averaging $162/head. On a carcase basis there was sales estimated as high as 690c for young lambs as buyers paid premiums for the neatest domestic pens, however the average across the sale when all trade weight types were calculated was around 640c to 650c/kg. The hot spot of the market was the lead drafts of young shorn lambs which made an estimated 660c to 700c/kg cwt at up to $200/head. Plainer and secondary lambs lacking fat cover fluctuated from $115 to $135/head depending on size. Bidding for store lambs lifted, with most sales to restockers again pushing above $100/head. An average run of small lambs to the paddock averaged $118/head.
Sheep numbers doubled with all weights and grades represented. Demand for mutton remained very strong, although the market was erratic. Extra heavy crossbred ewes sold to $163, while the main runs of heavy Merino ewes offering good skin returns sold to $176 and averaged over $150/head. It was estimated that a good run of trade and heavy mutton was costing processors from 460c to 520c/kg cwt. Lighter and plain sheep were cheaper at $70 to $90/head amid more numbers.
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