Lamb numbers nearly doubled on a week ago and quality improved, with some impressive extra heavy shorn lambs coming forward. The yarding still had a plentiful supply of lighter and plainer lambs, reflecting the dry conditions. Processor demand was ireggular, with one major exporter not operating and others only purchasing limited numbers amid reports they are booked with direct and forward contract sales. One of the major domestic buyers wasn’t active either. It resulted in a cheaper market across the heavy trade and export lambs of $3 to $12/head and more in places. Lighter weight lambs held their value thanks to
restocking orders and solid demand from processors for Muslim kill bag lambs. The unshorn full fleeced lambs still coming through the system are being discounted by buyers due to dry presentation and concerns of carcase quality under long skins.
Extra heavy shorn lambs sold to $239 amid restricted export bidding, with lambs over 30kg cwt averaging $206/head, at an estimated 620c/kg cwt. The bulk of the heavy and medium trade weight lambs returned estimated carcase prices from 640c to 670c, with occasional sales of the neatest domestic pens pushing over 700c/kg cwt on limited supplies. In dollar per head terms the main run of 24-26kg shorn lambs sold from $160 to $177 to average $170, while the category under this at 22-24kg averaged approximately $155/head. There were many light lambs sold to processors, making from $125 to $140/head. There were still some very strong sales of store lambs to restockers despite the extremely hot weather. The better lines of shorn lambs, weighing 12-16kg, made from $108 to $122 to average $113/head to the paddock. Smaller store lambs sold from $40 to $80/head. Many of the lighter weight lambs still trended above 700c/kg cwt.
A modest increase in sheep numbers to 6,500 head. All weights and grades were represented, from heavy crossbred ewes down to very light Merinos. Like lambs, processor demand for heavy mutton was selective, pulling some sales back by $4 to $9/head compared to a week ago. Buyer demand for trade weight and light mutton was more robust to be firm to dearer in places. The better quality processing sheep sold were estimated to make from 370c to 410c/kg cwt. Heavy Merino wethers in a big skin topped at $148, as crossbred and Merino ewes reached $136/head. The bulk of sheep sold from $80 to $115/head.
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