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Australian Weekly Sheep Summary

12 September 2014
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).

South Australian 

Supply mostly stable

Southern Australian lamb supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, eased 4 per cent week-on-week, to total 10,469 head. Throughput at Naracoorte more than doubled, to total 2,079 head, while yardings at the SA Livestock Exchange decreased 17 per cent, to 8,390 head.

Southern Australian mutton supply only eased around 2 per cent week-on-week, totalling 4,533 head. Throughput at Naracoorte was 57 per cent higher on 2,450 head, while yardings at the SA Livestock Exchange slipped 32 per cent, to 2,083 head.

Stronger demand

Demand lifted across both markets this week and feeder and restocker buyers were more prominent on lighter weight young lambs at the SA Livestock Exchange. Heavy weight old lambs at the Southern Australia Livestock Exchange attracted stronger bidding.

There were only a few wethers included in the sheep sale at Naracoorte, while sheep at the Southern Australian Livestock Exchange sold to stronger processor and restocker demand.

Prices edge higher

Light weight three score young lambs to slaughter were 1¢ dearer on 518¢, while those to feeder buyers gained 43¢ to average 544¢/kg cwt. Trade weight three score young lambs to slaughter were 57¢ higher on 500¢, while heavy weight four score young lambs to slaughter lifted 55¢ to average 490¢/kg cwt.

Medium weight two score Merino ewes lifted 44¢ to 276¢, while medium weight two score first cross ewes gained 8¢ to 300¢/kg cwt. Heavy weight three score Merino ewes increased 59¢ to settle on 288¢/kg cwt.

Western Australia

Rain reduces numbers

Moderate rainfall in the early part of the week lifted pasture potential in most southern districts of WA. These conditions resulted in a significant reduction in the supply of lambs, with only moderate numbers available at Muchea and no prime trade or heavy lambs offered at Katanning. Prices for lambs eased slightly. Mutton numbers remained about equal, however the weight of drafts decreased on the previous week and a firmer price trend was observed.

Lamb prices came under pressure, with quality contributing to the easing trend. Adequate numbers direct-to-works were reported, although there has been an increased number of Merino trade weight lambs processed.

Lambs lack weight

New season lambs at both markets lacked weight, with very limited numbers of heavy trade lambs offered. Most sales eased by close to $3, with prices from $85 to $101/head and averaging close to 470¢/kg cwt. Lighter lambs suitable for the air freight markets remained close to firm, with most sales between $56 and $85/head. Old lambs were limited in number and generally of plain quality, however prices continued at similar levels, with most sales between 420¢ and 450¢/kg cwt. Store lambs, both Merino and crossbred, were limited in supply and lifted around $3, with most selling between $45 and $65/head.

Mutton prices lifted slightly, with most categories up by $2 to $4/head. Heavy four score ewes sold between $92 and $101, with the prime 3 score drafts making $70 to $92/head, or close to 300¢/kg cwt. The two score ewes sold between $40 and $88/head, with most sales around 320¢/kg cwt.

Restockers were active on young Merino hoggets, lifting prices by $5, and mature ewes to restockers also lifted by up to $5/head. Wether prices remained firm, with heavy drafts to processors making from $75 to $103, and select drafts to live export made between $68 and $85/head. Lighter conditioned wethers to feeders and restockers sold between $50 and $89/head also equal in price. Ram sales remained equal.


Lamb yardings increase

Victorian lamb supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, gained 24 per cent week-on-week, totalling 29,525 head. Throughput at Ballarat and Bendigo lifted 32 per cent and 34 per cent, to 3,085 head and 20,185 head, respectively. Yardings at Horsham decreased 4 per cent to 1,399 head, while supply at Horsham was relatively firm on 4,856 head.

Victorian mutton supply was 16 per cent lower week-on-week, totalling 18,903 head. Throughput at Ballarat, Bendigo and Hamilton decreased, while yardings at Horsham increased 32 per cent, to 5,196 head.

Better demand

The quality of lambs yarded at Bendigo improved this week, with more weight offered as well as more young lambs being penned. Store competition commenced at Bendigo, with agents from Ballarat, Hamilton and Swan Hill in attendance, although the market was driven mostly by quality. Restocking activity was limited at Ballarat, while demand at Hamilton was stronger.

Merino and crossbred sheep, recently shorn, were featured at Bendigo, Ballarat and Horsham. Demand was stable across the majority of markets this week.

Prices improve

Light weight two score young first cross lambs averaged 472¢, while trade weight three score young first cross lambs gained 3¢ to 493¢/kg cwt. Trade weight three score young lambs to slaughter were 13¢ cheaper on 502¢, while heavier weights eased 4¢ to 513¢/kg cwt. Heavy weight three score first cross old lambs averaged 474¢/kg cwt.

Light weight two score Merino ewes increased 19¢ to 330¢, while medium weight two score Merino ewes lifted 23¢ to 331¢/kg cwt. Heavy weight 3 score Merino ewes improved 9¢ to 326¢, while heavy weight three score Merino wethers gained 2¢ to average 333¢/kg cwt.

New South Wales

Yardings improve

Overall NSW lamb supply, as reported by MLA’s National Livestock Reporting Service, increased 22 per cent week-on-week, totalling 103,041 head. Numbers at CTLX jumped 71 per cent, to 4,350 head, as Wagga also registered a large increase, with supply 56 per cent higher at 36,850 head.

Dubbo gained 13 per cent, to reach 26,891 head, while lamb consignments at Forbes climbed to 31,550 head, an increase of 9 per cent week-on-week. Goulburn’s throughput remained firm at 800, as Tamworth lifted 30 per cent to yard a total of 2,600 lambs.

New South Wales  mutton supply also lifted, with 14 per cent more sheep being consigned across the state, totalling 33,099 head. All markets recorded higher numbers, with the exception of Forbes, which saw sheep supply ease 6% to 7,550 head.

New season quality good

New season lamb supply jumped by 25 per cent this week at Wagga, penning 21,000, while Dubbo and CTLX yarded a good mix of trade and heavy weight new season lambs. Tamworth also yarded around 1,000 good condition new season lambs that entered the annual lamb show. Bidding was reportedly strongest for the heavy lambs in full bloom at Wagga, although there was also keen competition for the lighter new season Merinos.

Mutton quality was good at Dubbo this week, while at all other markets it was reportedly very mixed. Greater numbers fell into the medium weight range at Wagga, with a significant portion being shorn. CTLX penned some good numbers of young Merino ewes and wethers in store condition and only a few sheep that were suitable for processor orders.

Prices lift across the board

Trade weight (18-20kg) three score new season lambs sold 5¢ dearer this week, averaging 505¢, while the heavy three and four score crossbreds were 2¢ to 15¢ higher and averaged in the early 490¢/kg cwt range. Trade three score old Merino lambs lifted by up to 24¢, averaging 405¢ to 417¢, while heavy four score crossbreds were as much as 19¢ dearer to settle around the 487¢/kg cwt mark.

Medium three score Merino ewes gained 6¢ to average 348¢/kg cwt. Medium three score Merino wethers were 23¢ dearer, on 360¢, while the heavy 4 scores jumped 43¢ to 364¢/kg cwt.

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