Trade lamb indicator dips towards 700c on back of big early summer yardings

Trade lamb indicator battles to stay above 700c barrier as yardings surge

Sheep
SUMMER SELL-OFF: Big early-summer yardings of sheep and lambs is putting downward pressure on prices as drought-weary producers look to offload more stock.

SUMMER SELL-OFF: Big early-summer yardings of sheep and lambs is putting downward pressure on prices as drought-weary producers look to offload more stock.

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Big yardings early this week have put pressure on both sheep and lambs prices.

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Big yardings early this week have helped put downward pressure on sheep and lamb prices with the Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator shedding 11 cents on Tuesday to dive to 705c a kilogram dressed.

The trade lamb indicator has lost 19c in the past week and is now in danger of sliding below the 700c mark.

Even the upbeat mutton indicator lost ground, falling 7c on Tuesday to 586c a kg which is still a whopping 150c above year-ago levels.

The Merino lamb indicator dropped through the 700c barrier on Tuesday after losing 17c to land on 690c.

The yarding at Ballarat on Tuesday jumped by 9141 head on the back of a big penning of 41,544 lambs, up 9133 on the previous week.

Despite good quality and weights, prices slipped by around $5 to $20 a head.

Top quality lambs over 30kg lambs sold to $270 while shorn lambs fetched up to $160.

Lightweight 2 score lambs 12-18kg sold from $90 to $131 to average 695c a kg. Light trade 2 and 3 score lambs, 18-22kg, sold from $126 to $158 to average 680c.

Lambs 22-24kg sold from $154 to $171, making from 652c to 715c to average 675c a kg.

Prices generally dropped by $2 to $5 a head for the yarding of 14,820 sheep.

Lightweight 1 and 2 score sheep made from $95 to $129 to average 620c with medium weight 2 and 3 score sheep selling from $106 to $160, making from 513c to 695c with Merino mutton averaging around 630c a kg dressed.

Heavy Merino ewes sold from $152 to $213 while heavy Merfinbo wethers sold from $151 to $210.

Both sheep and lamb numbers rose at Bendigo on Monday.

The lamb yarding jumped by 2000 to 16,000 while good money for mutton the previous week saw the sheep yarding surge by 5000 to 14,000.

The lamb sale was erratic caused by the absence of some key buyers and a mixed quality yarding.

Trade weight lambs, 18-24kg cwt, were $7 to $15 cheaper. Many were showing the effects of the season.

Best woolly young lambs over 30kg topped at $230. Heavy shorn lambs sold to $220. The lead runs of heavy lambs made mostly from $180 to $210. Less than 20 pens of lambs made above $200.

Prices were cheaper on a much bigger yarding of sheep with most sales from $10 to $22 easier.

Big crossbred ewes made from $155 to $210 while heavy Merino ewes and wethers sold from $140 to $190 for the bulk.

Estimated carcase averages made from 550c to 600c across most of the yarding.

The story was similar north of the border at Forbes on Tuesday with a 5050 lift in lamb numbers to 17,050.

Agents reported a mixed quality offering with plenty of plainer store types.

Light store lambs to restockers sold from $70 to $166. Trade weight new-season lambs sold from $151 to $177.

Old lambs were firm to $5 dearer on the better types. Trade weights made from $156 to $177.

Heavy weight lambs to 26kg sold from $176 to $202 with extra heavy weights receiving from $210 to $255. Carcase prices averaged from 740c to 777c.

Mutton numbers were mainly Merinos and quality was fair. Prices eased $2 to $6 with Merino ewes selling from $110 to $203.

Lamb and sheep slaughterings in the eastern states last week showed no signs of a major slowdown.

The lamb slaughter dropped just one per cent to 346,226 including 197,568 in Victoria (down 2pc) and 91,292 in NSW (up 2pc).

Mutton slaughterings rose 6pc to 169,683 with a hefty 13pc lift in NSW to 79,862 and a 1pc rise in Victoria to 69,573.

This year's monthly sheep yardings peaked in October at 591,519 head with drought-ravaged NSW leading the way with 348,231 compared with 299,841 during the same month in 2018.

NSW has seen a big sheep sell-off in the three months to November with yardings totalling 874,564 head.

The volume of sheep yardings in Victoria have been more subdued, hitting a monthly peak of 129,190 in October followed by 126,879 in November, according to Meat & Livestock Australia data.

NSW also drove big lamb yardings in October with 515,392 head out of a national total of 920,143.

National lamb yardings for the year peaked in May with 1,031,093 head including 570,669 in NSW and 275,472 in Victoria.

NSW lamb yardings dropped to 317,976 in November but rose month-on-month in Victoria to 261,592.

Lamb yardings in Victoria for September, October and November totalled 646,275 compared with 986,151 during the same period last year.

Monthly lamb yardings in South Australia peaked for the year in October and November, reaching 99,505 and 101,927 respectively.

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