Ewes fetch $446 as sheepmeat sector keeps galloping along

Lamb keeps shining through China trade gloom with ewes topping at $446

Wool
TOP CROSS: First-cross ewes have been in keen demand this week as producers continue rebuilding the national sheepmeat flock.

TOP CROSS: First-cross ewes have been in keen demand this week as producers continue rebuilding the national sheepmeat flock.

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Sheep prices have remained firm despite the economic destruction caused by coronavirus and the worsening trade argy-bargy between Australia and China.

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Restockers are continuing to jump into the market with young first-cross ewes topping Tuesday's national sheep sale on AuctionsPlus at $446 a head.

The 81-head lot, 13- to 15-month-old ewes from Deniliquin in the NSW Riverina, were scanned in lamb to White Suffolk rams.

Another line of 157 first-cross ewes from Cowra in Central West NSW, 18- to 24-months and also in lamb to White Suffolks, were knocked down for $443.

Five lots broke the $400 barrier in a sale which attracted 34,868 ewes out of a total offering of 50,057.

Another 33 lots of ewes were sold for $300 or more.

Meanwhile prime lamb markets keep performing strongly through the coronavirus gloom and Australia's worsening trade relations with China, helped along by smaller yardings at major selling centres and ongoing competition from restockers.

Lamb numbers dropped by 6567 at Ballarat on Tuesday with heavy lambs selling firm to $5 dearer to reach $304 while neat short-skinned trade weights sold $10 to $15 dearer in places.

The lamb yarding at Forbes on Tuesday dropped by 1541 to 9500 with agents reporting a dearer trend.

Prices for trade weight lambs lifted by $3 to $4 with prices ranging from $162 to $202.

Heavy lambs to 26kg sold from $194 to $229. Export heavy lambs were $6 to $8 dearer to range in price from $226 to $278.

Carcase prices averaged from 786c to 870c a kg carcase weight.

A pen of extra heavy lambs with an estimated carcase weight above 40kg topped Monday's Bendigo sale at $300 a head.

Lamb numbers dropped slightly to 13,600 while sheep numbers lifted to 4900 off the back of last week's small offering of 1400.

Export competition for extra heavy lambs over 30kg dressed was limited which saw prices firm to $5 cheaper.

Most of the heavy export lambs made from $230 to $272 or 730 to 750c a kg carcase weight.

Dubbo yarded 7270 sheep on Monday including 5510 lambs with lightweight lambs to processors firm with the 12kg to 18kg 2 scores selling from $133 to $158.

Trade lambs were firm to $2 dearer selling from $166 to $206 to average from 860c to 890c a kg caracse weight.

Heavyweight lambs finished firm with the over 24kg 4 scores selling from $190 to $263 to average from 740c to 800c.

Mutton prices have remained firm on the back of small yardings as the traditional winter supply squeeze looms.

The eastern states mutton slaughter plunged 28 per cent last week to 43,594 with Victoria's kill more than halving to 9833 while NSW numbers dropped by 18pc to 26,184.

A 3pc lift in Victoria's lamb slaughter to 147,551 helped boost total lamb numbers by 2pc to 285,153.

NSW's lamb slaughter stayed steady at 94,104 while SA's rose by 1pc to 39,539.

Meanwhile, a line of 230 young first-cross ewes from Dundeoo in the NSW Central West topped Tuesday's national lamb sale which attracted 40,033 on AuctionsPlus.

The 8- to 9-month-old ewes weighing 37.9kg live sold for $303 a head.

They were pushed for top-price honours by a line of 250 station-mated Australian White ewes, June to August 2019 drop, which fetched $300.

The ewes weighed 40.6kg live and were the only lot sold from an offering of 1500 from Nyngan in western NSW with the rest passed in at between $298 and $299 a head.

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