The tough lamb and mutton market and variable season pushed bigger supplies onto the market last week and while some producers opted to sell rather than wait for a shift in the season, others are passing in pens and taking them home.
At the same time, prices were slightly better early this week. The NSW Trade Lamb Indicator was at 469 cents a kilogram (carcase weight), while restocker lambs climbed about 30c/kg to hit 298c/kg.
The exception to the dearer trend was the NSW Mutton Indicator, which slipped another 20c/kg to 220c/kg.
Offerings online were driven higher by NSW new season lambs last week.
"The persistent tougher market conditions has pushed more farmers to sell when they may have been previously holding," AuctionsPlus reported.
The online platform said new season lambs were "beginning to make their dash online", with 14,992 head offered, which was 44pc of the total weekly offering.
Most of the new season lambs were from NSW, while a smaller portion were from Queensland and South Australia.
Although the quality was very good, demand from restockers failed to clear the decks during the Hay feeder lambs sale last week.
Andrew Low, Elders Hay, said the sale didn't have a huge clearance, but they had managed to sell some lambs since the online sale closed.
"With the feed in the paddocks, and being understocked, vendors are reassessing their selling program," Mr Low said.
He said the vendors who didn't sell their lambs will shear them and carry them through to a heavier weight.
"They had been offered at this early sale thinking there might have been a lot more interest, but buyers were reluctant to meet the market," he said.
"And the vendors are not prepared to accept the standard the market is offering at the moment.
"There is a good opportunity to trade lambs, even with the way saleyard prices are, but buyers will have to be prepared to offer more money if they want the sheep."
Mr Low said the Hay district was flush with feed, and it wouldn't take a lot to finish the lambs held over from the sale.
"At this stage, I can't see vendors taking a lesser price," he said.
"They don't have to with the season we are having."
The First Draft takes a look at some of the weekly highlights across the markets. If you have a story tip, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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