Prime sheep: Rain gives markets a lift

RAIN has given the lamb market a boost, with carcass rates climbing back over 600c/kg this week.

With fewer numbers in saleyards and processors starting to increase production heading towards spring, buyer demand was significantly stronger at all the big markets on Monday including Bendigo, Corowa and Dubbo.

Prices lifted by $10 to $25 at Bendigo as the market rebounded from some severe discounting in the past fortnight or so, the National Livestock Reporting Service said.

Bidding at Corowa also improved by $10 and more.

Both these sales featured some of the first major drafts of new season sucker lambs to be sold in the south, and these attracted the best demand from domestic buyers.

It comes amid reports the major supermarket chains will start switching to young lamb production from this week.

Sucker lambs at Bendigo sold to a top of $173, with the lead drafts weighing from 22-25kg carcass weight generally making from $151 to $170 and averaging $165.

The next weight class at 20-22kg averaged $150.

The NLRS said most buyers were working on skin values of $9 to $10 off the best sucker lambs, which meant in carcass terms the lambs were costing an estimated 650c-680c/kg.

Quoted rates out of Corowa were similar, although it had some heavier early drop suckers which sold to $189.

There weren’t a lot of lightweight suckers sold out of the south, with the few at Bendigo making from $96 to $113.

It is too early yet for restocker interest, and these lambs sold for processing for MK export orders.

The supply of old season lambs is starting to slow and quality remains very mixed. The NLRS said this affected price results.

However, these old season lambs were also significantly dearer on Monday, with rates for the better pens averaging over 620c/kg as prices for the good tradeweight pens made from $140 to $165.

The mutton market also opened on a stronger note this week. The mutton price indicator is now above 400c/kg carcass weight and at Bendigo the NLRS said the better tradeweight Merino sheep were making an estimated 435c/kg.

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