Farm Tender

Lighter Sheep $10 to $20 dearer at Bendigo

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Yarding - 34,000 (+18,500)
Lambs - 24,000 (+13,000)
Sheep - 10,000 (+5500)

A drop in numbers down to 20,000 lambs, 4,000 less. Young unshorn lambs now account for the majority of supply and quality was good to very good, although there was only limited pens of heavyweights above 27kg cwt. On the demand side, domestic competition was the strongest of the buying ranks with some exporter orders still quiet or not operating. The market did fluctuate around quality, with buyers favouring the freshest presented young lambs over plainer types that were drier in the skin. The sale also improved late in the auction. Overall, price results for trade weight and light lambs were within a few dollars either side of last week, while the heaviest lambs were slightly
easier on limited sales. Restocking competition from Ballarat and north-east Victoria helped underpin prices for lambs under 24kg cwt.

The heaviest young lambs over 27kg cwt from $270 to a top of $289/head. Most of the lead pens of crossbred lambs were in the 24kg to 26kg cwt range and sold from $230 to $270 to average $244/head for the fat score 4 run. The best 22kg to 24kg cwt lambs, $214 to $234 to average $226/head. There was a wide carcass spread of 850c to 950c evident across much of the market, however decent lines of processing lambs were estimated as still costing buyers 900c to 920c/kg cwt. Ballarat agents were strong buyers of trade weight lambs to shear, paying from $200 to $237/head. Lighter lambs to the paddock in the 18kg to 20kg range cost $180, the smallest lambs $135 to $155/head.

Less sheep were penned following the hefty price falls of a week ago. Competition for mutton did improve, although prices for the heaviest crossbred ewes only showed slight gains at $170 to a top of $196/head. In comparison, lighter sheep under 24kg cwt gained $10 to $20 at $130 to $155/head and were significantly dearer on a cents per kilogram carcass basis compared to the heaviest ewes.