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Yarding - 17,000 (+1000)
Lambs - 12,500 (+2500)
Sheep - 4500 (-1500)
There was a modest increase in numbers to 12,500 head as the turn-off of new season lambs slowly builds. About half the yarding comprised of young unshorn lambs, although a considerable percentage of this stock was made up of lighter store lambs sent down from southern NSW. The actual supply of well-finished slaughter lambs remained limited. The market was dearer with additional gains of $10 to $30/head recorded for any export and trade lambs that showed reasonable finish. A shortage of export weight stock pushed the heaviest old lambs to a top of $357 and heavy new season lambs to $306, which is the first time this saleyard has sold young lambs above $300/head.
New season lambs were keenly supported. Two pens of export weighted young lambs made $304 and $306/head. Most of the lead drafts of young lambs were in the heavy trade weight categories and sold from $240 to $290/head. The best presented pens of young lambs in the 24 to 26kg cwt category averaged $277/head to average just over 1,000c/kg cwt. The fresher conditioned medium trade weight young lambs made from $210 to $230/head. The bulk of the young lambs to processors were estimated as costing from 950c to 1,050c/kg cwt. One agency offered some big lines of crossbred and Merino store lambs out of the southern Riverina regions of Hay, Deniliquin and Barooga.
Offered in runs of up to 900 head, they mostly sold from $140 to $179 returning to the paddock, with very small and immature Merino lambs making from $119 to $130/head. There was store buying activity from Ballarat, Swan Hill and the local area.
Any old season lambs with weight and reasonable fat cover received strong support from meat buyers. Export lambs sold to $357/head with sales estimated around 1,000c/kg, making them the highest price points this market has recorded for such heavy stock. The main run of heavy old lambs weighing 26 to 30kg cwt, sold from $275 to $296/head to also reach an average cost of 1,000c/kg cwt. The only part of the sale which had some flat spots was secondary trade weight lambs that lacked finish and decent skins, with some categories cheaper selling from $165 to $195/head.
Competition for sheep intensified, with a NSW exporter back operating after skipping the market last week due to COVID-19. Sheep prices generally lifted by $10 to $30/head. A pen of super-sized crossbred ewes topped at $296, while most heavy mutton made from $180 to $250/head for an estimated range of 650c to 720c/kg cwt.