A slight reduction in lamb numbers again down to 12,000 head, while mutton numbers declined to just 2,000. Lamb quality was average to very good over the lead runs still coming in off-grain and weighing above 24kg cwt. All the regular buyers attended, but some processors remained quiet and only purchased limited numbers. The market was dearer, with some good price gains of at least $20/head recorded over domestic and heavy trade lambs sized from 20 to 27kg cwt. Price improvements over the extra heavy export lambs above 30kg cwt were more modest at $5 to $10/head depending on weight. A talking point of the sale was the widening carcase price spread between big export lambs compared to more nicely weighted pens suiting supermarket and domestic orders.
Heavy export lambs over 30kg cwt made from $250 to $299 to average around $270/head at an estimated 780c to 800c/kg cwt. Carcase rates then went on an upward plane across the domestic lamb categories. The heavy 26 to 29kg cwt lambs sold from $222 to $260 an an estimated 850c and the best 24 to 26kg cwt lambs, made from $220 to $232/head to be costing around 880c/kg cwt. The neatest 22 to 24kg cwt pens, made from $200 to $228/head to be trending above 900c/kg cwt. Any fresh crossbred lambs in the 20 to 21kg range made premiums of 950c/kg cwt and higher with very few available. Secondary crossbred lambs in long woolly skins sold below these benchmark rates, with buyers showing an obvious preference for shorn lambs. Merino lambs sold to stronger competition, a stand-out pen of export weights off-grain reached $250/head. Most trade weight Merino lambs sold from $190 to $222/head to trend above 800c/kg cwt. There were not many lightweight lambs to suit restocking or MK processors, with the better lines making from $130 to $168/head.
It was a small yarding of mutton sold at similar rates to a week ago, with not all exporters operating. Big crossbred ewes sold from $200 to $230; heavy Merino wethers sold to $230 and Merino ewes made to $230/head. The better lines of mutton were estimated at 640c to 700c/kg cwt. Any of the lower carcase estimates tended to be for odd pen lots of a few head or extra heavy sheep.