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Lambs up $20-$30, Sheep steady at Bendigo

  • By: "Prime" Ag News
  • Feb 18, 2020

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Yarding - 26,600 (-400).
Lambs - 22,000 (+3000).
Sheep - 4600 (-3400).

There was a modest lift in lamb numbers to 22,000; however, the dearer rates for mutton in the past week seemed to have little influence on sheep supply with just 4,600 yarded. Competition for lambs intensified across all weights and grades, creating price gains of $20 to $30/head compared to a week ago. The sale did have some very good heavy lambs off grain feeders, which were sold in big runs of up to 330 head in a pen. Once again the supply of nice trade weight lambs was very limited, with the better presented lambs generally weighing above 24kg cwt. The bulk of the good processing lambs made over $200/head. But it was was small and light weight lambs which stole the show at very high carcase price rates, with restockers outbidding processors and restricting numbers going to MK kill orders.

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The sale reached a top of $312 and there was four pens of extra heavy shorn lambs, up around 36kg cwt, which made over $300/head. Most export lambs made from $260 to $290/head. Any heavy lambs over 24kg cwt easily made over $200, with the good runs of 24-30kg cwt lambs averaging $262, followed by the 24-26kg pens at $235/head. The shortage of good quality medium domestic lambs pushed the best pens with reasonable fat cover above $195/head. On a carcase basis the sale had a base of around 900c/kg cwt. Processors also gave strong support to Merino lambs showing shape and finish with the best trade weights making from $200 to $230/head. The selection of light weight lambs was very mixed, but competition was keen with the majority of sales making from $120 to $170/head to hit very high carcase estimates.

It was a smaller and plainer yarding of sheep, with fewer good lines of Merinos and crossbred ewes available. After recording a price surge last week, the market settled to trend at similar levels. Heavy crossbred ewes sold from $200 to a top of $278 to again average close to$250/head. Heavy Merinos in higher value skins sold to $243, with most sales making from $160 to $200/head. A reasonable run of mutton was estimated as costing processors from 680c to 720c/kg cwt.

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