AuctionsPlus sheep and lamb supply rises to new 2022 high

AUCTIONSPLUS sheep and lamb listings were up 74 per cent last week to close at 147,588, the biggest ever commercial offering in 2022.

AuctionsPlus said confidence in the sheep and lamb market was tested as the large supply was met by selective buying and softer clearance rates.

After-sales negotiations played a key role in boosting overall clearance rates in the 48 hours after the commercial sales last Tuesday. AuctionsPlus said the ongoing effects of widespread flooding in key sheep and lamb regions had a major impact on demand, with prices in most categories down on the previous week.

National Lamb Sale listings totaled 93,552 head, representing 63% of the weekly offering. The bulk of the bids on offer across the two sales came from the southern regions with South West Victoria offering 18,844 head, followed by lower South East SA with 10,032 head. On the other hand, purchases were dominated by NSW regions, with the Riverina buying 15,661 head, followed by SW Victoria (5,709 head) and Central West NSW (5,278 head). Increased supply only saw prices for the sheep and lamb categories rise week-on-week, while clearing rates fell across all categories.

The number of crossbred lambs increased by 115%, with 54,726 lambs offering the largest number of lamb categories. Prices across the category averaged $129/head last week, with clearance rates feeling the effects of a softer market – reaching just 14% at the immediate close of sales. After the auction, clearance rates for the category rose to 38% in post-sale negotiations. 540 White Suffolk/Merino cross breed store lambs weighing 41kg from Kingscote, SA returned $138/head to a buyer in SA.

Merino air lamb sacrifice saw 19,223 head on the list – a 121% increase. Crossbred lambs experienced similar market sentiment, with prices down $1 last week to average $114/head. Clearance rates reached a reduced 22% at the immediate close of the sale and rose to 38% over the next 48 hours. 700 Merino lambs weighing 45kg from Conargo, NSW sold to a buyer in Victoria for $131.

A smaller supply of merino ewes compared to other major lamb categories helped lift buyer competition, with 2,922 head averaging $191/head – up $85, while clearance was 51%. Two lines of 350 67kg Merino ewe lambs from Birchip, Victoria returned $260 and $256/head respectively to buyers in SA.

First cross ewes increased by 78% to 11,662. Clearance rates followed the trend in other categories, ending the auction at 26% low, then rising to 40% after post-sale negotiations. Prices for the category ranged from $139-$314/head to average $222 – up $9 from last week. Two lines of 210 Border Leicester/Merino ewe lambs weighing 47kg lwt from Narromine, NSW returned $296/head to NSW buyers.

Shear lambs recorded the biggest weekly increase in the lamb category listings with 2,038 entries, up 228%. The sharp increase in listings was well absorbed as clearance rates reached 88% – the highest clearance across all categories. Prices ranged from $98 to $169, with an average of $149/head – $19. Two rows of 600 Dorper stores in Augathella, Queensland, sold 47kg lambs for $169 and $168, with Queensland buyers remaining.

Offered across two sales, last week’s National Sheep offering was up 35% to 52,308 head. Sales on offer across 302 lots recorded an increase in the number of combined ewes, which accounted for 7% of the total offer – up from 2% last week. An even spread of bids across NSW, Victoria and SA saw Central West NSW the top listing region with 7,048 head, followed by West Pastoral Area SA (6,900 head) and Northwest Victoria (5,189 head). Southern regions dominated the top purchasing regions, with the NSW Riverina providing 4,401 head, followed by Lower South East SA with 3,118 head.

SM Shedding ewes dominated the combined sheep lists for the week, with a 732% increase in listings to a total of 8,185. Reaching 28% clearance, the bid averaged $239/head – down $77 from last week. From Glendambo, SA, April/July 22 600 White Dorper ewe lambs, 32kg, mated with station Dorper and White Dorper rams, returned $200/head to buyers in NSW.

Unpaired ewes continue to make up the majority of the sheep offering, accounting for 44% of the total ewes and lambs. NSM Merino sheep hoggets again saw the biggest offer, at 12,012 head – flat on the previous week. Prices for the category averaged $207/head, back $23, and clearance rates reached 19%. Returning the top price for the category was a 110 Poll Merino sheep from Inglewood, Victoria. Sheep aged 17 months and weighing 63 kg sold for $302 a head – $52 above reserve.

The number of NSM Merino sheep increased by 78% to 11,194. Clearance rates rose to 42% after after-market talks, which showed an increase from the 28% total clearance recorded on Tuesday. Prices for the category averaged $198/head – down $39 from last week. 215 Merino ewes weighing 58kg, two to four years old from Tambar Springs, NSW returned $200 per head.

The list of unattached Composite/other breed sheep increased by 175% to 6,782. With clearance rates following a similar trend to other non-connected categories – from 17% at the close of the sale to 63% within 48 hours of the sale. Prices for the category averaged $218/head – $3 higher than last week.

Source – AuctionsPlus.

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