Lamb and sheep numbers offered exclusively on AuctionsPlus declined 18% this week, to 96,723 head. While the large offerings of the previous two weeks were unable to be sustained, prices were generally higher across most categories on a $/head basis this week, despite clearance rates again varying across the categories.
Across the lamb categories, first cross and Merino ewe lambs jumped $20/head and $26/head, from the previous week, averaging $250/head and $209/head, respectively. The comparatively low clearance rate for both categories, at 57% and 51%, respectively, continues to show the value that many of the vendors are attributing to potential future breeders, unwilling to reduce reserve levels to meet buyers. Interestingly, while first cross ewe lamb numbers were back 21% on the previous week, at 8,532 head, the number of merino ewe lambs jumped 79%, to 4,941 head.
In comparison, the clearance rate for Merino wether lambs this week hit 95%, for the 11,484 head offered. With a weekly auction high of $175/head, the average jumped $9/head on the previous week, to $149/head – or around 400c/kg lwt.
With the excellent season in full swing across key regions of southern Australia, the offered supply of Merino ewes with lambs at foot continues to be critically tight – especially when compared to late 2019 and early 2020. Flock rebuilding intentions, combined with very little pressure to sell, continues to see extremely tight offerings, with only one line of 155 head sold this week – averaging $89/head higher, at $363/head. In this instance, it is the absence of supply, or what is not being recorded, that tells the best story of what is occurring in the market.
Interestingly, there was an additional 10,000 head of scanned-in-lamb Merino ewes offered this week, at just over 26,000 head. Again, while prices jumped $15/head, to average $270/head – the clearance rate was only 54%, as many vendors continue to sit patiently, awaiting buyers to lift offers. Nearly 10,000 head of non-station mated Merino ewes were offered this week, with an average clearance rate of 68%. Prices for the week average up slightly, at $229/head, with a market high of $367/head.
Note: all prices reported below are as at the close of reporting of 5pm, Thursday 18th February.
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