Whitefaces lead the way up
TASMANIAN weaner-calf sales continued last week with Elders holding its second sale at Powranna on Wednesday.
It featured the best line-up of Hereford calves seen in this state for some time and this, added to the usual drafts of Angus steers and heifers, made for an excellent quality draft of weaners.
Some steers met a slightly cheaper market although most heifer prices improved from the recent sales.
The best steers made $1040 to $1410 each with most averages around 310c/kg to 330c/kg, medium weights $840 to $1050 or 330c/kg and light types $680 to $940 or 325c/kg liveweight. The best heifers made $800 to $1200 each or 280c/kg to 300c/kg while light females made $640 to $770 per head or 295c/kg live.
With some good follow-up rains through much of the state it is possible that the last few weaner sales could create some strong interest.
With the Easter break, there were no markets on Monday and so smaller numbers overall in the eastern states saleyards.
Lamb markets have held to recent rates with most averaging between 600c/kg and 630c/kg carcass weight, although a few sales of very heavy lambs averaged 580c/kg to 590c/kg.
We are in an interesting situation as far as lamb supply and prices are concerned, with numbers appearing to holding up pretty well and most prices holding firm around 600c/kg.
Forward contracts between 630c/kg and 660c/kg for the winter would indicate that processors expect prices to hold up through the late autumn and winter months.
The very dry conditions through Victoria and much of NSW mean the quality is suffering and of course numbers are flowing into the yards and direct to the works. A good follow-up rain in Victoria would change things pretty quickly.
On the other hand, mutton prices are continuing on a high with strong competition from all major exporters.
The unusual part is that very heavy sheep are making as much per kilo as medium and light sheep, which is very unusual.
At Hamilton in Victoria on Wednesday there were 11,070 mutton penned and heavy crossbred ewes made $112 to $165, heavy Merino wethers $128 to $158 while medium weight ewes made $75 to $110 each or 420c/kg. There were plenty of wethers quoted at 450c/kg and better.
It will be interesting to see what happens to mutton prices over the next three months when the numbers become scarce.
Cattle prices interstate are in a holding pattern with quality causing prices to be cheaper than producers had been hoping. Slaughter numbers are higher than last year in Victoria and NSW with the dry said to be the reason, although the fire at Thomas Foods plant at Murray Bridge would also be having an effect on kill numbers.
As is usually the case, there are some interesting weeks in front of us.