LAMB prices dipped at Hamilton today, but Cavendish producers Steve and Jill Lewis were still happy with their prices.With an expectation of achieving $80 for their Poll Dorset-Merino cross lambs, they were pleased to average just over $83 for the 258 sold by Kerr and Co Livestock.
The best 64 of their lambs sold for $88 a head to MC Herd Geelong and were estimated to have a carcase weight of 23 kilograms and a skin value of $15. The 146 seconds made $84 and the 48 thirds were sold fo $74.20.
"You have got to be sensible about it with the job down a bit at the moment."
Mr Lewis said they could still make money out of sucker lambs off Merino mothers at those prices, with a quick turnoff of all the lambs from ewes cutting about six kilograms of wool a year.
"I'm not jumping up and down with joy, but we could be worse off."
The Lewis family runs a Merino ewe flock divided evenly between terminal rams and Merinos from John Huf at Cavendish.
Other producers to achieve $88 for lambs at Hamilton today were K and A Carroll from Yambuk, and RP Morton from Portland.
The National Livestock Reporting Service said buyers paid $5 a head less for light trade weight new season lambs while medium to heavy weights were from $5 to $8 a head cheaper. There were no lamb exporters operating and competition was limited further by some buyers booking lambs for more than one company.
Lamb supply more than doubled to rise by 2508 lambs to 5227 yarded. The NLRS said a further big increase in lamb numbers was expected next week in the proper start to the young lamb season at Hamilton.
Quality was average to good for new season lambs today and plain to good for the few pens of old lambs yarded, the NLRS said. Old lambs averaged $8/head lower with heavy weights, both old and new, selling to restricted competition and being most affected by the cheaper market.
The light trade weight 2 and 3 score new season lambs sold from $52 to $66/head and averaged 290c/kg cwt.
Medium and heavy weight trade 3 and 4 scores made $64 to $88/head and averaged 310c/kg cwt.
There were some heavy weight 4 score pens offered and they sold from $73 to $88/head with costs of between 260c and 310c/kg cwt.
Old trade weight lambs were from $22 to $45 with the heaviest to $52 and all up they averaged $8/head cheaper with an average cost of 190c/kg cwt. The heavy weight hoggets sold firm at $32 to $48/head for the 3 and 4 scores.
The sheep numbers also more than doubled to 861 and prices were similar to last week with a run of 2 to 5 score sheep making 80c to 125c/kg cwt, the NLRS said.
Processors paid $25 to $35 for most sheep with the best sale at $40 and restockers paid to $45.50/head for a pen of heavy weight ewes. Rams made from $12 to $15.60 head to the trade.