Meat & Livestock News

Forbes and Ballarat Saleyards Report: A Surge in Sheep and Lamb Yarding – January 9th, 2024

The graph visually represents the yarding data from the Forbes and Ballarat saleyards on January 9th, 2024. It provides a clear comparison of the total yarding, sheep yarding, and lamb yarding at both locations, illustrating the significant volume of trade that took place in both saleyards on this date.

Forbes Saleyard Analysis – January 9th, 2024

The Forbes saleyard kicked off the year with an impressive total yarding of 24,300, marking an increase of 17,750 from the last sale. Of these, 4,850 were sheep (up by 1,750) and a significant 19,450 were lambs (up by 16,000).

Quality varied, with a fair mix of well-finished lambs alongside plainer types. The market was buoyant, with trade and heavyweight lambs being particularly well-represented. Buyers showed strong interest, leading to a dearer market.

In terms of pricing, trade weight old lambs (20-24kg) fetched between $160 and $213 per head. Heavier lambs (26kg) were priced from $181 to $233, while the extra heavyweights garnered between $186 and $266 per head. Carcass prices averaged 728 to 855c/kg. Heavy hoggets sold within the range of $121 to $165 per head.

Mutton sales primarily consisted of Merinos, showing mixed quality. Prices followed the upward trend: Merino ewes sold between $41 and $120, crossbreds ranged from $43 to $112, and Dorper ewes reached $78 per head. Restocker Merino wethers were priced from $40 to $62 per head.

Ballarat Saleyard Analysis – January 9th, 2024

Ballarat’s first market of the year displayed an even larger total yarding of 42,500, an increase of 7,806 from the previous sale. This comprised 9,300 sheep (up by 4,103) and 33,200 lambs (up by 3,703).

The quality of lambs ranged from plain to excellent, with a notable presence of shorn lambs in excellent condition. The market was robust, with strong competition among buyers, including extra store buyers. Prices for light lambs were up to $30 stronger, while medium and heavy trade lambs sold for $20 to $40 more, occasionally even higher. Heavy shorn export lambs peaked at $298, showing a $30 to $50 increase.

Store buyers were active, purchasing lambs under 18kg for $65 to $148 and those over 18kg for $135 to $164 per head for paddock feeding. Light trade lambs suited for MK orders sold from $98 to $149, averaging 680c to 740c/kg cwt. Young lambs in wool (18 to 24kg) fetched between $134 and $210, while 24 to 26kg lambs sold for $195 to $235. Lambs over 26kg were priced between $228 and $258, averaging 760c to 830c/kg cwt.

Shorn lambs with good fat cover were in high demand, selling exceptionally well. Trade lambs (18 to 24kg) ranged from $150 to $216, while 24 to 26kg lambs sold for $205 to $242, averaging 790c to 850c/kg cwt. Heavy export lambs (26 to 30kg) were priced from $228 to $270, with over 30kg lambs reaching $276 to $298, averaging 840c to 860c/kg cwt. Hoggets varied between $65 and $198 for crossbreds, and $65 to $103 for Merinos.

Sheep quality at Ballarat ranged from plain to very good, with all usual buyers participating in a stronger market. Merino wethers sold for $68 to $95, up by $20. Merino ewes fetched $34 to $91, $15 to $25 dearer than before. Heavy Crossbred ewes were priced from $48 to $90, showing a $20 increase. Most mutton averaged 240c to 280c, with some sales over 300c/kg cwt.


Both Forbes and Ballarat saleyards demonstrated a vibrant start to the year with significant increases in yardings. The market was notably stronger across both venues, with all categories of sheep and lambs experiencing a rise in prices. The presence of a full range of buyers, including restockers and store buyers, indicates a healthy demand in the market. The upward trend in prices, particularly for well-finished lambs and mutton, highlights the robust nature of the market as we begin 2024.