The first few weeks of winter have commenced in stark contrast to autumn, dumping rain throughout Victoria, and taking with it a lift in producer confidence.
Producers who were fortunate to sell at physical markets last week were paid premium winter prices.
By the end of last week, the standout features of all this was seen at Wagga Wagga, NSW, where prices jumped $12-$15 a head across trade and heavy lamb categories.
A feature of the Wagga market was heavy lambs, when buyers clashed on pens over 30 kilograms carcase weight, which resulted in a new national record being set at $354.20, for pen of lambs weighing approximately 48kg cwt.
Buyers suggested the lift in trade rates was not a one-off event at Wagga, owing to the limited supplies of contract lambs and diminishing numbers of well-finished types sold at physical markets.
The better-finished shorn lambs smashed through the 1000 cents a kilogram barrier, topping at 1034c/kg cwt.
A drop in supply at most markets in opening sales on Monday meant prices for trade lambs strengthened.
At Bendigo, trade lamb quality continued to be the big determinant in price, with the better-finished types selling firm to $16 dearer, making from $180-$244, averaging 928c/kg.
There wasn't the strong sentiment for heavy lambs this week which saw rates ease $1-$4, to average 950c/kg cwt.
It was a mixed yarding of sheep and despite this prices remained robust.
Light sheep were firm to $2 dearer, while medium weights gained $4.
Heavy sheep lifted $5-$17 to average 602c/kg cwt.
Lamb prices continued to strengthen at Ballarat on Tuesday under pressure of the mixed quality offering of 13,716 lambs and just over 4900 sheep.
Prices over most trade categories were unchanged to slightly dearer, with the better trade weights presenting with good finish, making from $178-$245.
Heavy four score lambs generally sold to a dearer trend of $4, selling between $235-$330 to average 940c/kg cwt.
Restocker and lotfeeder demand was steady for well-bred secondary lambs which sold from $148-$215.
It was a mixed offering of sheep, with heavy drafts only moderately supplied.
Many heavy drafts of ewe mutton showed a lift of $20, making from $150-$196.
Light and medium sheep sold to fluctuating price trends with rates generally up $3-$7 averaging 575-615c/kg.