The lamb market threw out strong price signals late last week, with numbers, weather conditions and restocker support influencing robust outcomes.
The excellent weather conditions in parts of Victoria appear to be having some effect, with restockers upping the ante amid forecast of more rain to follow.
Store lambs attracted a big following at Wagga Wagga, NSW, with the buying power generated from Ballarat, Echuca, Wycheproof, and a Forbes, NSW, feedlot, rates lifted $5 a head for well-bred types, with buyers paying from $144-$182 for weight and frame.
Lightweight types sold at $90-$117.
Despite one major domestic processor not operating at the market, stronger competition from the south gave the trade lamb market a boost, with prices climbing $10-$20 as buyers scrambled to secure supplies.
New season lambs gained $14, making from $160-$224 to average 876 cents a kilogram carcase weight.
Heavy young lambs were in shorter supply forcing Fletchers International and Thomas Foods International into a bidding war which rocketed prices up by $20 to average 911c/kg cwt.
The highlight of the sale was extra heavy old lambs where two major export companies stepped up to the plate lifting rates $38.
What followed were numerous sales above $300 to record a top price of $325.
It was the opposite story in the mutton market with all companies operating at significantly lower rate levels.
Heavy mutton fell $40, topping at $180.
The better sales of heavy sheep made from $128-$176 to average 489c/kg cwt.
Light and medium grades fluctuated with skin quality determining prices.
Light and medium grades ranged from $70-$130.
Lamb prices continue to be all over the shop as the market continues to struggle to find a base rate amid the mixed seasonal spring conditions and more lambs sent direct.
The overall patterns of better quality lambs are holding their value while secondary types lacking finish are being discounted.
Overall results in the past week have been mixed depending on sale location and rain.
An example of this was at Corowa, NSW, in opening sales on Monday where prices fell $8-$19, with a major buyer not attending.
Yet at Bendigo where numbers lifted, prices held firm for the better quality, while just off the top type lambs eased.
The Bendigo market on Monday followed on from the stronger trend seen last week in NSW.
Prices for any well-finished, light and medium weight trade lambs tracked $4-$6 dearer to average 809c/kg cwt.
Heavy lambs slipped $4-$5, making from $210-240, averaging 812c/kg cwt.
There was strong interest from restockers who came from Ballarat and Horsham.