The stellar price run for lamb appears to have halted by a drop in demand from processors and restockers.
Rate falls of $10-$15 a head hit the market late last week, with carcase weights winding back from 830 cents a kilogram to average about 750-790c/kg carcase weight, a five-month low.
The weaker results have been linked to reduced processor demand, as they become fully booked with lambs direct to the abattoirs.
Producers have had an increased presence in physical markets, which is underpinning prices of well-bred young secondary lambs.
Restockers are using some caution, however, with prices fluctuating at all markets.
Despite rain in the Riverina, restocker confidence at Wagga Wagga, NSW, dropped and as a consequence the better-bred lightweight lambs sold to cheaper trends of $5-$10, making from $88-$121.
Secondary lambs with weight and frame sold to fewer restockers and feedlots, selling at $144-$177.
Trade lambs were cheaper as the market dipped for the first time in many weeks.
The best trade lambs still broke the $200 barrier but most sales were well under this mark.
All pens of well finished fresh lambs averaged 750-780c/kg.
Buyers limited by price generally paid from $150-$185, a cheaper trend of $10-$15.
There was a decline of $12 for heavy lambs even with the limited supplies, with heavier pens making $201-$269 averaging 770c/kg cwt.
Lamb values are being pressured by good supplies of quality lambs at markets, with Bendigo and Corowa, NSW, generally a few dollars cheaper for trade and heavy export lambs.
The general trend for young trade lambs at Bendigo was $5-$8 cheaper, selling from $145-$196 to average 783c/kg cwt.
The supply of heavy lambs was limited, making $184-$234, averaging 785c/kg cwt.
There were more store orders in place, and any big lines of young well-bred lambs continued to sell strongly, selling from $115-$166.
The mutton market displayed variable price trends with heavy crossbred ewes selling anywhere from $4-$6 dearer, while trade sheep values weakened averaging $134, which equated to 605c/kg cwt.
Ballarat lamb market showed a moderate increase in supplies with 22,909 lambs and 8236 sheep, as the spring selling season begins to gain momentum.
Quality was very good throughout the offering and competition was weaker
While young extra heavy lambs did reach $228, most trade weight drafts dipped $8 making from $140-$196 to average 734c/kg cwt.
Secondary lambs to turnout had better competition and made from $88-$140, with lamb fattening specialists paying up to $218.
Generally, mutton was unchanged to cheaper in places averaging 590-623c/kg cwt.