The main eastern states lamb indicators for trade and heavy lambs fell at the end of last week and in this week's early trading.
Heavy lambs tumbled the most, losing 9 cents a kilogram, while trades slipped back 5c/kg carcase weight.
It still sits at the highest premiums over the same time last year where for example trade lambs are selling 70c/kg higher year-on-year, while heavy lambs are resting 60c/kg above last year's rates.
The limited availability of Merino lambs lifted the indicator 19c/kg higher week-on-week and the decrease in restocking lambs through saleyards has started to make an impact, with the national indicator above trade weights since the beginning of October, up 20c/kg to rest at 783c/kg cwt.
Mutton has been the greatest performer gaining 24c/kg to rest at 564c/kg cwt.
The unrelenting need for protein from China has had a significant impact on heavy sheep categories.
The National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) quoted quality for sheep and lambs as mostly very good across most of the southern markets in the past week.
The NLRS reported a lift in supply at Bendigo with just over 17,600 lambs, while sheep numbers jumped up to 9900.
The market opened on a solid note with prices generally tracking firm to slightly easier for lambs showing dryness in the skin.
The better prices were for quality drafts that suited domestic and export orders.
Trade lambs fetched from $138-$169 a head, while heavier drafts, 22-24kg, sold from $170-$185 and averaged 739c/kg cwt, however there were some lambs which broke the 750c/kg cwt barrier several times throughout the market.
Bidding for heavy lambs was weaker over most weight categories.
The better-finished 4 score lambs made from $185-$232 to average 729c/kg cwt.
Lighter weight lambs needing more finish sold to similar rates of the previous sale making from $106-$138.
Immature light lambs to the restockers were tough to sell averaging $94.
The heavier secondary lambs sold to cautious bidding from restockers and lot feeders, with prices easing back a few dollars.
Well-bred secondary store lambs with weight and frame fetched from $109-$164.
At Ballarat on Tuesday, the market started to lose its consistency of past weeks as it tries to find a new floor price, as more new season lambs hit southern selling centres.
Heavy lambs sold to erratic competition from processors, while TB White & Sons agents of Ballarat stepped up paying from $185-$209.
Heavy lambs to slaughter sold $10 cheaper making from $188-$250.
Trade lamb rates weakened by $3-$4, selling at $154-$190, to average 733c/kg cwt.
Heavy mutton was firm to a few dollars dearer, averaging 626c/kg.