The calendar has rolled over into a new decade and let's hope it's a money making one.
The last week of lamb markets gave us a taste of what might be to come, with lamb prices finishing the year solidly.
It was a challenging 2019 after winter and spring failed to deliver, typified by marginal rainfall for many regions of Victoria, SA and NSW.
The poor seasonal conditions left stock and crops facing a hard-hitting finish.
As winter rains were scarce and spring conditions fizzled, summer loomed all too quickly for most producers, who opted to offload unfinished stock due to limited feed and water.
Bendigo, Wagga Wagga, NSW, and Dubbo, NSW, lamb markets were a testament to the large numbers of plainer conditioned lambs having been sold.
Thankfully confidence and interest remains strong from opportunistic feedlots and restockers, with good numbers of secondary lambs to re-enter the market down the track.
After the three-week Christmas break, 2020 lamb and sheep markets have so far produced rewarding results.
Demand has been strong for trade lambs while export lambs have seen a big lift to pre-Christmas values.
Sheep prices have continued to strengthen on the back of limited supplies.
This was obvious at Dubbo on Monday when trade lambs sold $3-$5 dearer, while heavy lamb rates remained unchanged.
The better trade lambs averaged 753 cents a kilogram.
The sheep market opened on a positive note with National Livestock Reporting Service data showing significantly stronger trends with sheep rates bouncing $20-$26 to average 535-623c/kg cwt.
The seasonal shortage of top quality domestic lambs gave the market an edge at Corowa, NSW, with prices jumping $10.
Another market to experience stronger demand at the top end was Bendigo, where a few exceptional quality pens of extra heavy lambs made from $175-$220.
Trade lamb prices strengthened and the better rates, however, were for select pens of lambs which suited supermarkets and choice orders.
Trade lambs sold from $168-$178, to average 717c/kg cwt.
At Ballarat on Tuesday, shorn lambs generally sold above pre-Christmas levels, while woolly lamb rates fluctuated depending on skin quality and weight.
Heavy export lambs recorded a top price of $239, while other sales fetched from $170-$224.
Trade lambs were keenly sought, selling from $144-$178 to average 719c/kg cwt.
Restockers and feeder buyers were back in the game after the holiday break paying from $95-$191.
The mutton market gathered pace, heavy crossbred ewes reached a top price of $206, while Merino mutton made out to $196.