Lamb demand has surged again on the back of widespread rain.
The lift in demand for trade lambs has left wholesalers and butchers scrambling for supplies.
Buyers are struggling to source adequate supplies, causing some stellar price spikes for trade lambs of up to $20 a head.
It appears some butchers are paying 15 to 30 per cent more for trade lambs compared to this time last year, with consumers paying only a few dollars more on certain choice cuts.
The price of other proteins, like beef, has also gone up, so consumers are looking for alternative choices such as pork and chicken.
It seems domestic lamb processors are hanging on a knife-edge while trying to stay competitive at the shop counter.
Another element to the shortage of lambs and higher rates are the drought conditions, which prompted an early sell-off of lighter weight lambs needing more finish.
There are reports that 30-40pc of young lambs usually returned to the paddock prior to winter in the north for fattening, exited the system much earlier as lightweight export lambs.
The eastern states' indicators gained traction following more wet weather last week.
Trade and heavy lambs averaged 821-835 cents a kilogram.
At Wagga Wagga, NSW, and Griffith, NSW, markets, trade lambs bounced $8-$15, regularly selling at 855c/kg with spikes of up to 900c/kg carcase weight, to reach a top price of $218.
Heavy lambs gained $10 fetching $229-$318, with lambs over 30kg cwt averaging 838c/kg cwt.
Despite the fall in numbers at Corowa, NSW, there were still some good lambs coming through, with the bulk weighing an estimated 20-30kg cwt.
The reduced yarding spurred the trade lamb market; prices lifted $11-$12, benefited by strong supermarket competition.
Trade lambs fetched $174-$223, to average 899c/kg cwt.
The National Livestock Reporting Service noted bidding for lighter weight secondary lambs was dragged higher by the intense demand from processors, with lambs 16-18kg regularly selling to $178.
Extra heavy lamb numbers dropped, increasing competition from processors on all four score lambs, with the reduced supply pushing prices up by $20.
Extra heavy lambs sold at $236-$304.
At Ballarat, numbers declined and the market topped at $301.
There were fewer pens of extra heavy lambs and these sold at dearer rates of $11-$17, to average 829c/kg cwt.
The trade market lifted $5-$18 returning 894c/kg cwt, with the best hitting 950c/kg cwt.
Mutton prices rallied $14-$38, with crossbred ewes recording a top price of $290.
Medium and heavy grades averaged a massive 657c/kg cwt.