The lamb market is still trying to find a floor in price as the industry starts to move into the first month of spring.
On the flipside the mutton market has hit huge head winds, with only limited buying competition for most sheep categories, which caused price drops of up to $25.
Rates for the best trade weight lambs at saleyards improved slightly as the magnificent seasonal conditions continue to present stock in genuine three and four score slaughter condition..
Data collected by the National Livestock Reporting Service from key centres such as Wagga Wagga, Corowa and Dubbo, NSW, and Bendigo had the lead runs for trade lambs consistently making from 650c to 680c/kg last week.
In per head terms it equates to the good 22 to 24-kilogram carcase lambs at $155 to $168.
The market, however, still has flat spots when supermarket competition drops off through a sale resulting in a price dip of up to $5.
Border woes cause headaches for buyers
In opening markets this week, it was the tale of different outcomes across two states with new COVID-19 border restrictions making it impossible for Victorian buyers to enter NSW.
It meant at the Corowa, NSW, border several lamb buyers were turned away, unable to attend the market having been refused entry on the morning of the sale.
The market did struggle to find traction, with the reduced buying group and bigger numbers of suckers available to processors.
Competition for trade lambs fluctuated and prices were firm to a few dollars cheaper for 20-24kg carcase weight
The bulk of the trade lambs made from $130-$164 to average 667 cents a kilogram.
There was little price change for heavy new season lambs.
Heavy lambs sold to $184 with the heavier weights selling from $166-$180 averaging 564c/kg cwt.
Mutton prices headed south with rates $7-$12 cheaper.
Heavy mutton made from $146-$166 while trade sheep sold at $138-$145.
The lamb market at Bendigo showed a more positive trend in early trade with price spikes of up to $15 for trade lambs before settling to a less frantic pace.
Trade lambs 21-24kg improved $2-$4 making from $151-$176 averaging 685c/kg cwt.
Heavy new season lambs gained $9-$10 making from $160-$204 to average 653c/kg cwt.
The national price average for trade weight lambs slipped 2c ending trading on Monday to sit at 675c/kg carcase weight.
Meanwhile, the mutton market remains affected by a glut of supply in storage which showed up in a price correction of $10-$25.
Mutton averaged 460c to 520c/kg cwt.
- Leann Dax is an NLRS market reporter.