Lamb and sheep sales have continued to deliver excellent prices for producers.
Heavy lamb prices cracked the 800 cents a kilogram carcase weight mark with ease last week in NSW.
A shortage of finished heavy lambs is now well and truly coming home to roost.
In all the uncertainty across the globe, it is unknown where heavy lamb prices will land as we move further into spring.
The big flush of Victorian lambs yet to hit the markets will be telling.
Prices up but still below year-ago levels
Last week the eastern states heavy lamb indicator reached 755c carcase weight - up a massive 61c on the week prior but still behind 47c than this time last year.
Processors believe the high heavy lamb price was driven by two major factors.
NSW being hardest hit by drought leaving it fewer finished lambs available, and Victoria yet to flush the enormous supply levels regularly seen at Ballarat and Hamilton.
At Wagga Wagga, NSW, last week heavy lambs 30kg carcase weight and above finished on grain regularly sold from $230 to $284 to average 787c/kg cwt.
New season lambs 30kg cwt plus topped at $260, while 26-30kg sold at $214-$243 averaging 800c/kg.
Exporters continually clashed with domestic buyers for lamb weighing 24-26kg.
This meant prices surged $30 to average 837c/kg cwt.
A run of lambs 24-26kg sold at $204-$229.
Heavy trade lambs averaged 850c/kg, recording a top price of $216 by TB White & Sons Ballarat.
A few other local restockers returned to the fray paying from $152-$202.
Mutton was again a highlight with heavy sheep surging ahead by more than $50.
Behind the lift were reports of tighter sheep supplies in NSW following some rain.
The push came from a northern processor for big first cross ewes which hit $254.
Merino ewes made to $251 to average 670c/kg cwt.
Heavy wethers with no skin value reached $256.
Trade sheep were in limited numbers on a carcase weight basis any good lines of ewe mutton were regularly quoted at 579-613c/kg cwt.
Promising signs at Bendigo market
The lamb market has recorded another big start to the trading week with prices rallying at Bendigo due in part to the labour day holiday in NSW.
The sharp spike on prices late last week drew out 36,000 young lambs to make it the biggest yarding so far this spring, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.
Prices for good domestic lambs jumped $12-$20 to average 850c/kg cwt.
Extra heavy lambs were limited despite the influx of supplies selling from $240-$259.
A lot of lambs weighed 24-27kg cwt which made from $190- $225.
- Leann Dax is an NLRS market reporter.
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