Lamb prices continue to be a mixed bag as summer keeps pushing out higher numbers of plainer-trade types and lighter-weight lambs.
While there were some good prices paid at saleyards for heavy trade lambs weighing between 22 and 24 kilograms carcase weight in the past week, bigger offerings of more than 20,000 at some selling centres dragged rates back.
Adding to the mixed outcomes was some unexpected price spikes for grain-assisted lambs weighing more than 30kg cwt with heavy lambs 30kg cwt and above lifting $5 and more at some selling centres.
The Eastern States Heavy Lamb Indicator lifted 8 cents a kilogram to sit at 815c/kg while trade lambs dipped 30c/kg to 820c/kg cwt.
Restocking in full swing across the east
The one gauge which has forged ahead is the restocking indicator opening strongly at 254c/kg cwt above the same week last year to sit at 954c/kg cwt.
After good summer rainfall restockers have capitalised on available feed and have increased stocking rates, particularly those opportunistic feedlot farmers who can now background lambs on lucerne stands before moving them into a feedlot situation.
The lamb market is yet to settle from the drop-off in processor demand at selling centres.
Prices continued to be mixed with data collected by the National Livestock Reporting Service showing price increases in NSW while Victoria rates eased across all weight categories.
How the prime markets played out
Farmers have reacted to the cheaper trends by reducing numbers in the auction system with supplies dropping by a third at Bendigo and Corowa, NSW, on Monday.
However, it hasn't been enough to stabilise the markets, causing erratic prices and generally weaker trends where numbers are higher.
At Bendigo on Monday competition for heavy lambs was softer with rates $4-$6 cheaper for lambs weighing more than 30kg cwt.
The market reached a top of $277 to average 772c/kg cwt.
Price fluctuations were recorded over the general run of trade lambs depending on breed and fat cover.
The overall result was shorn heavy trade lambs $4 easier making from $178-$215 to average 818c/kg cwt.
Most saleyards have been reporting the strongest demand is for good runs of well finished shorn trade lambs around 22-24kg.
At Corowa in a smaller yarding of 9282 lambs the trade market did not disappoint, with the top drafts lifting $5 making from $187-$215 to average 866c/kg, with some sales close to 900c/kg cwt.
The mutton market also lost some ground easing between $4 and $6 to sell at 580c/kg to 619c/kg cwt this week.
- Leann Dax is an NLRS market reporter.
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