The swift rise of mutton was the high spot of sheep and lamb sales in the past week.
Good price gains were recorded at most major selling centres in Victoria and NSW to push rates back over 670 cents a kilogram carcase weight for quality lines of crossbred and Merino ewes.
In dollar a head sense, there has been a wave of sales above $220 for the of extra heavy Merino wethers and ewes, with the lead pens of heavy crossbred ewes selling more than $240 per head.
Promising signs of strong demand and high prices
At Hamilton, Merino wethers sold to $230 and big crossbred ewes at Wagga Wagga, NSW, recorded a top price of $295.
The main runs of heavy Merino ewes at Wagga from 30 kilograms cwt- plus sold from $210 to $260 to average $241, with the National Lives Stock Reporting Service quoting an average just on 673c/kg.
There were market estimates as high as 730c/kg in the past seven days.
The strong results were connected to sheep supply and reports mutton is still one of the most competitive proteins on the world stage, with export demand still very robust.
A breakdown of prices by state showed Victoria and NSW had the highest returns, well ahead of South Australia and Western Australia.
Meanwhile, the lamb market is still trying to find its base leading into autumn with varied price results in the past week.
There were mixed signals from the lamb market in early trading this week, with supermarkets and key exporters either returning to the sale after short absence or absent.
Prices begun the week just holding firm or dearer for the best domestic lambs in short skins, while most plainer bred and needing more finish showed fluctuating trends depending on who was bidding.
Market shortage contributing to a rise in demand
Feedback suggests that fewer quality slaughter lambs are coming out of Victoria at present with a lot lacking weight and more store types.
What shows up in the data too is a shift to heavier lambs kill weights, with agents reporting producers are taking lambs to bigger weights to help create a margin from high priced summer store stock.
At Bendigo on Monday quality remained mixed with trade lambs in short supply compared to the plainer bred and drier types.
Prices generally were $5 to $12 dearer with domestic trade lambs showing the most improvement.
Trade lambs made from $174 to $211 averaging 858c/kg cwt.
Merino lambs sold strongly for good heavy trade bodies to average 790c/kg cwt,
Meanwhile, heavy lambs gained $7 to $12 selling at $215 to $288 while big lambs more than 30kg cwt averaged 802c/kg.