The lamb market is moving towards record prices again, with the auction system finishing last week on a very strong note.
The headline act was at Wagga Wagga, NSW, in a bigger yarding of more than 42,000 lambs and 8950 sheep.
The saleyard's office reported a new gross high of $11 million dollars .
The average price per head across the yarding was a whopping $226.
Demand was unrelenting from exporters and the sale consistently sold lambs 30 kilograms carcase weight and above from $300-$335.
The average carcase weight price of the extra heavy lambs ranged from 880-958 cents a kilogram cwt.
Lockdown hampers lamb supply
Trade lambs were again in limited supply and major processors noted demand had lifted due to coronavirus lockdowns.
Rates for trade lambs topped at $251 with the 22-24kg category averaging 980c/kg cwt.
At this time of year, lighter and plainer lambs do not often benefit from restocker competition.
It showed up in the stats with the bulk purchased by processors to average 904c/kg cwt.
More lambs were available to bidders at all major centres this week due to a significant lift in rates the previous week.
The biggest increase in numbers was at Corowa, NSW, with numbers increasing by more than 2000 head.
Numbers also increased at Bendigo with agents mustering 13,000 lambs and 6000 sheep.
Buyer competition intensified at the sale across all weights and grades, led by stronger export competition which pushed heavy lambs $16-$18 a head dearer.
Meat & Livestock Australia's National Livestock Reporting Service said eight pens of big lambs sold from $300-$323 on estimated weights of 30-34kg, pushing the average carcase weight price to 900c/kg cwt.
There were numerous sales from $240-$290 to trend as high as 960c/kg cwt.
The limited supply of quality trade lambs forced domestic processors into 24-28kg cwt lambs.
However, the main line of 22-24kg improved $12 and averaged 954c/kg cwt.
At Corowa and Dubbo, NSW, lamb prices were on fire and the Dubbo sale was the standout market with prices improving $25 across the board.
The big movers were trade lambs with plenty of sales above 1000c/kg.
The main run of lambs 22-24kg sold from $213-$258 to average 998c/kg cwt.
Extra heavy trends were $25 dearer and averaged 930-966c/kg cwt.
The Ballarat lamb market on Tuesday was basking in big money, with super-sized heavy lambs recording a top price of $340 to average $27 dearer.
Trade lambs surged $20 to average 993c/kg cwt.
- Leann Dax is an NLRS market reporter.