A wet two weeks in both NSW and Victoria has met with mixed support from buyers in both lamb and sheep markets.
Lamb numbers in southern Victoria are driving higher as Ballarat and Hamilton begin their selling season in earnest.
The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator was impacted by higher numbers at southern selling centres as prices dropped 12 cents a kilogram over week to 838c/kg carcase weight.
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This is despite a few more export and domestic companies joining the fray last week.
The heavy lamb indicator slipped 13c/kg to 859c/kg cwt.
The lamb market this week began with the wobbles against the building up of stock being sold out of southern Victoria.
There were 14,890 new season lambs yarded at Hamilton on Monday, for their second split sale this spring.
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Agents were expecting a big offering on Wednesday, the main selling day, as the spring flush ramps up.
Numbers in the north were lower by rain making it difficult for trucks to excess producers' facilities
There were 17,000 lambs this week at Bendigo, and 6000 at Corowa in southern NSW, while Dubbo yarded 10,900.
Bendigo's yarding on Monday was notably plainer with quality heavy lambs in short supply.
This consisted of plainer types and lambs showing signs of dryness in the skin.
The market discounted plainer types with rates dipping $5 to $20 a head compared to last week.
Trade lambs eased $5 averaging 847c/kg cwt.
One pen of heavy export lambs reached $290 while the shorn portion topped at $279 for an estimated 30kg.
The bulk of unshorn and shorn lambs averaged 840c/kg cwt.
Store lambs fell $9 on account of plainer quality prices and ranged from $152 to $170 for weight and frame.
Mutton took a hit with rates slipping $10 to $28, with heavy sheep falling back under 600c/kg to average 593c/kg.
Limited supplies at Corowa continue to hold the market together with only a slight move in rates.
Apart from low numbers, quality issues are now a pressure point for meat buyers with a lot of lambs presenting in feed or store condition rather than properly finished.
The bulk of the sales to domestic processors for any finished types sat between 850c/kg to 866c/kg.
Extra heavy lambs sold from $226 to $248.
Meanwhile, the sheep market rallied $9 to $19 with heavy ewe mutton averaging 624c/kg cwt.
At Ballarat numbers swelled to 40,577 lambs and 14,554 sheep.
Trade lambs in central Victoria were unchanged while big heavy lambs sold slightly dearer, recording a top price of $300 to average 890c/kg cwt.
- Leann Dax is an NLRS market reporter.