Quality continues to be the big determinant in lamb prices.
With more plainer lambs currently hitting the market, buyers are becoming very selective on what lambs they purchase.
At sales in recent weeks market fluctuations have taken producers and agents on a rollercoaster ride, particularly across heavy lambs weighing between 26-30 kilograms.
But the best heavy lambs are still making more than $250 a head for the heaviest types.
The eastern states market indicator for lambs finished weaker on Monday and was between 13-18 cents a kilogram lower than a month ago.
The heavy lamb indicator averaged 776c/kg after Monday's markets, with the trade lamb indicator not too far in front at 786c/kg carcase weight.
Merino lambs took a dive falling 40c/kg to sit at 680c/kg cwt.
Restocking lambs recovered some of their recent losses gaining 26c/kg to finish at 860c/kg cwt.
Mutton is still peddling steadily backwards, dipping a further 12c/kg to settle in at 545c/kg cwt.
At Wagga Wagga, NSW, the heaviest crossbred ewes managed to attract a couple of buyers with the best runs making from $200-$240, but these sales were isolated.
At Bendigo on Monday, a bigger yarding of both lambs and sheep kept a lid on rates over all categories.
The National Livestock Reporting Service quoted the best quality trade lambs $10 cheaper, while rare sales met last week's rates.
Prices were unpredictable with buyer competition patchy for all types of trade lambs.
Carcase weights varied greatly averaging between 652-822c/kg.
Lambs weighing 24-26kg were least affected and most of the better-covered lambs sold from $190-$227 to average 777c/kg cwt.
Heavy export lambs weighing 26-30kg cwt were unchanged, averaging 768c/kg cwt.
Big supersized lambs topped at $290 and averaged 743c/kg cwt.
Store lambs sold to dearer trends with buyers having the ability to put good lines together.
Meanwhile heavy sheep were up to $10 cheaper and not aiding prices were ewes with little skin value.
Medium weight prime ewes weighing under 30kg returned $85-$145 with a fleece.
Heavy ewes over 30kg cwt made from $120-$169.
Ballarat saleyard prices have drifted lower despite the low lamb and sheep supplies, suggesting producers are either at the tail end of their numbers or are selling direct to the processors.
Sporadic buying on the day is feeding into the fluctuating price trends being seen across trade and heavy categories.
Trade lambs eased $5, averaging 756c/kg cwt.
Heavy lambs dipped $10, averaging 648c/kg cwt.
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