Direct to processor lamb and sheep prices have jumped this month to keep in line with strong saleyard results, as scattered rain and subsequent tightening of numbers boosted confidence and prices over the past month.
The eastern states saleyard price indicator for trade lamb was 696 cents a kilogram at the close of trade on Monday, up 100c/kg on this time last year, while the mutton price was at 507c/kg, having jumped 124c/kg in the past four weeks.
Meanwhile sheep and lamb over the hooks indicators for Victoria, NSW, and South Australia have jumped up to 60c/kg this week.
In Victoria, the over the hook average price for trade weight lambs (18-22kg) is currently 682c/kg, rising 24c/kg for the week (compared to the saleyard price which rose 4c/kg over the same period).
Heady trade and export lambs are averaging 700c/kg in Victoria, up 30c/kg week-on-week, while Merinos have also jumped that much, landing on 605c/kg.
The Victorian average price for medium and heavy mutton is sitting at 483c/kg, after rising nearly 40c/kg for the week, while sheep under 18kg are averaging 468c/kg, up 45c/kg.
NSW over the hook trade weight lambs are averaging 680c/kg, up 13c/kg, while lambs 24kg and heavier jumped 30c/kg to equal Victoria on 700c/kg and medium mutton is at 483c/kg.
South Australia hasn't caught up yet but it has seen the biggest over the hook price hike in the east this week, with all lambs 18kg and heavier averaging 680c/kg, up 40-50c/kg, and Merinos up 40c/kg to 585c/kg.
Sheep jumped 28c/kg across the weight categories with medium mutton finishing on 466c/kg.
One eastern states sheep and lamb processor said a tightening of supply had led them to raise their prices significantly (close to 100c/kg) in a matter of three weeks, and they had received good uptake by producers, with the kill floor out until May.
And while that supply will likely disappear as soon as an autumn break appears, they said the increase of available wethers that hadn't been sent to live export had supported numbers since Christmas.
"It's had a big impact not having boat orders out of Portland, there's been a lot more wethers in the physical market and out of the paddock - previously there has been up to 100,000 boated out between Christmas and now," they said.
Another southern processor had similar wait times, and said they would have a bit more space for lambs after Easter, but they were still booked forward with contracts past then.
The problem wasn't supply, but selling the product, with demand from the US slowing down because of the amount of meat they had in store, the processor said.
The story Lamb and sheep hook prices lift as supply tightens first appeared on Stock & Land.