Lamb prices continued to climb higher last week and records continued to fall, with the national trade weight lamb indicator sitting at 950 cents a kilogram carcase weight on Monday and heavy lambs rising 11c/kg to sit at an incredible 986c/kg cwt.
It represents a significant rise of 10-50c/kg in the past week.
The bulk of the yardings presented over the past weeks have been largely a representation of medium weight lines, with heavy lambs and lighter weights in shorter supply.
Given the below average start to winter throughout the Riverina, western NSW and parts of Victoria, it paints an ominous picture for processors looking to secure lambs with weight and finish.
The first pens of new season lambs are arriving at northern markets and the quality has reportedly been mixed.
Price trends at Wagga Wagga, NSW, strengthened $8-$15 a head.
Less numbers forced all buyers to up the ante for their share of trade and heavy lambs.
Agents said the downturn in numbers was seen as further evidence that lamb supply in NSW is tracking below usual winter levels.
Corowa, NSW, led the way, underpinned by a shortage of supplies, with just 7850 lambs penned.
The National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS) quoted the market $6-$13 dearer.
Heavy lambs remained in short supply and those of 25-30kg cwt plus returned $265-$338.
Trade lambs fetched $201-$275.
Mutton headed in the same direction selling $7-$30 higher, to average 648-662c/kg cwt.
Lamb producers enjoyed another rate lift at opening sales on Monday as domestic and export buyers scrambled for supplies.
Bendigo was quoted dearer by the NLRS.
The keenest competition was for light lambs with price levels $5-$10 higher.
The best of the trade lambs were unchanged while heavy export lambs sold $10-$15 dearer, averaging 1031c/kg cwt.
At Ballarat on Tuesday, lamb numbers increased to 13,354 and 5780 sheep.
Quality ranged from good to average.
Market trends were quite mixed with trade lambs unchanged to $7 cheaper.
Well-shaped trade lambs made from $200-$246, averaging 948c/kg cwt.
After leading the charge heavy lambs defied pundits and fell $8-$32 to average 973c/kg cwt.
Mutton was unable to sustain last week's rates.