Bendigo recorded its smallest yarding in 20 years and its smallest prime sale on record this week as lamb supply at Victorian markets continues to dwindle.
Contrastingly, yardings at most NSW saleyards late last week and into this week have been up on the week before.
That's according to the National Livestock Reporting Service (NLRS), who said the reduced yardings at Victorian markets made the sales hard to read.
At Bendigo, there were just 2210 lambs and 424 sheep on offer, which came in small and very mixed lots.
Not all buyers were present yet the heavier types lifted by $10 to $20 a head, and plainer and lightweight lambs were significantly dearer than the discounted rates of the previous fortnight.
At Ballarat, 7700 lambs of mixed quality were penned and the limited buying gallery was selective.
Despite this, prices rose up to $10 to $15 and up to $25 for the near, short-skinned trade lambs.
At Corowa, NSW, agents penned increase numbers as producers were keen to offload their supplementary-fed lambs.
At Cowra, NSW, lamb numbers also increased slightly and the quality was good.
At Forbes, NSW, numbers lifted with lambs showing the biggest increase.
However it was a different story at Dubbo, NSW, where recent falls of up to 70 millimetres locally meant numbers were back considerably on the expected draw.
The quality of the yarding was good and there were still good numbers of heavyweight lambs, but limited numbers of ideal trade weight lambs.
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In SA at Naracoorte, numbers climbed there too with 1925 lambs and 747 sheep offered.
These sold to the same slightly smaller field of trade and processor buyers with no restocker activity.
Meat & Livestock Australia senior market analystAdam Cheetham said reduced yardings weren't uncommon at this time of year.
"We typically do see a contraction in supply in winter months across both lamb and mutton," Mr Cheetham said.
"And typically we see prices increase in winter; that's what's happened in the last two years."
But he said outside factors like COVID-19 were still in some way taking hold of a lot of markets.
"Hopefully if conditions remain favourable and certainly once we recover from the impact of COVID-19 in foodservice that demand for Australian lamb and mutton is going to be strong," he said.
He said there would be a lot of eyes watching the market over the next couple of months.
"What we'll be looking towards now is the impact of the spring flush, when we see a lot more sheep and lambs come through," he said.
"It'll be interesting to see how demand is sitting, particularly in September."
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