The Australian lamb market is in the middle of a winter boom, reflecting historic seasonal trends as prices increase and throughputs fall.
In fact, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) reports show the eastern states trade lamb indicator has hit levels the industry hasn't experienced since February this year.
Historically, there's typically a spike in light, heavy and trade lamb prices in winter as supply begins to tighten.
On a national basis last week all three of these categories lifted - light lambs were up 2.3 per cent to 818 cents per kilogram, cwt, heavy lambs lifted by 4.4pc to 830c/kg cwt and trade lambs increased by 3pc to land at 843c/kg cwt.
At the end of last week the ESTLI gained 38c to settle at 864c per kilogram, cwt, and by Monday it had edged up slightly again to finish at 867c/kg cwt, 103c above the same time last year and 52c above the month prior.
Prices were also on the up in the West with the Western Australian trade lamb indicator lifting 14c to 786c/kg cwt.
Mutton wasn't left behind, forging ahead by 10c at the end of last week to see the national mutton indicator land at 692c/kg cwt.
But by Monday it had cracked the 700c barrier locking in at 701c/kg cwt - up 106c from the same time last year.
Most lamb and sheep indicators are now sitting higher than they were 12 months ago and with areas of NSW forecast to receive rain by the end of the week, it may encourage lamb supply to continue to tighten and prices to remain high.
Nutrien Ag Solutions Bendigo livestock manager Nick Byrne said he doesn't believe the price rise will have any great impact on throughput and is confident the tight supply of lambs will continue.
"There aren't the old lambs around for a price reaction to bring them out of the woodwork," Mr Byrne said.
"I can't see any huge numbers coming forward. New season lambs, here especially, it will still be a month or two before we start to see significant numbers of them."
But he does expect to see more mutton coming forward, which may ease the price in the next month to six weeks.
"Given there was a lot of sheep either brought in or retained on farm last year, producers might offload those sheep to cash in on the higher mutton price early rather than taking them out to a September shearing," he said.
"I think the industry expected lamb to get dearer earlier than what it has, but I think the season determined that given the break was late and there were probably lambs brought onto the market due to the lack of paddock feed."
There is still a chance for further improvements in the ESTLI during July as winter marches on, but whether it finds the momentum to push through 900c for the winter peak will depend on how tight supply gets in the weeks ahead.
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