AFTER the post Christmas slump in lamb sales with most opting for chicken and pork over the holiday period, the new year has bought about a fresh lot of lambs and prices to go with it.
As sheep markets prepare to get back into the weekly grind, many yards have witnessed an increase in heavyweights coming through earlier.
The indicator for lamb was 527c/kg Tuesday night.
Landmark Langlands Hanlon owner Geoff Rice, Forbes, said although the lamb market had surrendered before Christmas, it had since risen along with the cattle market.
"There's a lot of heavier lambs earlier on because of the amount of feed grain about, which was not delivered and put through lambs instead," Mr Rice said.
"There's also store lambs out of Victoria up here, some of which are shorn."
Mr Rice said he predicts the lamb market will be solid for most of the year, unless there’s a mishap.
"Autumn could see an ease in the market, but the prices will be pretty handy for the rest of the year," he said.
"There's little numbers about and the market is pretty solid, but other than that hiccup then the market should be pretty good."
He said buyers had more confidence in lambs due to the cattle market being on an upward trend, with the ability to buy in more feed.
Elders livestock agent Joe Wilks, Wagga Waggga, said around the state the lamb market had opened up strongly for the start of 2016.
"Lambs are around $5.00 to $5.40 a kilogram and restockers are still very active in the market, but supermarkets need lambs too," Mr Wilks said.
"The lamb market will come off in the next few weeks, but for the rest of the time it will roughly stay where it is."
Mr Wilks said although heavyweights had sold strongly, the market might ease by $5 to $7 a kilogram.
"It's been a few tough years and people have had to destock, but there's interest in restocking again," he said.
"I don't know what supply there is, but the quality is there because of the harvest.
"Generally the vibe is that sheep and cattle markets are both strong."
Burke and Smyth livestock agent Simon Burke, Tamworth, said the market has recently been very strong and will continue to hold firm for the rest of the year.
"It's anticipated to stay firm for the next few weeks, with more lambs to come in February," Mr Burke said.
"Meat and Livestock Australia's push for Aussie lamb for Australia day will put a boost in the market, which we will look forward to, and after that we will see what supply does."
Davidson, Cameron and McCulloch livestock agent Scott Newberry, Tamworth, said this week the market was cheaper due to a influx of numbers.
"The lamb market had more numbers yarded this week, but was cheaper on the back of the that," Mr Newberry said.
"Heavyweight lambs were making 148 cents a kilogram to 150c/kg and trade weight quality lambs were cheaper than good quality lambs with the increase in numbers, whereas last weeks sale in Tamworth went better with fewer numbers."
Mr Newberry said he hopes the lamb market will stay where it, but the weather will always play a part in it.
"It might hang around at a level that is good for everybody."