The lamb market may have been in a bit of jam in the past few months, but NSW sales early this week indicate the supply glut may be starting to pass.
The NSW Trade Lamb Indicator gained nearly 50 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) in the past week and on Tuesday was on 498c/kg.
Prices right across the board were dearer at Dubbo's prime lamb sale on Monday, while heavy lambs gained the most.
Elders Dubbo branch manager Martin Simmons said prices were $10 to $20 a head dearer than last week.
"It was a much brighter sale today," Mr Simmons said.
"Two weeks ago the top of the heavy lambs made $135, while today similar lambs hit $190.
Thomas, John and Chris Haycock from Yeoval made the special trip into town to see their heavy second-cross lambs sold and were all smiles when they topped the market at $190.2.
The 10-month-old lambs weighed as much as 94 kilograms (liveweight) on farm and had been on a barley ration since mid-August.
"They would have sold for double that last year, but the lift in value today is a good start in the right direction, as we've got more of these lambs to sell of similar weight in the coming weeks," Chris Haycock said.
"The other end of the market was up too - the ones making $5 a few weeks ago were up around the $25 to $30 mark today," Mr Simmons said.
Mr Simmons said the lift in the prices pushed some lambs past 500 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) and that created an incentive for people to feed grain to finish their lambs at heavier weights.
It could also spur on the value of restockers lambs which in the past month had attracted limited interest.
Mr Simmons said supply was a key factor in the better prices.
"Also, the rain and flooding in Victoria and southern NSW has slowed up the supplies of lamb in the south for now," he said.
Bigger supplies of Victorian lambs traditionally hit the market in November.
But, it seems a spike in supply at Bendigo and Ballarat lamb sales did little to dampen buyer enthusiasm for heavy lambs this week.
Some sales of heavy lambs were reported as $15 dearer than the week before by Meat and Livestock Australia and young lambs topped at $181.
Likewise, buyers went into battle for the limited heavy lambs at Corowa's sale on Monday and pushed prices up $15 on the older lambs.
Supply of lighter sucker lambs was up and although prices didn't lift, MLA reported additional restocker competition was evident.
Mr Simmons expected the supply of NSW lambs to tighten right up in the new year.
"Some producers have sold earlier than normal this year and that might mean we have much tighter supplies of particularly the heavy export lambs next year," he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.