A few thousand less lambs this week with 25,000 yarded. Sheep numbers also declined from the big yardings of the past fortnight. Lamb quality remained very good, with young unshorn lambs now starting to come in from greener pasture areas to the east and south of Bendigo. The market was erratic, and it was obvious buyers were trying to lower price rates. Not all export companies purchased, although a major domestic buyer pushed into heavier stock weighing upwards of 28kg which helped support the market. Overall, prices for processing lambs weighing over 22kg varied from $2 to $8/head cheaper. In contrast, the price trend for lighter weight lambs under 20kg was firm to significantly dearer in places, pushed along by a step-up in restocker support and buyers wanting suitable MK export lambs. Extra heavy young lambs over 30kg topped at $234/head in a limited run. The bulk of the heavy crossbred young lambs, 26kg to 30kg, ranged from $206 to $232 to average around $218/head. The main run of 24kg to 26kg lambs, sold from $189 to $212 to just cling to an overall average of $200/head plus. The 22kg to 24kg young lambs, sold from $176 to $196 and the better covered medium domestics 20kg to
22kg sold from $155 to $183/head. While there was still some sales over 800c for the best trade lambs, estimated averages for a run of lambs to processors was between 750c to 790c/kg cwt. There is some shorn young lambs starting to appear, and buyers did give those solid support at up to $206/head for similar carcass results. Not a lot of new season Merino lambs, the best to $170 but most were lighter weight types from $124 to $137/head. Store buyer activity stepped-up with orders from northern Victoria, the Mallee as well as the local area. No Ballarat agents, who had been paying over $200/head for trade lambs to shear, operated this week. Lambs to the paddock varied from $115 to a top of $166/head, with the smaller types trending above 800c/kg cwt. Less sheep but quality remained very good with a lot of weight and condition on offer. A northern processor came back into the market, and there was bidding duals between buyers for heavy crossbred and Merino ewes at times which caused price spikes to a top of $225/head. But the sale was inconsistent which lead to some noticeable price variations. The overall result was a dearer trend of $5/head for heavy mutton, while trade sheep were similar depending on weight and freshness.