Last week's useful widespread rain has clipped yardings at major saleyards this week and pushed up prices.
The Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator edged up by six cents to 743c a kilogram carcase weight on Tuesday which is 73c up on year-ago levels while the Light Lamb Indicator climbed 16c to 761c.
The National Restocker Lamb Indicator jumped 23c to 759c.
Tuesday's yarding at Ballarat dropped by a hefty 19,566 to 29,518 head including 17,309 lambs and 12,209 sheep.
Interstate processors added extra competition with lambs making up to 900 cents a kilogram carcase weight in places.
Overall the market lifted by $7 to $20 a head and more in places, Meat and Livestock Australia reported.
Restockers were active but more widespread rain will be needed to spark the confidence and grass for a start to significant flock rebuilding.
Heavy mutton sheep were up $10 to $20 in places while lighter sheep were back $5 to $10.
Patchy rain around Forbes didn't affect yarding numbers on Tuesday with 17,200 lambs and 6350 sheep on offer.
Restockers were out in force, paying from $135 to $166 a head.
Trade weight lambs lifted by $5 to $8 with 18 to 22kg selling from $158 to $178 and those up the 24kg fetching from $174 to $200.
Extra heavyweights sold from $210 to $249. Carcase prices averaged from 765c to 785c a kg dressed.
Merino ewes sold from $108 to $212 while crossbreds fetched from $106 to $220.
Yarding numbers dropped by 5000 to 15,000 at Bendigo on Monday despite no sale next week because of the Australia Day holiday.
Prices were strong despite the absence of three major export processors with heaviest export lambs making from $210 to $240 to record a similar carcase average to the previous sale at 715c.
Better presented heavy trade weight lambs, 24 to 26kg, sold from $175 to $210 at an estimated 740c to 760c.
Competition intensified for the best medium trades in short skins which pushed towards 800c at $178 to $196, MLA said.
The sale hit a top of $260, $20 a head better than a week ago but on more weight at an estimated 36kg carcase.
Sheep numbers tightened again with two exporters engaging in bidding wars for heavy crossbred ewes which pushed prices to $259 or up to $35 dearer than a week ago.
Numbers tumbled at Dubbo by 7270 to 14,270 on after Monday after 10 to 80mm across the surrounding region.
Lightweight lambs to processors were $3 to $5 dearer with the 12 to 18kg 2 scores selling from $95 to $144.
Trade lambs were $5 to $7 dearer with the new season lambs selling from $134 to $190 while the trade weight old lambs sold from $135 to $195 to average from 775c to 805c.
Heavyweight lambs were $11 dearer with over 24kg lambs selling from $204 to $257.
Merino lambs were also dearer with trade weights selling from $152 to $180, while a pen of very heavy Merino lambs sold for $230.
Restocker lambs were $4 to $6 dearer with the better lambs selling from $78 to $135, while very young lambs sold down to $47.
Merino ewes sold from $62 to $210 while crossbred ewes sold from $75 to $200.
Last week's rain didn't impact on lamb slaughterings across the eastern states which lifted by one per cent to 364,824 including 209,753 head in Victoria, up 3pc, and 98,414 in NSW, down 2pc.
Mutton processing numbers increased by three pc to 156,956 including a 6pc rise in NSW to 75,773 and 62,204 in Victoria, down 1pc.
The story Rain clips lamb and sheep yardings, pushes up prices first appeared on Farm Online.