LAMB prices have slipped to their lowest level in 18 months.
The trade lamb indicator last week fell to 461c/kg carcass weight - its lowest point since October 2010.
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This time last year, lambs were trading almost 30 per cent dearer at 639c/kg.
And while a comparison of Victorian yardings showed there were just 3000 more lambs sold last week compared with the same time last year, processors killed 22,000 more lambs.
The cheaper trend continued at Bendigo on Monday, but it was the heaviest lambs that were the hardest hit with prices down $4 a head, according to the National Livestock Reporting Service.
Heavy lambs sold from 380c to 450c/kg carcass weight, while trade lambs sold from 450c to 480c/kg.
NLRS reporter Rob Huntington said some producers were not prepared to accept the prices being offered.
"The odd lot of heavy lambs was passed in," he said.
Meat and Livestock Australia's sheepmeat analyst Rob Barker said the eastern states trade lamb indicator had traded in a band between 460c and 544c/kg carcass weight since June last year.
"Last week's decline occurred in line with a significant jump in yardings in New South Wales, which had 94,326 compared to 39,235 the week before," Mr Barker said.
"There was a decline in numbers in Victoria and South Australia but overall yardings were much higher."
Mr Barker said numbers in yards now, and to come, had a big bearing on prices.
HF Richardson and Co livestock manager Bernie Nevins, of Ballarat, said while lamb prices were back, it was not sensible to compare them with last year's "extraordin- ary rates".
"If you are a breeder, you have seen a lot worse (prices), but if you are a restocker, your margins have been cut back a fair bit," he said.
Mr Nevins said he believed producers could consider holding their lambs back for the next four to six weeks in the hope that prices might rise.
Meanwhile, lamb exports to the Middle East and North Africa jumped 33 per cent in the first two months of the year, with more than 3000 tonnes sent to the region each month.
The United Arab Emirates was the biggest customer, despite taking less than last year, with 2034 tonnes, but export growth in Jordan, Qatar and Libya pushed export volumes up.
The wool market is also rising, closing last week 23c/kg dearer at 1239c/kg.