A TURNAROUND in lamb and sheep prices saw rises of up to $15 a week this week.
Two of eastern Australia's major lamb markets were much dearer on Monday while mutton prices have slowly risen.
Analysts said the rise was due to fears short-term supply could dry up if it rained this week.
But other pundits said processors were increasingly concerned about lamb supplies. The eastern states' lamb indicators all rose on Monday, closing above 400c/kg.
And lambs were up to $15 dearer at Bendigo, with lines over 20kg consistently selling for more than 400c/kg according to the National Livestock Reporting Service.
Rob Huntington, from the National Livestock Reporting Service, described bidding at Monday's sale as "animated", and "generally getting better as the sale progressed".
He quoted averages of more than 400c/kg for almost all lambs over 20kg carcass weight, with the dearest lambs a pen of 18-20kg, which made 482c/kg.
It was a similar story at Dubbo, NSW, where lambs were up to $12 dearer.
Paull and Scollard agent Tim Robinson sold lambs at Corowa on Monday and said the market was "fantastic".
"It was the first time for a long time that it was good to be an auctioneer," Mr Robinson said.
"The market was $10 and even $15 dearer in places."
But Mr Robinson said it was for finished lambs that prices rose most.
"There still seems to be numbers of lambs in the system but the quality is light on," he said.
"But 400c/kg (carcass weight) is back on the table.
"Lambs at the top end when it comes to finish, which are in the right condition, are making the money."
Mr Robinson said the recent lift was reward for producers who had grain-fed lambs.
"They will now be paid for the work and the investment they have made," he said.
Mr Robinson said talk around the yards was that processors were short of lambs at the moment with a gap before contract lambs started to flow into their works.
"Some processors may have to look at their 'over the hooks rates' if they want to attract lambs, now there has been a lift in the yards," he said.
Mutton rates also gradually crept up, though cannot mirror those set for lamb.
Mr Huntington quoted Bendigo mutton as $5 dearer, but on the back of a slightly cheaper market the previous week.