The national saleyard mutton indicator reached an all-time high of 540¢/kg carcase weight (cwt) on Tuesday, which is 2% higher than the previous record set in May 2017.
Following the Easter and Anzac Day public holidays, sheep markets returned to full swing this week.
Prices across all sheep and lamb categories ended April on a very strong note, with mutton the standout.
Typically peaking during the winter months, prices have lifted earlier than usual this year.
This may be a sign that market participants are incentivised to sure up supplies before the possibility of sheep and lamb shortages in the coming months.
As for other national saleyard indicators, trade lambs averaged 733¢/kg on Tuesday, up 21% year-on-year, but still 16% below the all-time high of 871¢/kg cwt set in September last year.
Merino lambs have performed particularly well, buoyed by high wool prices and especially poor seasonal conditions in key supply regions. The national Merino lamb indicator averaged 719¢/kg cwt on Tuesday, up 29% year-on-year.
Producers in southern Australia continue to look to the skies in anticipation of the autumn break. The latest Bureau of Meteorology three-month climate outlook (released 26 April) shows a slight improvement on the last update. However, only a late or weak autumn break is expected.