THE alignment of lamb prices, an increase in fleece value and surging returns for first-cross ewes has painted a perfect picture for the sheep and wool industry.
On the surface returns look to be marching ahead. However, for those trying to restock or buy in, the high prices pose challenges.
First-cross ewes made $500 at the Temora and West Wyalong district sale and livestock agents quoted the overall sale average as being $160 higher than in 2020.
At the Hay sale vendors were rewarded when first-cross wether lambs reached $190 and Merino lambs returned $176.
Meanwhile, wool prices recorded a 29c/kg increase at auction sales with the Australian Wool Exchange Eastern Market Indicator settling on 1361c/kg.
Paul Cocking of "Kaloona," at Mangoplah is keeping a close eye on the market and said the prices were driven by buoyancy in the prime lamb market and overall demand for protein.
He was cautious about wool. "If you are in that sweet spot, prices are good ... but not all categories are selling well for wool," he said.
Mr Cocking's flock averages around 18.5 micron and he said prices for that category wool were good.
He was hoping to sell some lambs at the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre this week, and was anticipating decent prices.
However, he cautioned about the challenges currently facing restockers. He said buying in was tough and not everyone had held numbers over after the drought conditions.
He said plenty of landholders were still trying to rebuild flock numbers.
"You can't take advantage of these prices if you haven't got the stock to sell," he said.
Mr Cocking said the great seasonal conditions meant that feed was available for livestock but not everybody was in a position to restock to capacity.
This scenario was also evident in the cattle industry with the indicators constantly climbing.