Prime lambs are tipped to make the $8/kg mark for the first time since 2011.

Independent livestock agent and commentator David Cotton has made the prediction on the strength of a strong market place heading into winter.

"We have had several increases in the schedule price recently and contract prices are standing at $7.40/kg, closely matched by the spot market at $7.30/kg," Cotton said.

"This is compared to a $6.15/kg schedule in May 2017. Today's prices are the highest I can remember for this time of year in recent times at least. The strengthening market makes the prospect of the $8/kg schedule far more likely and we haven't enjoyed that since 2011. That year the schedule in May was $7.40/kg and rose to $8/g in winter."


He said even the store market continued to be strong and improving over the last month with large numbers traded.

"There has even been the odd sale where over-supply has outstripped demand."

Cotton said he had noticed and interesting sidebar at the saleyards around sample weights.

Sample weights are randomly taken from pens on sale days providing and average for that particular line. Not all pens are sampled.

Truck weights, not of the same sampled sheep, can be quite different.

There was nothing devious and underhand suggested by Cotton, but there was scope for someone with stockmanship and a keen eye to find a bargain.

"Someone with good stock sense and judgment could make a dividend. Farmers are telling me it could be up to 30 cents/kg different."

Last week's sale reports showed a 31kg store lamb fetching $3.70/kg-$3.80/kg with light males making $4.20/kg-$4.60/kg.

Meanwhile, processing plants for cattle are fully booked and prices remain stable with 300kg ox/bull fetching $5.20/kg-$5.35/kg compared to $5.60/kg in May 2017.

"With the US cow and bull prices lifting and the New Zealand dollar softening there looks to be an upside in the cattle market over winter," Cotton said.