The signs suggest that sheep and beef farmers may enjoy the higher prices for at least the next 12 months, if not longer.
Independent Whanganui livestock commentator David Cotton said all livestock markets had held together far better than he would have predicted, but the lamb job was especially buoyant.
"Although slightly back after the Easter trade, the lamb schedule is still trading at $7/kg or better [down from $7.30/kg-$7.40/kg] and that's significant," Cotton said.
"Space at the meat plant is chocker at the moment and given that you would normally expect the schedules to fall substantially, but they haven't and that's a great sign.
There has been no appetite to drag the lamb schedule down under $7/kg and that's extremely positive for the sheep industry. It gives us confidence when there has been drought and the schedule is still where it is.
"There has been no appetite to drag the lamb schedule down under $7/kg and that's extremely positive for the sheep industry. It gives us confidence when there has been drought and the schedule is still where it is. Even mutton is still holding at around $5/kg.
"This suggests to me that these higher prices are sustainable and I believe they will remain higher for at least the next 12 months."
Cattle markets, in general, are also holding their own.
"Lower volumes than usual for this time of year have been traded, but prices are holding."
The main weaner fairs are due to kick into action and run through until the end of March and into April. In fact, Feilding hosts a weaner fair today.
"With a few early weaner sales held, the prices look to be back 40 cents a kilo on last year, but again that's only on small volumes.
"Thankfully the much-needed rain arrived last week when most parts of the region enjoyed 20mm-50mm. The average for February had been well down and along with the strong westerlies things were drying out a bit," Cotton said.
"And with the rain has come cooler morning temperatures which has been a blessing to help keep the dreaded facial eczema spore counts down."
As an aside, Cotton was suitably impressed when attending his first Golden Shears show in Masterton a fortnight ago.
"I'd been wanting to go for a number of years, but I was blown away by the organisation of the event and the skill of these world-class shearers. I though I would enjoy it, but it was spectacular. The atmosphere was so much different live compared to watching it on TV.
"It takes me all of two minutes to to get the sheep out of the pen and drag it on the floor before turning my handpiece on, yet these guys have shorn one and on to the next in the same time — amazing and it was well worth the drive down to Masterton." Cotton said.