The lamb market has struggled to gain price traction even amid the disruption of the Easter holiday break.
There were no sales on Monday as Ballarat kicked off the shorter trading week on Tuesday in Victoria.
Carcase weight prices slipped at Ballarat's market as Meat & Livestock Australia's National Livestock Reporting Service quoted trade and heavy lambs ranging from 720-790 cents a kilogram cwt.
The level of demand in the heavy lamb market is struggling for competition, while companies access good numbers of trade and heavy lambs direct or on forward contracts.
Major companies on the day were not prepared to chase the market.
Fletchers International, NSW, was the volume buyer on the big, supersized, heavy lambs.
Despite this, prices dipped $11 a head with rates ranging from $232 to $280 to average 720-745c/kg cwt
The balance of heavy lambs averaged about 760c/kg cwt.
Lambs which weighed 26-30kg sold from $206-$233.
Lambs 24-26kg struggled to capture major supermarket competition and slipped $4-$10 to sell at $192-$218
Similar price results were recorded for trade lambs with rates $4-$8 cheaper despite the improved quality.
The bulk of the trade lambs 21-24kg sold at $157-$192 to average 817c/kg.
Processor demand for plainer and lighter lambs has followed the same trajectory, with feedback from buyers suggesting the Middle East market is resisting the high money being quoted from Australian processors for the product.
Lambs back to the paddock and to feed on ranged from $110-$176.
The National Restocker Lamb Indicator powered ahead after much-needed autumn rain helped it lift 27c/kg to rest at 867c/kg cwt
Meanwhile, at Ballarat the mutton market opened on a weaker note with prices softening over most categories.
Heavy mutton sold to a small group of processors with some buyers not prepared to step up.
This caused demand at times to be patchy.
Merino wethers were well supplied and sold from $170-$197 to average 610-630c/kg cwt
Heavy crossbred ewes held their value best making from $142-$213 to average 550-580c/kg cwt.
At Forbes, NSW, agents mustered 18,750 lambs.
Quality varied across all categories and despite this, rates improved $5-$6 across the market.
Lambs weighing 20-24kg received $170-$203.
Extra heavy lambs were keenly sought, recording a top price of $284 to average 730-787c/kg cwt.
Heavy crossbred ewes averaged $211, while trade sheep made from $114-$166
- Leann Dax is an NLRS market reporter.