The live ring is driving an upturn in lamb prices this week, with marts seeing prices rise by 15p to 20p/kg, or £3 to £5 per head.

Buyers for southern Irish factories are setting the pace, with reports of €8.40/kg paid for NI lambs processed at Irish plants, which converts to a sterling equivalent of 678p/kg.

Local factories have responded with a 5p/kg increase in base quotes which now stand at 655p/kg, although this is merely keeping prices paid to local producer groups in check.

In reality, deals of 675p to 680p/kg are on offer to keep pace with the live trade, where prices of £140 to £145 are commonplace. Fat ewes are a super trade, with lowland breeds regularly surpassing the £200 mark.

The beef trade is steady, with quotes on 432p/kg for prime cattle and 370p/kg for cull cows.

However, deals around 450p/kg are on offer for steers and heifers with cull cows surpassing the 400p/kg barrier. R3 cows averaged 405p/kg last week.

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