Many mart sales held over the last week have recorded a significant increase in throughput levels.
Reports indicate that the increase in price and strong purchasing activity of agents in mart sales is encouraging some producers that would normally trade direct with factories to opt for the live trade.
There has been some variability in reports on the trade. Some mart managers who recorded above-average sales performance in the previous week report that the higher numbers have steadied prices, with agents under less pressure to compete. Others report a €2 to €3 per head increase on the previous week.
The general run of prices for well-fleshed lambs weighing upwards of 48kg to 50kg is running in the region of €100 to €104 with the weight.
Top-quality lambs attracting butcher and wholesaler attention are in cases rising to €107 to €110 over the weight and, likewise, lambs short of flesh are selling back to a price of €90 over the weight.
The store lamb trade is steady. A factor which has become more evident at sales in recent weeks is keener demand for lambs with a good cover of flesh and are likely to be eating some level of concentrates.
This is having a significant influence in some sales on demand for light store lambs.
Prices for good-quality lowland stores continues to range from €2.65/kg to €2.90/kg on average.
Lambs with a lower flesh cover or plainer-quality crossbred types are selling from €2.40/kg to €2.65/kg, while light Scottish Blackface lambs remain a challenging trade, selling on average from €1.70/kg to €2/kg.
There is a 15c/kg variance either side of this price range, depending on quality.
The cull ewe trade is unchanged. A price range of €130 to €160 per head is buying the majority of heavy fleshed ewes weighing upwards of 85kg to 90kg.
Medium weight ewes weighing 75kg to 80kg are selling anywhere from €90 to €130 with flesh cover and kill out potential increasing in importance.