Mart managers report that numbers of well-fleshed lambs remain in tight supply.
Factory agents have increased their appetite for lambs over the last week and with butcher and wholesale buyers struggling to source suitable sheep, there is greater competition in the trade with prices rising by €2 to €5/head on average.
Heavier fleshed lambs weighing in excess of 50kg are selling from €95 to €104 over the weight in marts, with an active butcher-wholesale trade.
Flesh cover is having a big influence on prices paid for factory-type lambs, with prices ranging in the main from €88 to €97 over the weight or from €136 to €145/head. Poorly-fleshed lambs are selling back to €85 under the weight and as low as €80 over in cases.
The store lamb trade is firm, but there is a big variation between prices paid for good-quality lowland lambs and those suitable for a quick finish and plainer-quality or poorly presented lambs that are a longer-keep prospect.
Average prices for good-quality lambs are in the region of €2.85/kg to €3.00/kg, with poorer-quality and lambs lacking flesh selling back to €2.70/kg.
Good-quality hill and crossbred lambs are selling from €2.40/kg to €2.65/kg, with plainer-quality lambs that will be finished later in the season and require significant feeding selling from €2.20/kg to €2.50/kg.
The trade for cull ewes has firmed, with buyers purchasing top-quality heavier ewes showing more of an appetite in the last week.
Demand is again being helped by low numbers, with top-quality ewes in short supply and capable of selling from €170 to upwards of €200/head.
The trade for hogget ewes is inconsistent, with demand sluggish in places.
A selection of top-quality hoggets are exceeding the €200 mark and selling to €220, with small numbers of prizewinners in sales rising to €250 or slightly higher. Medium-weight and -sized lots with good breeding potential are trading from €180 to €200, with light and small-framed hoggets back to €160 in cases.