The mart trade has witnessed little change over the last week. Well-fleshed lambs remain a firm trade, but some mart managers report that lambs lacking significant flesh are a stickier trade.
The general run of prices for good-quality fleshed lambs in marts in lowland regions ranges from €133 to €140 for lambs weighing upwards of 48kg.
Select lots of heavier butcher-type lambs are selling to the mid-€140s, while nice-quality ewes lambs are attracting a premium ranging anywhere from €3 to €12 over equivalent weight lambs destined for slaughter.
Prices in areas where hill and crossbred lambs dominate are €8 to €10/head lower on the prices reported.
Flesh cover a major influence
Flesh cover has a major influence on prices paid for lambs weighing 45kg to 47kg. Prices range in the main from €120 to €130 for top-quality lots, reducing back to €110 or lower for lots lacking flesh.
Well-presented lowland stores with a medium to good cover of flesh are trading in the main from €2.55/kg to €2.80/kg, with select lots containing ewe lambs with breeding potential selling to €3/kg.
Lambs lacking flesh and plainer-quality types are selling from €2.30/kg to €2.50/kg, while light hill lambs which are a long-term prospect are averaging €2/kg to €2.20/kg.
Hogget throughput is easing and demand is holding steady, with significant numbers of buyers waiting until close to breeding to purchase.
The best-quality lots range from €180 to €215, with small numbers selling to a top of €230 to €245 on average.
Medium-quality lowland and crossbred hoggets range from €160 to €175, with small-framed hoggets that will remain at lower weights selling from €145 to €155.
Scottish Blackface hoggets are trading in a wide range, with top-quality lots from €160 to €190, while light and plainer-quality lots are selling back to €110 to €120.
Large-framed cull ewes weighing 85kg to 95kg are selling from €130 to €150. Fleshed lighter ewes weighing around the 75kg mark are trading from €100 to €115, with Scotch ewes from less than €1/kg to €1.30/kg to €1.40/kg for fleshed and heavier ewes.