The sheep trade is starting the week in a much trickier position compared with the previous two weeks.

Factory agents have been disseminating a more negative message on the trade since the end of last week, with threats of prices reducing by 10c/kg.

While there has been lots of talk of an easier trade, many producers have secured similar returns up until Monday, with factories also careful not to miss out on deals involving significant numbers.

Quotes for Tuesday are 5/kg to 10c/kg easier and range from €6.30/kg to €6.40/kg.

Individual sellers with less negotiating power are securing returns averaging from €6.50/kg to €6.55/kg, with groups and regular sellers negotiating prices ranging in the main from €6.60/kg to €6.70/kg, with some deals 5c/kg to 10c/kg higher when conformation bonuses or allowances on transport are factored into the deal.

Easier mart trade

Prices paid in mart sales have reduced by €3 to €5/head.

Agents are still keen to get their hands on numbers, but are not prepared to pay over the odds and are reluctant to get into a bidding war with competing factories.

Prices for lambs weighing 50kg to 54kg are typically in the region of €97 to €101 over the weight.

There are select pens of excellent-quality lambs or lambs weighing between 55kg and 60kg hitting returns of €157 to €160/head, but this is more infrequent than previous weeks.

Lots lacking flesh are back anywhere from €5 to €10/head from the prices discussed above.