Last Thursday’s sheep sale in Loughrea Co-op Mart in Co Galway saw increased numbers of spring lambs forward for sale, with mart manager Jimmy Cooney commenting that prices were back between €6/head and €8/head on average in line with factories trying to put a squeeze on prices earlier in the week.

Jimmy said that there was still good demand on the day, noting that any reduction in price was minimised due to the quality of lambs forward for sale.

He added that a minimum weight of 42.5kg to 44kg is currently needed in order for farmers to return the most value from their lambs.

This pen of nine lambs weighed 47kg and made €160 (€3.40/kg).

Lambs in this weight range were typically making from €145 to €155 and up to as high as €160 for a few stand-out lots.

Lighter lambs from 41kg to 43kg were trading from €135 to €145, depending on quality and the level of flesh on lambs.

These types were perhaps most affected by the factory price pressure, as this weight band is most influenced by demand from factory agents.

These six lambs weighing 42kg sold for €142 (€3.38/kg).

Heavier lambs weighing 45kg and above were trading around the €160 to €165 mark and up to a top price of €169 for a pen of 47.5kg lambs.

Hogget numbers continue to contract and this was evident on the day. However, Jimmy said that there was stiff competition for well-fleshed types and, on the whole, prices were holding firm and similar to previous weeks.

This large pen of 19 lambs weighed 41kg on average and made €142 (€3.46/kg).

Ewe prices

Jimmy was pleased to report that ewes were a little dearer on previous weeks.

Where prices had been slipping slightly two or three weeks ago, demand seems to have increased again in recent days, with some very strong prices being achieved for cull ewes.

This pen of 11 lambs weighed 44kg and sold for €156 (€3.55/kg).

Heavier and larger-framed ewes were making €140 to €155 and up to a top price of €168.

Lighter and poorer fleshed types were trading anywhere from €90 to €130 for the most part.

Other lots

These five, 48.4kg lambs sold for €162 (€3.35/kg).

This pen of 14 lambs weighed 43.2kg and made €152 (€3.52/kg).

Weighing 44kg, this pen of 13 lambs sold for €152 (€3.45/kg).

These four 49kg lambs sold for €162 (€3.31/kg).

This pen of seven ewes averaged 95kg and made €150 (€1.58/kg).

These six ewes, weighing 95kg sold for €157 (€1.65/kg).

This pen of seven ewes weighed 98kg and sold for €149 (€1.52/kg).