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.
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.
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.
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.
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.