Factory quotes on fat lambs have slipped to 550p/kg mid-week, but deals of 570p to 590p/kg are being offered to regular sellers.

However, in general the higher prices are only available for meal-finished animals, with factory agents reporting a large variation in kill-out percentages on animals presented for slaughter.

Prices in the live ring have steadied as competition from buying agents for Republic of Ireland factories has cooled.

Irish plants have moved to put a lid on trade at a deadweight price around €7.40/kg, which converts to 590p/kg.

However, attempts to pull prices further has been met by farmer resistance. Supplies coming on the market have slowed and deals of €7.50/kg were available midweek.

Meanwhile, exports of sheep from NI to slaughter plants in the Republic are at their lowest level for a decade.

From 1 January to the week ending 13 November, 256,593 sheep were exported south of the border for processing, down 18% on 2020 and a 22% drop on the 328,865 exported in 2019.

Current sheep exports are down 41% from the high point of 431,621 recorded back in 2011.

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