Camera at the Mart was ringside at the weekly sheep sale in Kilrea Mart on Monday 29 May, where lambs met with solid buying demand.
Almost 400 head of sheep went under the hammer and prices were on par with last week – or even slightly improved for heavier sorts suited to the butcher and wholesale trade.
The upturn in weather also had an impact on numbers forwarded, which was down by 225 head on the previous week, as farmers are turning their attention to silage rather than drafting lambs.
The trade reached a top price of £160 for heavy lambs pushing 30kg half-weight.
This was followed by butcher-type lambs weighing 28kg to 30kg half-weight, selling from £150 to £152.
Lambs at 25kg and 27kg half-weight were limited in numbers but, when forwarded, there was mixed demand with prices hovering around £143 and £145, depending on quality and weight.
The main run of factory-fit lambs at 23kg to 24kg half-weight were an easy sell, with a strong presence of buyers working for local plants and southern abattoirs in direct competition.
Prices typically opened at around £138 and generally settled between £140 and £143, with good quality, tight-skinned Suffolk- and Texel-sired lambs occasionally selling to highs of £147.
Lambs at similar weights that exhibited Dorset, Charollais or Cheviot crossbreeding were priced back at around £135, but did sell upwards to £138 on occasions.
Slaughter-fit lambs weighing 21kg to 22kg half-weight were also highly sought after by factory agents, pushing prices for top-quality lowland types to £140 on multiple occasions.
However, the same buyers were reluctant to trade above this level for lambs falling within this weight bracket; but on occasion, lambs were bid to £142.50.
Plainer lambs at similar weights sold anywhere from £128 to £135.50, while lots weighing below the 21kg were a steady trade selling upwards from £125.
A small entry of fat ewes were also met with a steady trade, with prices reaching a peak of £178.