Lambs presented in mart sales this week have been subject to a much tougher trading environment.
Factory agents are much more cautious of the rate at which prices are falling and are not willing to compete to the same intensity.
Prices have reduced by in the region of €15 per head on average when compared to the previous week.
Sales held on Tuesday and Wednesday reflected both significant cuts inflicted on Monday and again for Thursday’s kill.
Lambs weighing 40kg to 41kg are selling anywhere from €100 to €105
Lambs weighing 45kg to 50kg sold on average from €120 to €127, with a selection of excellent-quality lambs attracting butcher interest and ewe lambs with breeding potential rising to €130 to €135.
Lighter fleshed lots weighing 42kg to 44kg sold from €116 to €122, with lots lacking significant flesh selling back to €110 to €112 in isolated cases.
Lambs weighing 40kg to 41kg are selling anywhere from €100 to €105 for those deemed forward stores to €110 to €113 for those with a good cover of flesh.
Store lamb numbers remain relatively low, with these expected to rise significantly as weaning increases in intensity in the coming weeks.
Lowland stores weighing 35kg to 36kg are trading from €85 to €98 on average, with lighter lots back to €80.
The cull ewe trade remains unaffected by the reduction in lamb price. Numbers on offer in the last week have tightened even further, which is not surprising given many farmers have moved cull ewes from early lambing flocks and ewes are not yet appearing in any great numbers from mid-season lambing flocks.
Ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg are trading on average from €125 to €140 for fleshed lots
Heavy ewes continue to generate the most bidding activity, with large-framed lots weighing in excess of 90kg selling from €145 to €170 and as high as €180 to €190 for well-conformed ewes weighing in excess of 100kg. Ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg are trading on average from €125 to €140 for fleshed lots, with short-keep feeding types back to €105 to €110. Lighter but fleshed ewes are trading from €100 to €120, with the only lowland ewes falling back below €100 per head being ewes lacking significant flesh cover.
Light-carcase Scottish Blackface ewes are trading from €5 to €10 under the weight for ewes lacking flesh to €1/kg to €1.20/kg for ewes with an average cover of flesh weighing in the region of 50kg. Heavier ewes are trading from €20 to €28 over the weight.