While last week pressure on factory lamb quotes saw an easing of prices, this week we are seeing the opposite.

There seems to be much more life in the trade again, with prices up €2 to €3 per head on the back of increased factory demand and rising quotes.

This means factory lamb prices have returned to around €120 to €130 for a 45kg to 48kg lamb. Some special lots of the same weight are securing a bit more on top of this but these are generally being scooped up by butchers or wholesale.

These buyers are continuing to pay the premium given the tight supply of well-finished lambs on offer, which means they are also quite active for lambs around the 50kg mark.

Heavy store lambs suitable for short-term feeding are holding well, with good-quality lots exceeding €2.70/kg or selling for €70 with the weight, which are generally fit 40-42kg lambs. Lighter stores around the 35kg mark were trading anywhere from €2.60/kg to €2.75/kg for average stock while up to €3.00/kg was achieved at a number of marts for the better-quality lots on offer.

Sharp-headed ewe lambs suitable for breeding continue to fetch a premium, with some mart managers recording prices of €3.00/kg to €3.20/kg for this type of stock.

Sales in hill and store lamb regions have continued to grow steadily and are now reaching peak throughput.

The trade for hoggets continues to be variable. Top-quality hoggets saw prices range from €200 to €240 on average, with some smaller numbers rising to €270 and above per head. Lesser-quality lots generally started at €170.

With two major breeding hogget sales now after taking place, it’s likely this trade will begin to steady further.

The cull ewe trade continues to be holding strong, with some lots in marts exceeding the €200 mark. Heavy well-fed ewes ready for direct slaughter are meeting the best demand, with factory agents still eager. Generally trade ranged from €150 to €180 per head, with premiums for better-fleshed sheep. Lighter ewes or aged ewes weighing from 75kg to 80kg saw prices hover around the €100 to €120 mark.

Hill sheep are starting to emerge more due to lamb weaning taking place and these typically start at €1/kg, with closer to €1.40/kg attainable for better-fleshed lots.