Sale reports from mart managers for those held on Monday are better than anticipated.

Prices fell by an average of €4 to €6/head on the week, with lighter lambs enduring the greatest price pressure.

Reporting on an entry of 700 head in Ennis Mart, manager of Clare Marts Martin McNamara said the trade held better than expected, with prices back by an average of €5/head on the week.

Martin said that a significant number of top-quality lots still sold above the €170 mark, with a top of €178 paid for a batch of super-quality Charollais lambs weighing 49kg.

The greatest percentage of lambs sold from €160 to €170/head, with lambs weighing in the 40kg to 50kg bracket averaging €3.30/kg.

Top-quality lambs in this range weighing upwards of 48kg sold from €166 to €170, with lots with a lower cover of flesh or plainer in quality selling back to €160 to €164/head.

Lambs weighing 42kg to 44kg sold from €140 to €150 in the main, with the best-quality types capable of achieving favourable slaughter performance rising to the mid-€150s.

Fermoy Mart

A strong butcher and wholesale trade in Fermoy Mart also ensured that significant numbers of lambs weighing in excess of 50kg exceeded the €170/head mark.

Top prices recorded for lambs weighing 50kg to 53kg ranged from €174 to €180 for a pen of super-quality Texel-cross lambs weighing 53kg.

Prices here averaged over the €3/kg mark, with a marked differential between similar-weight lambs of significantly varied quality.

Lambs weighing 40kg to 50kg recorded a 5c/kg higher average price per kilo. There was a similar variation in prices paid, with lambs weighing 46kg to 48kg selling from €146 to €158/head.

Kilkenny Mart

Prices in Kilkenny Mart reduced by an average of €4 to €6/head on Monday.

Auctioneer George Candler reported on a smaller entry of about 500 head.

Prices for lambs weighing 50kg to 54kg ranged from €163 to €168 in the main, with a top call of €175 for a batch of five lambs weighing 59kg on average.

Sample prices for lambs weighing 45kg to 48kg ranged from €154 to €159/head, with the best-quality lots rising to the low-€160s.

Cull ewes were a solid trade, with heavy fleshed ewes ranging in price from €165 to a top call of €198.

Factory trade

Factory quotes reduced by 10c/kg on average over the weekend, with base quotes for Monday ranging from €7.30/kg to €7.40/kg.

Some plants are sticking hard to base quotes and paying individual sellers not trading in groups from €7.40/kg to €7.50/kg for quality assured lamb, with groups and sellers trading at the higher end of the market securing an extra 5c/kg to 10c/kg. Wholesale buyers are, in cases, having to give more to secure the type of lambs they are looking for.

The ewe trade is solid, with base quotes unchanged at an average of €4/kg.

Individual sellers are securing returns of €4.10/kg to €4.15/kg, with sellers handling large numbers and trading at the higher end of the market trading anywhere from €4.20/kg to €4.40/kg.