Fat lamb prices are up again this week, rising by £10 to £15 in the marts as buying demand ramps up ahead of the Islamic Eid Al-Adha festival on 9 July.

Live sales held earlier this week saw lambs moving back above the £130 mark, with £134 to £138 widely available in Ballymena on Wednesday morning.

Local meat plants have been slow to respond to the upturn in the marts and continued to quote 600p/kg midweek, down 30p/kg on last week and 70p/kg below quotes in mid-June.

However, farmers are resisting these cuts and deals of 620p to 630p/kg have been done to secure numbers.

This keeps local factories generally in line with those in Britain where lambs are making upwards to 640p/kg.

Cattle quotes

Factories continue to talk the beef trade down, with 10p/kg taken off some base quotes.

However, price deals on offer to finishers are holding firm around the 450p/kg mark, amid question marks over supply in the coming weeks.

Last week saw another big kill of 9,491 cattle, to include 2,139 cows. The overall beef kill is running 15% ahead of the same period in 2021, with the cow kill up an unprecedented 20%.

Regular finishers indicate that factory agents are in regular contact around numbers coming forward over the remainder of the summer.

Some farmers believe that a cut to base quotes is an attempt to flush more cattle out, but initially it is the likes of Angus finishers who will take a hit given bonuses are paid on top of base quotes. Ultimately it will be difficult to take prices down if numbers tighten significantly.

However, sources in the trade point to poor beef sales over the last few weeks, as consumers respond to a cost of living crisis.

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