Growing competition for slaughter-fit and store lambs continues to boost prices recorded in the live ring.
Price reports at sales held in recent days generally point to a €2 to €4/head increase on last week.
Numbers forwarded for sale are variable and where marts have smaller shows, this is underpinning prices further.
Factory agents are extremely active on heavy fleshed lots being sold off grass to counteract lower kill-outs.
Well-fleshed lambs weighing 50kg and upwards are trading from €140 to €150
Butcher type and wholesaler lambs are also harder to come by and this is intensifying bidding competition.
Well-fleshed lambs weighing 50kg and upwards are trading from €140 to €150 with choice select lots for the butcher counter pushing on to €152 at the top of the market.
Lambs weighing 47kg to 49kg are trading from €134 to €144 on average for better quality lots. Plainer-quality types and lambs lacking flesh continue to sell back to €125.
Lighter lambs carrying flesh at 44kg to 46kg liveweight are selling from €125 to €138 on average
Processing demand is robust and as such, factory agents are happy to purchase light lambs to maintain throughput.
This is having a knock-on effect on store lamb prices as extra buying competition from factory agents is pricing farmers out of the market for short-keep animals.
Lighter lambs carrying flesh at 44kg to 46kg liveweight are selling from €125 to €138 on average. Lowland store lambs weighing 36kg to 40kg are trading from €2.80/kg to €3/kg with ewe lambs trading to €3.20/kg to €3.30/kg. Crossbred lambs are trading on average from €2.60/kg to €2.90/kg with Scottish Blackface lambs an improving trade on €2.40/kg to €2.70/kg.
Cull ewes are rock solid with no major change in price across the country. Heavy ewes weighing above 90kg are trading from €130 to €155 on average. Select lots are making €170. Medium weight ewes are trading from €100 to €125, with hill breeds trading from €1/kg to €1.20/kg.
Lowland hoggets are making €140 to €160 for plainer types
Hogget numbers are tailing off at pace in lowland areas, but they are significant numbers still appearing in hill areas.
Cheviot and Scottish Blackface hoggets are making €130 to €190 depending on quality. Lowland hoggets are making €140 to €160 for plainer types with as much as €190 paid on good-quality sorts. Small numbers of excellent-quality lots are still above €200/head.