Sheep farmers are resisting attempts by processors to cut lamb prices, with more animals being directed through the live ring.
Processors have moved to cut quotes by 20p/kg to 630p/kg midweek.
However, with marts returning deadweight prices in the region of 660p to 680p/kg, local plants are having to offer deals at 660p to 670p/kg to keep pace.
Some marts did see curtailed buying activity at sales held at the beginning of the week.
However, by Wednesday, the trade had hardened, with good-quality lambs in Ballymena Mart making £140 to £150 as buyers look to source numbers for the Eid Al-Adha festival at the end of June.
Alongside the usual competition from agents buying for Irish abattoirs, there are reports of increased buying activity from agents shipping lambs to Britain where prices are trading above the 700p/kg mark.
Irish plants also attempted to cut prices this week, but again, a strong live trade has kept a floor under the market, with lambs making €165 to €170 which converts to around £142 to £146 per head.