Limited supplies and rampant buying demand have pushed factory prices for spring lambs and fat hoggets to record highs.

Prices for spring lambs hit 840p to 860p/kg at local plants this week, making a 21kg carcase worth £180, up 40p to 50p/kg, or £8 to £10, on last week.

At the top of the market, there are isolated reports of 870p and 880p/kg being paid for top-quality lambs, ideally suited to butcher outlets. Sources in the trade indicate the 900p/kg barrier could soon be breached, with processors across Britain and Ireland struggling to secure throughput due to a wet spring and an early Ramadan festival which took out significant numbers of sheep.


In the marts, spring lambs are freely returning prices of £177 to £180 for slaughter-fit animals, with heavier lots making upwards to £190 at sales this week.

Factory agents have become much more active around the rings, competing with buyers looking to ship animals to abattoirs in Britain and the Republic of Ireland.


With lambs rising in value and limited in numbers, local plants remain dependent on hoggets.

Quotes are up 60p/kg to 760p/kg, with prices of 780p/kg and 800p/kg being paid to keep pace with the mart trade, where hoggets are freely making £180 to £200. Heavy hoggets over 30kg are being purchased above £200 for shipping to Britain.

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