Downward pressure on factory prices is stifling the mart trade. Prices are down anywhere from €3 to €8/head, depending on the extent of the trade during the previous week.
There is still big variation in prices being reported from sales this week.
Marts which have endured the greatest adjustment are those reliant solely on factory buyers.
Upper prices reported here are in the region of €135 to €145, with certain marts reporting an upper price range of €125 to €140 for factory-weight lambs.
Vibrant mart trade
In contrast, some marts continue to report a vibrant trade for heavy and well-fleshed butcher-type lambs, with prices ranging from the mid- to high-€150s bracket.
Lambs weighing 44kg to 46kg are selling anywhere from €110 to €125, with kill-out potential having a major influence on price.
Lighter lambs weighing in the region of 40kg to 42kg are trading from €2.85/kg to €3.08/kg for good-quality lots.
Store lamb prices also vary greatly across marts. Well-presented lowland lambs weighing 33kg to 37kg which are evenly batched on size, weight and type are trading from €2.80/kg to €3.00/kg, while plainer-quality types are back in cases to €2.70/kg.
The trade for cull ewes has also eased in line with significant cuts in factory prices.
Top prices reported for heavy fleshed ewes are now in the region of €150 to €190, with isolated reports of ewes hitting €200/head.
Ewes weighing 85kg to 90kg are trading from €120 to €150, while lighter ewes weighing around 75kg are averaging around the €100/head mark.
Entries of hoggets are slowly building, but still remain small in the context of overall sale numbers.
There is a solid demand for top-quality hoggets, with prices for well-grown heavy hoggets weighing upwards of 70kg to 75kg selling anywhere from €200 to €250/head.
Lighter hoggets possessing good breeding potential range from €175 to €200, while average-quality and crossbred hoggets weighing back to 55kg are selling from €150 to €170, but numbers are small.