The trade for finished lambs has been much stronger since the weekend, with a 20c/kg to 30c/kg increase in factory prices giving agents much more purchasing power.

The increase in purchasing power is evident in marts with a positive butcher trade, with mart managers reporting factory agents competing for all types of fleshed lambs and forcing butchers to pay more.

Prices for fleshed lambs weighing 50kg to 54kg range on average from €150 to €156/head, with a selection of top-quality and heavier lots rising to €160 and higher on occasion.

Lambs of a similar weight but lacking flesh are selling back to the low-€140s.

Fleshed lots weighing 47kg to 49kg are trading from €138 to €148, with kill-out potential having a major say on price.

Short-keep stores

The trade for short-keep stores is firm, but in some marts there are fewer buyers present for longer-keep stores, with demand influenced by the prospect of higher finishing costs, with adverse weather playing havoc with performance while grazing.

Prices for good-quality lowland stores continue to range from €2.75/kg to €3.00/kg.

The trade for crossbred lambs in hill areas has lifted, with prices ranging from €2.20/kg to €2.40/kg for light horned lambs to €2.50/kg to €2.70/kg for better-quality types.

Scotch lambs remain a difficult trade. Prices range from €1.60/kg to €1.90/kg for poorer-quality lambs weighing less than 30kg that will take a lot of minding to bring on while heavier and better-quality lots are rising above €2/kg and selling to €2.10/kg to €2.15/kg in cases.

The cull ewe trade is also benefitting from an increase in the factory lamb trade.

Heavy ewes

Buyers specialising in the trade for heavy ewes have also been more active, with prices for ewes weighing around the 90kg mark ranging from €140 to €160 and rising to €170 to €175 for ewes weighing upwards of 100kg.

Medium-weight ewes are trading from €100 to €125, while the trade for ewes lacking significant flesh and Scotch ewes ranges from €0.90/kg to €1.15/kg.