The trade in marts on Monday and Tuesday was pretty positive considering talk of significant price reductions.

Some marts reported a relatively solid trade, helped in cases by interest from buyers active for ram lambs.

Other mart managers have reported average prices slipping by €2 to €3/head, while a small number of marts and mainly those recording higher prices last week have reported prices falling by €5 to €6/head.

Heavier fleshed lambs weighing from 48kg to 52kg are trading in the main from €167 to €173/head, with select lots continuing to hit €175 or higher.

Lambs weighing 45kg to 46kg are not far off this price range, but there is a wider price range as you drop down in the weight, with lambs selling in hill areas from €155 to €160 and from €160 to €168 on average for lowland lambs, with the best lots reaching €170.

Well-fleshed lowland lambs weighing 43kg to 44kg are trading from €156 to €166, with the kill-out potential of these lambs dictating sale values. Prices are falling back to €148 to €150 for hill-crosses, while fleshed lambs weighing in the region of 40kg to 41kg are trading anywhere from €100 to €114 with the weight.

The greatest differential is in prices paid for store lambs. Lambs weighing from 33kg to 35kg have hit as high as €130, while in some sales horned and crossbred lambs are selling on average from €3.00/kg to €3.30/kg.

The cull ewe trade is holding solid, with no change in prices paid. Heavy ewes weighing upwards of 95kg continue to trade in the main from €185 to €210, with select lots rising to €220 to €230/head and higher in isolated cases.

Ewes weighing in the region of 85kg are capable of trading from €150 to €160 for average-quality fleshed ewes and as high as €170 to €180 for well-conformed ewes with a good kill-out potential.

Lighter fleshed ewes weighing around the 75kg mark are trading from €120 to €135, with lots lacking flesh selling from €100 upwards. Fleshed Scottish Blackface ewes weighing 47kg to 55kg are trading from €1.50/kg to €1.85/kg in the main.