This week’s sheep trade is starting in a more positive manner following significant price cuts inflicted at the end of last week.

Factories appear anxious to get their hands on higher numbers and have had to reverse part of the price cuts to entice numbers forward.

This is reflected in Kildare Chilling increasing its base quote on Monday morning by 20c/kg to €6.70/kg plus its 10c/kg quality assurance bonus.

This quote is to 22.5kg carcase weight and the plant is also quoting a top price of €145 for carcases exceeding 25kg, which represents an increase of €5 per carcase on last Thursday’s quote.

Other quotes

The remaining plants are quoting anywhere from €6.40/kg to €6.60/kg, but there is a wide range in prices being paid across the market depending on producer negotiating power and the appetite of factories.

Prices of €6.70/kg to €6.80/kg have been more commonly quoted as the day has progressed for lambs moving on Tuesday, while at the top end of the market, a price of €6.90/kg to €7.00/kg has been paid to large-scale finishers for big batches numbering in excess of 100 head or willing to move lambs at short notice.

Mart trade

There has also been more life in the mart trade, with factory agents more willing to compete than they have been in recent days.

Sales held on Monday have also been significantly smaller than last week, where sale entries were boosted by lambs held over from the Christmas break.

Athenry Mart

In Athenry Mart, Co Galway, lambs weighing 47kg to 50kg sold on average from €97 to €103 over the weight, with a selection of excellent-quality lots attracting butcher buyer attention rising to €106 to €108 over the weight, while a top price of €172 was paid for a super pen of lambs weighing 55kg.

Fermoy Mart

There was also a much livelier trade recorded in Fermoy Mart, Co Cork, on Monday, with a top price of €174 paid for excellent-quality lambs weighing 55kg.

Other standout prices for lambs weighing 51kg to 55kg ranged from €162 to €168 for good butcher-type lambs, while slightly lesser-quality lots sold from €98 to €104 with the weight.

Ennis Mart

The general run of prices for lambs weighing 47kg to 50kg in Ennis Mart, Co Clare, was from €147 to €152, while a few lots of heavier lambs sold to €155 to €156/head. Meanwhile, store lambs sold in the region of €3/kg for lambs weighing about 38kg to 40kg.