With lamb prices continuing to face significant downward pressure, including prices falling by another 20c/kg, it is easy to see why ewes are the highlight of the trade. The general run of factory quotes for ewes ranges from €3.30/kg to €3.50/kg. This leaves a heavy carcase ewe weighing 45kg carcase weight trading from €148.50 to €157.50.

Prices at the top end of the market have been reported at €3.60/kg to €3.70/kg in isolated cases, but it’s worth noting that some plants are implementing an upper carcase weight limit of 40kg. At the other end of the weight range, regular sellers are having some success in negotiating an upper weight limit of 50kg carcase weight.

For producers who are facing significant challenges in negotiating with factories on price or carcase weight, it is worth considering the mart trade, with the heavy fleshed ewes continuing to meet a lightning trade. Large farmers' ewes weighing in excess of 90kg are trading from €140 to €175, with ewes weighing upwards of 105kg selling to €190 and higher on occasion.

Lamb price pull

Lamb prices have eased by a further 20c/kg since the end of last week, with quotes starting the week on a base of €6.30/kg in the main. Producers with lower negotiating power are trading in the main from €6.30/kg to €6.40/kg, as sellers with greater negotiating power or trading through groups are pushing top prices to €6.50/kg to €6.55/kg.

The trade in the north has also come under severe pressure in the last week, with prices falling by 50p/kg to 60p/kg. Quotes have fallen to £5/kg or €5.82/kg at Monday evening’s exchange rate of 85.8p to the euro. There are still some producers with good negotiating power securing 10p/kg to 15p/kg higher. Prices in England have also collapsed, with base quotes falling by upwards of 80p/kg during the week and reported around a base of £5/kg.