The bank holiday Monday is getting this week’s processing off to a slower start, but with demand at such a strong level factories are keen to hit the ground running on Tuesday in a bid to try and compensate for a day’s less processing.

Many plants are planning a higher kill on Tuesday, provided there is scope to do so with some contending with a lower than desirable staff force.

Prices are solid, with a high percentage of lambs trading from €6.40/kg to €6.50/kg. There are lambs moving back to €6.30/kg to €6.35/kg in some plants from individual sellers with reduced negotiating power. Likewise, at the higher end of the market there are lambs trading from €6.55/kg to €6.60/kg, with deals also being completed for large batches to cover transport costs or with a higher carcase weight limit.

There is also a wide differential in ewe prices. Base quotes are generally in the region of €3.00/kg but there is some more life entering the market, with prices rising to €3.20/kg to €3.30/kg.

There is also more bite entering the live trade, with this outlet proving a valuable alternative for producers struggling to deal directly with factories on price.

Northern trade

Northern plants are trying to keep a lid on price but are being forced to offer deals to agents handling large numbers to ward off the interest from buyers purchasing lambs for direct slaughter in southern plants. Base quotes are in the region of £5/kg or the equivalent of €5.93/kg at Monday afternoon’s exchange rate of 84.3p to the euro, while top prices are rising 10p/kg to 15p/kg higher.