The sheep trade continues to generate upward momentum, with base quotes for Tuesday increasing by 20c/kg.

Kildare Chilling continues to set the pace, with the factory’s 20c/kg increase leaving it top in terms of quotes offered at a base of €6.50/kg plus its 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) payment.

The two Irish Country Meats plants in Camolin and Navan are matching Kildare Chilling’s price increase, with their base quotes also lifting by 20c/kg to €6.35/kg plus the plants’ higher 20c/kg QA payment.

The other main processing plants are also reported as increasing their base quote by 20c/kg this week.

The latest movement sees farmers trading quality-assured hoggets secure returns of €6.55/kg to €6.60/kg without any negotiating.

Producers with numbers on hand or trading through groups will now be paid in the region of €6.65-6.70/kg, with top prices reaching €6.80/kg when conformation bonuses are added into the equation for groups working on such a payment programme.

Specialist finishers

Specialist finishers and agents handling larger numbers are securing an additional 5c/kg to 10c/kg in cases, with some such sellers now reportedly trying to push returns towards the €7/kg mark for very large consignments.

The latest strengthening in the trade is being underpinned by greater demand for the start of the Ramadan festival, which begins on Wednesday, while reports indicate that a significant improvement in British lamb prices is providing more scope to compete and leverage higher returns in key export markets.

Mart trade

Prices paid in mart sales held over the weekend and on Monday are reported as firming by €3-5 per head.

The general run of prices for well-fleshed hoggets ranges from €99 to €103 over the weight, with agents keen to source higher numbers.

Mart managers report sale entries tightening on the week and this appears to be another factor helping to insert more life in to the trade.