The sheep trade continues to defy the seasonal price trend for the time of year, with prices continuing on an upward trajectory.

Factory agents have been busy in marts and direct farm sales and are actively trying to attract higher numbers forward.

Prices have increased by 5c/kg to 10c/kg since last Thursday.

A significant differential remains between prices at the higher end of the market and what individual sellers with lower negotiating power can secure.

There is also a significant difference between the prices different plants are willing to quote.

General prices

The general run of prices for lambs traded by producer groups and sellers for stronger negotiating power ranges from €6.30/kg to €6.40/kg, with select prices rising to €6.50/kg where conformation or producer bonuses or allowances on transport are taken into account.

Sellers with lower negotiating power or non-quality assured (QA) lambs are trading in the region of €6.15/kg to €6.25/kg.

Ewe trade

The ewe trade remains firm, with quotes remaining in the region of €3.30/kg to €3.50/kg and differing between plants.

Prices range from €3.40/kg to €3.50/kg in the main, with top prices for larger batches rising to €3.60/kg.

Sellers should weigh up the best outlet, with the mart trade continuing to excel for heavy fleshed ewes and possibly a better outlet for heavy carcase ewes that will kill above the weight limits imposed by factories at 40kg to 46kg carcase weight.