Reports indicate that a high percentage of quality assured (QA) lambs are trading at the start of this week at a price range of €5.90/kg to €6.10/kg.

Base quotes range from €5.75/kg to €5.90/kg, leaving the majority of producers with QA lambs to trade moving from €5.90/kg to €6.00/kg.

It is regular sellers and producer groups that are pushing prices beyond the €6/kg mark, with prices at the higher end of the market reported at €6.10/kg.

There are small numbers of lambs trading for 5c/kg to 10c/kg higher by merit of conformation bonuses or where contributions towards transport costs are factored in to the price received.

Reducing numbers

Reports from producer groups and mart sales point to the rate at which lambs are coming on to the market possibly reducing on recent weeks.

A number of marts held on Monday reported lower throughput of all classes of sheep.

The trade for slaughter-fit lambs was steady to marginally easier in cases, with lamb quality and butcher or wholesale activity having a direct influence on prices paid.

Athenry Mart sale

Factory-fit lambs weighing 44kg to 47kg traded in the main from €114 to €120, with some better-quality lambs weighing 48kg to 49kg selling to €126 to €128.

There was a significant difference between prices paid for factory-type lambs and wholesale butcher-type lambs, with fleshed top-quality lambs weighing 50kg to 54kg selling from €130 to €140, with a handful of excellent-quality types selling from €140 to €142.

Meanwhile, forward stores weighing from 38kg to 41kg sold from €101 to €110 per head.

Kilkenny Mart sale

Kilkenny Mart’s entry of 750 sheep reduced by 350 head on last week’s sale and reflects the reduction in numbers seen at the start of this week.

Auctioneer George Candler reported that the trade for quality butcher-type lambs was improved on the week, with smaller numbers also adding more competition.

A selection of top-quality lambs weighing from 49kg to 53kg exceeded the €140 mark and sold to a top of €148.

Similar-weight but plainer-quality lambs sold back to €126 to €128.

Quality also dictated prices paid for lambs weighing 44kg to 47kg, with prices ranging from €111 to €125, with a few lots of ewe lambs attracting a premium of €5 to €7 per head higher.

Meanwhile, store lambs sold in the region of €2.60/kg to €2.80/kg, while cull ewes did not match the high prices of recent weeks and traded to a top of €151.