The trend which has emerged over the last three to four weeks of factories pulling lamb quotes at the end of the week has continued, with quotes offered on Friday falling 20c/kg to a base price of €6.80/kg to €6.90/kg.

When quality assurance (QA) bonuses are added into the equation, it leaves a high numbers of farmers trading individually and without strong negotiating power trading in the region of €6.95/kg to €7.00/kg.

Those selling through producer groups or regular sellers handling large numbers are moving lambs at the start of this week at a price range of €7.05/kg to €7.15/kg, with isolated deals exceeding this level when all conformation bonuses and allowances on transport are taken into account.

Reduction affecting mart trade

The reduction in factory quotes is having a knock-on effect on the mart trade. Sales held over the weekend and on Monday have reported prices for factory-weight lambs falling anywhere from €3 to €8 per head.

Heavier well-fleshed lambs weighing 48kg upwards are typically selling from €147 to €152, with isolated sales rising to €155.

Prices paid for lambs weighing 44kg to 46kg are heavily influenced by quality.

Top prices range from €94 to €100 over the weight, with up to €102 over being paid for excellent-quality lots.

In contrast, lambs lacking flesh are trading back to €85 over the weight.

Lighter lambs suffer

The category of lambs which have suffered the greatest fall are lighter lambs in the 40kg to 42kg bracket and possessing an average cover of flesh.

Prices here range from as low as €80 over to the typical price range for good-quality types of €87 to €94 over.

Store lambs are starting to appear in greater numbers, with store lamb buyers now also active.

Presentation is having a big influence on price. Nice-quality lowland lambs presented in batches of an even size, weight and type and weighing in the region of 35kg are trading from €108 to €113.

Cull ewes excelling

The trade for cull ewes remains excellent and continues to be dominated by buyers purchasing ewes for export either live or in carcase form.

Heavy ewes weighing 90kg upwards are selling from €130 to €170 on average, with large-framed ewes weighing in excess of 105kg selling from €170 to €185 on average.

Meanwhile, lighter fleshed ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg are trading from €120 for average-quality types to €130 to €140 for the better-quality lots.

Factory ewe quotes remain unchanged, with base quotes ranging from €3.20/kg to €3.30/kg, with the exception of Ballon Meats which has steadily quoted €3.50/kg in recent weeks.

The other factories are also prepared to pay a similar price to producers supplying on a regular basis.

Northern trade

Northern Ireland factories are trying to take another 10p/kg off prices following last week’s midweek cut of 20p/kg.

Base quotes are starting the week at a price of £5.60/kg or €6.54/kg at 85.6p to the euro. But there are still returns of £5.80/kg being secured at the higher end of the market.