Upward momentum continues to build in the trade for finished lambs.

Base quotes have increased by 5c/kg to 10c/kg on last week, with Kildare Chilling well out in front with its base quote of €6.20/kg plus 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus.

Other plants are quoting a base of €6.00/kg plus their respective QA bonuses.

The majority of lambs are trading in excess of €6.20/kg, with regular sellers and those trading QA lambs in Kildare Chilling securing returns of €6.30/kg.

Producer groups and sellers handling big numbers and possessing greater negotiating power are receiving an additional 5c/kg to 10c/kg, while top prices are, on occasion, topping €6.40/kg when conformation bonuses are factored in to the price.

Tightening in numbers

Mart managers report a continued tightening in the number of finished lambs appearing in mart sales, with prices also strengthening to the tune of €1 to €2 per head.

Well-fleshed lambs weighing 48kg to 52kg are selling in the main from €130 to €137, with butcher and wholesale interest pushing prices to €140 and as high as €143 to €145 in isolated cases.

Northern and British trade

The trade in Northern Ireland has also firmed, with sellers pushing returns to £4.90/kg to £5.00/kg or the equivalent of €5.74/kg to €5.86/kg at 85.3p to the euro. Sellers trading at the top of the market are pushing returns above £5/kg.

The trade in Britain continues to regain ground lost in recent weeks.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board's (AHDB) standard quality quotation (SQQ) liveweight price for lambs increased by 5p/kg on Monday to average £2.33/kg (€2.73/kg), while deadweight prices range anywhere from £4.90/kg to £5.15/kg depending on location.