Sheep prices have regained much of the ground lost from the fall in prices experienced a few weeks ago.

Top prices are now not far off the levels recorded before the dip in the trade, with reports of regular sellers securing an additional 5c/kg for large batches of hoggets this week.

The general run of prices at the higher end of the market ranges from €6.35/kg to €6.40/kg, while select deals are reported 5c/kg higher.

However, factories are reluctant to pass €6.40/kg and these higher prices are largely confined to regular sellers handling very large numbers.

Last week’s lift in price at the top end of the market has also trickled back down along the trade

It is also worth noting that some of the deals recorded at €6.35/kg to €6.40/kg include allowances on transport, putting the top prices paid at the equivalent of €6.45/kg to €6.50/kg.

Last week’s lift in price at the top end of the market has also trickled back down along the trade.

Sellers handling smaller numbers but trading on a regular basis are securing €6.30/kg to €6.35/kg, while prices paid to producers with low negotiating power are generally upwards of €6.15/kg to €6.20/kg for quality assured lamb.

Sellers should bargain hard

IFA national sheep chair Sean Dennehy said numbers are tightening considerably, putting producers in a much stronger selling position.

“Sellers should bargain hard. Prices for quality assured hoggets range from €6.30 to €6.40/kg, with higher deals for groups and larger lots. Cull ewes range from €2.80 to €3.10/kg,” he said.

Throughput reduction

The tightness in supply is again reflected in another significant reduction in throughput.

Last week’s kill was recorded at just 38,573 head. This is a reduction of 5,086 head on the week and a fall of 13,506 head on numbers handled a fortnight ago.

Ewe and ram throughput has fallen by another 1,000 head to 4,898, with the drop-off in throughput driven by fewer hoggets in the market.

NI trade

The trade in Northern Ireland has strengthened, with base quotes rising 10p/kg to 20p/kg.

This leaves the top base quote at £5.50/kg or the equivalent of €6.28/kg at an exchange rate of 87.6p to the euro.

The trade in Britain has moved upwards again

Prices at the top end of the market are 10p/kg higher, with factories lifting prices paid in a bid to ward off strong interest from producers purchasing sheep on behalf of southern plants.

These buyers are very active in mart sales and are inserting a strong floor under the live trade.

The trade in Britain has moved upwards again, with the old season standard quality quotation (SQQ) price increasing by an average of 4p/kg to £2.73/kg (equivalent of €3.12/kg liveweight).

Deadweight prices are solid, with prices recorded at £5.70/kg to £5.80/kg (equivalent of €6.51/kg to €6.62/kg) or higher in cases.