The performance of the sheep trade for the year to date continues to set price records, with spring lambs now added to the list.
Factory lamb prices range in general from €7.80/kg to €8/kg, with some deals completed at a 10c/kg to 15c/kg higher level with regular suppliers supplying high numbers.
While factories have been keen to get their hands on spring lambs, they remain a small component of overall throughput, with hoggets dominating the trade.
The trade for hoggets had eased slightly in places at the end of last week and start of this week, with prices ranging from €7.15/kg to €7.30/kg.
Reports on Tuesday point to factories looking to secure large numbers and willing to pay up to €7.40/kg to €7.50/kg
However, reports on Wednesday point to supplies tightening significantly, with factory appetite increasing as they start to fill orders for the Ramadan festival, which starts on 12 April and finishes on 12 May.
Reports on Tuesday point to factories looking to secure large numbers and willing to pay up to €7.40/kg to €7.50/kg or the equivalent when allowances on transport are included to secure sales.
Factories are particularly anxious to get numbers on hand for Thursday and early next week, with processing significantly disrupted by Easter festivities.
The recent significant increase in price, which incidentally lifted the Irish farmgate price to the highest level among the main sheep producing countries (see page 45) in Europe, also attracted more sheep on to the market.
Last week’s throughput increased by 6,490 head to 49,846.
The ewe trade is also receiving a lift from a combination of tight supplies in the market and strong demand in export markets
The tightness in supplies is reflected in the kill running almost 6,000 head behind the corresponding week in 2020, despite prices running anywhere from €1.60/kg to €1.80/kg higher.
The ewe trade is also receiving a lift from a combination of tight supplies in the market and strong demand in export markets being further strengthened by Ramadan.
Quotes range from €3.00/kg to €3.30/kg and prices on the ground are equally variable, ranging from €3.20/kg to €3.40/kg and higher in cases.
Hoggets are trading from £6.20/kg to £6.40/kg
The mart trade continues to set the pace for heavy fleshed ewes.
The trade in Northern Ireland is also strengthening, with quotes not reflecting prices paid.
Hoggets are trading from £6.20/kg to £6.40/kg (€7.28/kg to €7.52/kg), while spring lamb prices range anywhere from £6.70/kg to £6.90/kg in the main (€7.87 to €8.10/kg), but higher has been secured in rare circumstances for top-quality lambs.
The number of sheep travelling south for direct slaughter reduced by over 1,000 head to 3,141, while the number of sheep exported to Britain for direct slaughter and further feeding was not far off 2,000 head last week.