The lamb trade appears in a steadier position following prices reducing earlier in the week by anywhere from 10c/kg to 20c/kg.

The higher price reduction was in plants trading at the upper end of the scale, with Kildare Chilling reducing its base quote by 20c/kg to €6/kg.

The two Irish Country Meats plants in Camolin and Navan are back 10c/kg to a base of €5.90/kg, with reports indicating a similar trend in Kepak Athleague, which continues not to quote, and Dawn Ballyhaunis.

A high percentage of quality assured (QA) lambs are trading from €6.10/kg to €6.20/kg.

Producer groups are securing returns of €6.30/kg or slightly higher when conformation bonuses or contributions towards transport costs are taken into account.

Reports indicate there has been an increase in the number of lambs in the market and that this is what has caused the weakening in the trade.

Kill figures

Last week’s kill was recorded at 63,976, which is an increase of 3,315 head on the previous week.

The lamb kill actually increased by almost 5,000 head, with the overall figure hiding the fact that ewe and ram throughput reduced by about 1,500 head to 8,671.

This follows two weeks of a ewe and ram kill in excess of 10,000 head.

The increase in numbers has allowed factories to put downward pressure on price, with quotes falling by 10c/kg more and ranging in the main from €3.00/kg to €3.10/kg.

A high percentage of ewes traded by individual producers are trading from €3.00/kg to €3.20/kg, with select lots rising to €3.30/kg.

Producers should continue to weigh up the type of ewes on hand and explore if the factory or mart is the best outlet.

NI trade

Northern plants have also reduced quotes for Thursday by 10p/kg to 15p/kg.

Base quotes have dropped to £4.80/kg (€5.58/kg), but producers should note that prices of £4.90/kg to £5.00/kg (€5.70/kg to €5.81/kg) were still being reported frequently on Wednesday.

Buyers purchasing on behalf of southern plants are helping to keep a floor under the trade and limit the easing in mart prices to £2 to £3 per head.

The number of sheep exported south for direct slaughter was recorded at 8,217 head, marginally (increase of 67 head) above the previous week.

The trade in Britain is holding relatively steady, although there is some variation between regions. The latest AHDB price report lists average R3 lambs at £5.29/kg (€6.08/kg).