Marts held as the week has progressed have recorded a trickier trade compared with last week’s performance.

The two categories of stock facing the greatest change are cull ewes and spring lambs.

With regards spring lambs, factory prices have not changed significantly, but reduced activity from butchers and wholesale buyers who have satisfied required supplies for the Easter trade has reduced prices at the top end of the market.

Spring lamb prices

Spring lamb prices for well-fleshed lambs with a good kill-out potential and weighing from 42kg to 48kg range on average from €115 to €120 with the weight.

Lots lacking flesh are selling back to €105 to €110 with the weight, while at the opposite end of the price range, the best-quality lambs are selling to €170 to €180.

Prices paid for lighter lambs weighing less than 40kg liveweight are closely aligned to the potential carcase weight, with lambs weighing 38kg to 40kg selling from €140 to €150 on average.

The cull ewe trade has been affected by live export buyers and those buying ewes to export in carcase form for niche orders reducing purchasing activity.

Marts which recorded the most vibrant trade last week have witnessed the greatest readjustment, with prices falling by as much as €25 to €50/head. As such, there is massive variation between sales and it is hard to get a handle on prices paid.

Heavy ewes weighing from 90kg to 100kg upwards are selling in the main from €180 to €230, with prices recorded as high as €240 to €250 on occasion. Fleshed ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg are trading from €120 to €150 and again there are prices reported falling either side of this range.

Hogget trade

The hogget trade is steady, with prices possibly €2 to €3 easier in cases. The general run of hoggets weighing from 50kg to 60kg are selling within a tight price bracket from €160 to €168, with top prices rising to and exceeding €170/head. Mart managers report entries in sales in the last week increasing by 10% to 25% in cases, with more ewe hoggets coming on stream along with significant numbers of spring lambs.

The trade for ewes with lambs at foot is unchanged. Twin lamb lots are mainly selling from €200 to €250 for lots with younger lambs and up to €300 for young ewes and strong lambs.