New record prices have been set in the majority of marts for spring lambs over the last week, with prices topping the €5/kg mark.

The trade for all classes of sheep is vibrant with hogget prices of €8.70/kg to €9/kg running almost €2/kg higher than in 2023, while cull ewe prices are also running at record levels.

Adverse weather and a continued move away from spring lamb production have also limited numbers available while the earlier Easter date is a factor.

The trade has been dominated by mart sales with producers capitalising on keen demand from butchers and wholesalers.

Top-quality spring lambs weighing 40kg to 47kg have ranged in prices from €4.70/kg to €5.20/kg, with top prices rising as high as €5.50/kg to €5.70/kg on occasion. Heavier and plainer-quality lambs have sold back to between €3.80/kg and €4.20/kg.

The cull ewe trade is flying with fleshed ewes breaching the €2/kg mark and selling for as high as €2.50/kg.

The trade is being helped by a booming trade in Britain and ewes being exported live.

The AHDB reports that British hogget prices jumped by another 49p/kg in the last week, bringing price increases in the last fortnight to close to £1/kg.

Prices are currently averaging £8.34/kg, or the equivalent of €9.73/kg at 85.7p to the euro.

With buying for Easter passed, attention next week will turn to the end of the Ramadan festival on 9 April.