Sheep farmers have been left reeling after another €10/head was wiped off the value of lambs over the last week. Factories have pulled quotes by 50c/kg, with 20c/kg of the price reduction occurring at the weekend and another 30c/kg on Thursday.

Base quotes for Thursday are in the region of €7/kg, with opening prices for quality-assured lambs ranging from €7.10/kg to €7.20/kg.

Regular sellers and groups are securing returns of €7.30/kg, while at the top end of the market, prices are reported at €7.40/kg to €7.50/kg.

The latest price fall of 50c/kg brings the total cuts inflicted over the last four weeks to about €1.80/kg, or between €35 and €40/head on a typical lamb.

Reports indicate that some panic among producers and drafting of lambs at lighter liveweights is contributing to higher kill figures.

There are hopes that with weaning taking place in greater frequency that it might slow down the rate of drafting and possibly tighten supplies.

Northern Ireland

The trade is also in freefall in Northern Ireland, with base quotes falling by 30p/kg to 50p/kg.

Base quotes on Thursday are in the region of £5.50/kg, or the equivalent of €6.46/kg.

However, many producers are securing returns of 10p/kg to 20p/kg above base quotes, with top prices reported in the region of £5.70/kg to £5.80/kg.

The number of sheep being drafted for slaughter is presently low due to the public holiday on 12 July in Northern Ireland.

Plants are not processing on Friday, while the majority of marts have not held sales this week. Processing activity is expected to return to normal from Tuesday onwards.