The recent upward momentum in fleshed lamb prices continues, with the majority of marts recording price increases of €1 to €3/head for slaugher-fit lambs.

Variation remains between prices paid in marts with a vibrant butcher trade and attracting better-quality lambs and marts where there is lower competition from butcher or wholesale buyers.

Prices for fleshed lowland lambs weighing upwards of 50kg are averaging in excess of €150/head with the general run being €100 to €104 with the weight.

There are deals back to €97 to €98 over for lesser-quality lots and small numbers of excellent-quality lambs are rising to €107 to €108 over the weight.

Prices paid for lighter lambs depend strongly on flesh cover. Fleshed lambs weighing 47kg to 49kg are trading from €95 to €103 with the weight, while lighter lots weighing 44kg to 46kg are trading on average from €90 to €96 with the weight. Lambs lacking flesh cover are back €5 to €8 on this.

Agents are keen to get their hands on higher numbers and are active for fleshed lambs weighing 42kg to 43kg.

In some cases, this is generating competition with buyers looking to source short-keep lambs.

Store lambs weighing upwards of 40kg are trading on average from €2.60/kg to €2.85/kg, with certain batches of well-presented lambs topping this.

There is a similar range for lighter, good-quality stores, with prices continuing to hit €3/kg for lots with breeding potential.

Plainer-quality lowland or crossbred lambs lacking significant flesh cover are trading from €2.30/kg to €2.60/kg. Light Scottish Blackface lambs remain a very challenging trade and are selling anywhere from €1.70/kg to €2.15/kg for male lambs.

Cull ewe prices are unchanged. Heavy, quality ewes weighing 85kg to 90kg continue to trade from €125 to €140 with small numbers exceeding this level. Lighter ewes weighing around 75kg to 80kg are trading from €1.30/kg to €1.50/kg, while ewes lacking flesh are selling back to €1/kg for heavier types and back to 70c/kg for light Scottish Blackface ewes.