Heavy, well-finished lambs continue to see a premium being paid in marts ahead of factory trade, with lambs in the 50kg-plus bracket trading at €5 to €10 above factory prices.

The general consensus among mart managers is that supply is still failing to meet demand for factory agents, with the net result being that buyers are having to battle to secure numbers.

Fat cover and kill-out potential of lambs is continuing to affect prices, with 15c to 20c/kg more being secured for top-end, well-finished lambs compared with those lacking flesh.

Prices for lambs in the 45kg to 50kg weight bracket are on par or slightly ahead on last week, with the general price between €3 and €3.20/kg, with some clean, well-presented ewe lambs in even batches trading slightly above this.

Lambs in the 38kg to 45kg bracket with a good cover of flesh and a short period to finish are trading at a similar price, though lambs of this weight lacking flesh are struggling slightly to make the €3/kg mark.

Quality lowland lambs weighing from 50kg to 55kg ranges from €158 to €168/head, some €2/head to €3/ head higher than last week.

With most factories trading at €7/kg up to 23kg of a carcase weight, the mart trade is still ahead of that of the factory, with farmers said to be weighing up mart commission costs and haulage costs to factories in deciding the best outlet for these heavy types.

Finished hill-type lambs of similar weight or lowland lambs slightly lacking in flesh that would struggle to hit maximum weights are selling for €153 to €158/head.

Good-quality hill lambs remain firm at €2.50/kg, though small, light-framed lambs remain a trickier trade at €2/kg.

Ewe trade remains similar to last week and, as with heavy lambs, heavy ewes are seeing a price premium in trading through the mart.

Heavy fleshed ewes prices are generally at €1.50/kg to €1.70/kg, with lots at the 100kg mark or close to it seeing prices rise as high as €2/kg in some cases.

Scottish Blackface and Cheviot ewes are from 90c/kg to €1.30/kg. Light crossbred ewes with an average cover of flesh are from €1.30/kg to €1.60/kg.