Many marts which recorded significant numbers of spring lambs on offer before the Easter break are this week reporting much smaller offerings.

The weight of lambs on offer has also reduced significantly, which is not surprising given many producers were targeting the Easter trade with their best-quality lots. This has also contributed to far fewer high prices reported.

Some mart managers also report that with much less activity from butchers this week, prices have come back more in line with factory quotes.

Prices reported for heavier lambs weighing from 45kg to 48kg are averaging in the region of €195 to €220, with butcher or wholesale buyer attention needed to push lambs to the higher price.

Lambs weighing 42kg to 44kg are selling anywhere from €175 to €195, with quality and kill-out potential having a major influence on prices paid.

Lighter fleshed lambs weighing 38kg to 40kg are trading from the high-€150s to upwards of €170 for the best-quality lots on offer.

The hogget trade is steady in the main, with factory agents competing for smaller entries.

Some mart managers comment that agents are slightly more selective in their purchasing where hoggets are presented with a lower cover of flesh, but they are still keen not to let any sheep return home unsold.

Heavier fleshed hoggets weighing upwards of 52kg to 55kg are breaching the €200 mark in the main and selling to €215 on average, with heavy lots to €220 and over.

Hoggets weighing 50kg are selling anywhere from €190 to €205, with kill-out a greater influence for lighter lots.

Demand for store hoggets is unchanged. Good-quality hoggets weighing around the 40kg mark are trading in the main from €140 to €150/head, with hoggets of varying quality falling either side of this price range.

The cull ewe trade remains strong. A high percentage of fleshed ewes continue to top the €2/kg mark, selling all the way to €2.40/kg to €2.50/kg for the highest-quality lots.

Medium-quality ewes are selling from €1.50/kg to €1.85/kg, while boner-type ewes are selling back to €1/kg and under in cases.