There are varying reports from mart sales this week. While the general trend is some pressure on lamb prices, reports on the extent of this pressure range anywhere from lambs easing by €2 to €3/head on the previous week to as high as €8/head.

Agents are still exhibiting a strong appetite for sheep, but have been keen to try to bring prices closer in line with factory quotes.

Buyers purchasing lambs and ewes for live export have also been quieter this week and not willing to compete to the same level.

Lambs weighing 43kg to 45kg range in the main from €180 to €190/head, with €5 variance either side of this range depending on lamb condition.

Heavier lambs weighing upwards of 48kg to 50kg are trading on average from €190 to €210 for good-quality continental types, with top prices rising to €212 to €216.

Lighter lambs weighing 40kg to 42kg are selling from €160 for lots with poor slaughter potential to the mid-€170s and higher for well-fleshed types.

The number of hoggets appearing in sales has reduced markedly again this week, with some sales now reporting only a few lots on offer.

Heavy hoggets weighing upwards of 50kg and capable of hitting maximum carcase payment limits are trading from €205 to €215, with the best-quality lots including ewe hoggets with breeding potential rising to €220 and higher up to midweek.

Cull ewes are holding firm for factory-type ewes, but ewes suitable for live export have been a bit more sluggish in some sales, with top prices topping out at €210 to €220 for heavy ewes.

Some sales continue to report choice lots rising to €2.20/kg to €2.40/kg, but numbers have been far lower in recent days.

Fleshed ewes are trading in the main from €1.90/kg to €2.10/kg, with lighter and crossbred lots with an average cover of flesh selling from €1.70/kg to €2/kg.

Horned ewes are trading from €1.30/kg to €1.60/kg in the main for well-fleshed heavier ewes, with light horned ewes lacking flesh back to €1/kg and lower.