It has been a much more positive week’s trading in sheep marts. Mart managers report prices increasing by anywhere from €4 to €10/head.

The scale of the increase is influenced by the extent of reductions in recent weeks, with markets adjusting to improved demand and prices stabilising at a higher level.

Factory agents are showing much more bite, with supplies of well-fleshed lambs remaining relatively tight.

The general run of prices for fleshed lambs weighing from 48kg to 52kg is from €137 to €145, with select lots of lambs attracting butcher attention and ewe lambs with breeding potential rising to €150 and higher.

Lighter lambs

Lighter lambs weighing 45kg to 47kg are trading from the mid-€120s for lambs lacking flesh to €130 to €140 for lambs with a good cover of flesh.

Prices for forward store lambs weighing 41kg to 44kg are being strongly influenced by flesh cover. Those in good condition and suitable for a quick finish are selling from €118 to €126, with lambs that could possibly by drafted selling to €130 and higher.

Lots lacking flesh and plainer-quality types at the lower end of the weight range are selling back to €110.

Many mart managers report an increase in demand for store lambs.

General prices for lowland lambs in the 30kg to 40kg weight bracket range from €2.80/kg to €3.00/kg, with the best-quality lots and ewe lambs with breeding potential selling to €3.10/kg and poor-quality types are selling in small numbers back to €2.60/kg.

Slowly building

Numbers of ewe hoggets appearing are slowly building, but remain low with the exception of special sales. Prices are unchanged, with the best-quality stronger hoggets weighing 65kg to 70kg upwards selling from €200 to €240 and rising to €250 to €260 for excellent-quality lots.

Medium-weight ewe hoggets are selling from €180 to €200/head, while plainer-quality, crossbred and light hoggets are to €150 to €160, but numbers are low.

There is more life in the trade for cull ewes with prices increasing by €5 to €10 in cases.