Marts located in hill and mountain areas have seen the number of Scottish Blackface lambs coming on stream increase steadily in recent weeks, with peak throughput expected from now until the end of October.
Sale prospects for light lambs are uncertain.
Small-framed lambs weighing from 20kg to 28kg are selling from €1.20/kg to €1.50/kg for male lambs, with ewe lambs meeting a livelier trade.
Demand for heavier lambs and lambs with greater scope to reach heavier carcase weights with a shorter period of feeding are selling from €1.60/kg to €2/kg, with the best-quality lots exceeding €2/kg.
It is a similar trend with crossbred lambs, albeit average prices are higher. Nice-quality lambs are selling from €2.20/kg to €2.40/kg on average, with poorer-quality light lots back to €1.80/kg to €2/kg.
Demand for lowland store lambs is firm, with average prices ranging from €2.65/kg to €2.85/kg and rising to €3/kg for short-keep well-presented wether and ewe lambs.
Prices for lambs weighing upwards of 50kg are from €135 to €144 in the main, with select lots of butcher-type lambs rising to €150 and higher.
Lambs very short of flesh are selling back to €130 and under. Lots weighing 47kg to 49kg range anywhere from €130 to €138 for better-quality lots, falling back to the mid- to low-€120s for poorly fleshed types, with ram lambs with a poor-kill out potential challenged most.
The trade for breeding hoggets is holding steady in the main. Quality is back, but, in the main, good-quality hoggets are holding their own. Prices here range from €180 to €200, with excellent-quality lots capable of selling to €215 to €230. Lighter but nice-quality hoggets range from €165 to €180, with light, plainer-quality lots back to €150 and under.
Cull ewes are solid with heavy fleshed ewes selling from €1.70/kg to €2/kg.
Medium-weight fleshed ewes are trading from €1.50/kg to €1.80, depending on quality.
Lowland ewes lacking flesh range from €1.20/kg to €1.50/kg, with Scotch ewes from 80c/kg for poor-quality lots to €1/kg to €1.20/kg.