The average price paid for lambs in marts over the last week eased by €5 to €8 per head.

Some marts witnessed average prices falling by upwards of €10 per head but in general the cumulative price reduction of in excess of €10 per head was split over the last two weeks.

Factory lambs are facing a greater challenge to butcher-type lambs and this is leading to a significant different in prices paid in marts with a vibrant butcher trade and in those relying primarily on factory agents.

Factory-type lambs weighing from 48kg to 50kg upwards are selling on average from €150 to €156 for well-fleshed lots. Those lacking flesh are trading back to the mid to low €140s.

Heavier and top-quality lambs are rising in cases to €160 to €162 per head while in sales with a flying butcher trade select lots of lambs traded in small numbers have sold to €170 and in isolated cases to the mid to high €170s.

A high percentage of fleshed lambs weighing from 44kg to 47kg are selling from €140 to €148 but again lambs lacking flesh are up to €5 to €10 back on this price range. Nicely fleshed lambs weighing from 42kg to 43kg range in the main from €130 to €130.

Store lambs

Numbers of store lambs on offer are relatively low with weaning only really ramping up now in flocks.

An analysis of mart prices shows lowland lambs weighing 37kg to 40kg trading on average from €2.80/kg to €3.00/kg.

Some nice-quality ewe lambs are topping this price while lambs lacking significant flesh cover are falling below this price range.

Downward pressure on factory ewe quotes has translated to pressure on ewe prices in marts. Heavier fleshed ewes weighing upwards of 90kg are trading from €1.70/kg to €1.80/kg in the main with a small selection rising to €1.85/kg to €1.90/kg.

Lighter ewes weighing from 70kg are selling from €1.55/kg to €1.70/kg and back to €1/kg for poor-quality and light ewes lacking flesh.