There is significant variation in sale reports from mart managers this week.

Some report prices easing by a further €3 to €5/head, while, in contrast, some marts with a small entry of sheep and a strong butcher or wholesale trade are reporting a relatively stable trade.

This has been built upon competition between these buyers opening up a large differential between prices paid.

Top-quality lambs weighing upwards of 50kg and sold at the top end of the market ranged from €142 to €150, while, in other sales, the general run of prices for such lambs ranged from €135 to €140/head.

Lighter lambs and plainer-quality types are selling in the main from €127 to €133/head, with factors such as the kill-out potential, lamb conformation and the evenness of the batch having an influence on price.

The trade for store lambs is also strongly influenced by lamb quality, with flesh cover in particular a firm consideration of many buyers.

Good-quality lowland store lambs weighing from 37kg to 40kg and possessing a nice cover of flesh are trading from €2.60/kg to €2.80/kg, with plainer-quality lots or lambs lacking flesh selling back to €2.40/kg to €2.50/kg.

The trade for light hill lambs or crosses which will require considerable feeding to finish remains challenging with prices averaging around the €2/kg mark. This ranges from as low as €1.70/kg to €1.80/kg for light Scotch lambs to €2.10/kg to €2.20/kg for better-quality hill crosses.

The trade for small numbers of in-lamb ewes is also difficult which is not surprising given current weather and low levels of optimism. Some mart managers report small-framed and aged ewes being offered prices of €120 to €150 per head while good-quality first to third crop ewes carrying a lamb and a half to two lambs range from €170 to €190 with many lots going unsold.

A price range of €125 to €155 is buying the majority of large-framed cull ewes weighing in excess of 90kg liveweight. Medium-weight lots are trading from €100 to €118 per head while ewes lacking flesh and Scotch ewes are selling from €1/kg to €1.30/kg.