While finished lamb prices are somewhere similar to last week, the real talking point in the mart trade has been the lift in store lamb prices, with €5 to €8/head of an increase seen on the week previous.

Large-scale finishers and factory agents have looked to replenish supplies on the back of buoyant factory prices for finished lambs and, with low numbers of store lambs being presented in marts, are having to compete hard in order to secure numbers.

Well-presented lowland lambs in even batches with scope to thrive on or short-keep lots already with good covers of flesh are selling anywhere from €3/kg up to €3.25/kg.

Reports indicate that lambs in the sub-40kg bracket are matching their heavier counterparts, again with even, clean batches securing the higher prices, with highs of €3.50/kg recorded in some sales.

The general run of prices for quality lowland lambs weighing from 50kg to 54kg ranges from €156 to €162/€163 per head, on par with last week.

This is rising to €167/€168 per head in sales with a strong butcher/wholesale trade and quality lowland type lambs, falling back to €150/head in marts where hill lambs or ram lambs are the main type of lamb on offer.

Lambs weighing 47kg to 49kg are trading anywhere from the mid-€140s to high-€150s, again depending on butcher activity and lamb quality and sex.

Good-quality hill lambs are selling upwards of €2.70/kg, with smaller numbers of lambs with poor weight for age and less potential to hit French market weights selling upwards of €2.30/kg.

Ewe trade remains similar to last week, with heavy fleshed ewes meeting keen demand, with prices generally ranging from €140 to €170, but rising to €200 and over in isolated cases for ewes weighing upwards of 100kg.

Ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg are trading from €115 to €150, depending on quality and flesh cover, while the trade for light ewes has also improved.

Scottish Blackface ewes are selling from 90c/kg to €1.30/kg on average, with light crossbred ewes with an average cover from €1.30/kg to €1.60/kg.