Sheep throughput in mart sales has been curtailed in places over the last week by a combination of tight supplies in some areas and inclement weather discouraging many producers from travelling.

Reports of tight supplies are present for lambs despite many mart mangers stating that the vibrant trade in marts is encouraging more producers to opt to show sheep live rather than send for direct slaughter.

Sale reports show there is still variation between sales, with marts with a vibrant butcher and wholesale trade trending anywhere from €2 to €5/head higher than marts where factory-type lambs and factory agents dominate.

The general run of prices for quality lowland lambs weighing from 50kg to 54kg ranges from €156 to €162 or €163/head.

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

Lambs weighing 47kg to 49kg are trading anywhere from the mid-€140s to the high-€150s, again owing to the same dynamics above.

Well-presented lowland lambs with scope to thrive on are selling upwards of €3/kg, with select lots rising to €3.20/kg to €3.30/kg and higher.

The lift in the trade has followed down through the trade, with plainer-quality and hill lambs also benefiting.

Good-quality hill lambs are selling upwards of €2.50/kg, with smaller numbers of lambs presented with poor weight for age and less potential to hit French market weights selling upwards of €2/kg.

The ewe trade continues to strengthen, with prices rising on average by €2 to €4/head this week.

Heavy fleshed ewes are 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 of flesh from €1.30/kg to €1.60/kg.