The average price recorded for fleshed lambs and good-quality store lambs has edged upwards.

The scale of the increase varies between sales and depends on how prices have been running in recent weeks.

For example, the trade for store lambs has improved by €2 to €5/head and higher in cases in regions hit hard by drought. Elsewhere, prices are steady to €1 to €2 higher.

There is a large differential in prices paid of anywhere from 70c/kg to as high as €1/kg between lambs of varying quality.

The general run of prices for good-quality store lambs ranges from €2.50/kg to €2.70/kg, with top-quality lots and ewe lamb lots with breeding potential selling to €2.90/kg to €3/kg.

Nice-quality cross-bred and horned lambs are selling from €2.25/kg to €2.40/kg, with heavier lots with scope to carry weight and finish without significant feeding selling best.

Subdued demand for light hill lambs

Some mart managers report a subdued demand for light hill lambs requiring significant feeding to finish, with prices from €1.90/kg to €2.35/kg.

Reports indicate some specialist finishers have delayed purchasing comparable numbers to other years with concerns surrounding finishing costs. A positive contrast is farmers with forage crops, which have performed well, taking an interest in the trade.

Prices for finished lambs vary greatly between sales. The general run of prices for fleshed lambs weighing 48kg to 53kg ranges from €130 to €140/head.

Prices in select sales are hitting €150 and over for the best-quality lots and on the opposite end of the scale, lambs presented with a poor cover of flesh have sold back to €120.

Breeding hoggets

The trade for breeding hoggets is largely unchanged. The best-quality hoggets are trading from €200 to €225/head, with prices hitting €230 to €240 in isolated cases.

A high percentage of lots are trading from €175 to €195/head, while plainer-quality types are selling from €150 to €170 along with small numbers below this.

The trade for best-quality large-framed first- and second-crop ewes is €160 to €185/head, with smaller-framed and aged ewes selling from €120 to €150/head.