Managers in marts in many lowland areas have commented that throughput has started to ease back from the peak levels seen in recent weeks.

This is evident across breeding and lamb sales, with numbers of fleshed cull ewes also said to be tighter.

Lamb prices are steady, with some sales recording a firmer trade for lambs and more appetite for store lambs. The general run of prices for lambs weighing 48kg to 52kg ranges from €130 to €138/head.

There is a strong appetite for well-fleshed lambs, with select pens of top-quality lots in sales with a strong presence of butcher and wholesale buyers rising to €145 and higher.

Prices paid for medium-weight lambs from 45kg to 47kg are strongly influenced by flesh cover and quality.

A large percentage of lambs in this bracket are trading from €120 to €130, with those lacking flesh and crossbred types selling back to €112 to €115/head.

There is more bite for store lambs following rain and improved grass growth rates.

Lowland store lambs

Good-quality lowland store lambs are trading from €2.60/kg to €2.80/kg on average, with the best-quality types including ewe lambs with breeding potential selling to €3/kg.

Scottish Blackface and Cheviot ewe lambs are also falling within these prices.

Polled crossbred lambs are trading from €2.30/kg to €2.60/kg, with prices very dependent on quality.

Lesser-quality types and Scottish Blackface lambs are trading from around the €2/kg mark for plainer-quality types to €2.20/kg to €2.40/kg for lambs with good potential to perform and carry weight.

Cull ewes

Cull ewe numbers have reduced in mart sales in lowland areas, but are rising in marts located in hill areas. Scottish Blackface ewes lacking flesh are trading from €0.90/kg to €1/kg, with fleshed lots to €1.20/kg to €1.30/kg.

Lowland ewes weighing in the region of 80kg are trading anywhere from €100 to €135.

There is still solid demand for fleshed heavy ewes, with good-quality lots weighing upwards of 90kg from €150 to €185 and to €200 for a selection of lots weighing upwards of 95kg. See Camera at the Mart for breeding ewe prices.