The sheep trade is starting the week brightly, with agents working hard over the weekend to try to source lambs for the start of this week.

Base quotes are firm at a range of €6.65/kg to €6.80/kg. When quality assurance bonuses are added in to the equation, it leaves significant numbers of lambs trading from €6.90/kg to €7/kg.

Producers selling through groups and handling larger numbers with greater negotiating power are securing 5c/kg to 10c/kg higher, while top prices are rising to €7.20/kg when conformation bonuses are included.

The strength of the mart trade shows that agents are achieving prices at the top end of the market and higher in cases.

Northern trade

The trade in plants in Northern Ireland is also vibrant, with base quotes at £5.60/kg or the equivalent of €6.57/kg at Monday evening’s exchange rate of 85.3p to the euro. Regular sellers and groups are trading at £5.70/kg (€6.69/kg).

Similar to Ireland, agents purchasing lambs from mart sales and possessing greater negotiating power are securing higher prices, with factories keen to ward off the interest of agents purchasing sheep for export to plants in Ireland.

There are also deals being done on carcase weight. The standard payment limit remains at 22kg, but some sellers are also negotiating 22.5kg to 23kg carcase weight.

Producers struggling to achieve the higher prices for good-quality lambs are advised to weigh up the live trade, where agents purchasing for plants on both side of the border are active.