The May bank holiday weekend has traditionally been a period when factories try to gain a greater foothold in the trade.

When this has occurred in the past, factories have generally had better scope to insert pressure on the trade with supplies on a rising trend.

This year’s market dynamics are much different, with farmgate returns reaching record levels and throughput at historically low levels in recent weeks.

Factory quotes at the start of the week are steady to 15c/kg lower, with a number of plants not officially quoting over the weekend.

If the live trade is anything to go by, then the trade is holding largely steady, with prices only marginally back.

Main quotes

Reports indicate the main quotes for lambs are in the region of €9.35/kg to €9.50/kg for quality assured lamb, with some producers and sellers with greater negotiating power exceeding this level, particularly for lambs availing of producer bonuses.

Opening quotes for hoggets range from €9.10/kg to €9.30/kg for quality assured lots, with top prices 10c/kg to 20c/kg higher.

Agents and specialist finishers continue to drive the trade, with individual sellers handling small numbers bearing the brunt of price pressure.

A further trade update will be available online on Tuesday when a clearer picture on how the trade resumes materialises.