Lamb prices are steady to marginally easier, with base quotes reported in the region of €7.60/kg.

A couple of plants that had tried to drop prices at the end of last week were forced to revert quotes upwards or accept losing out on lambs.

A high percentage of quality assured lambs are trading upwards of €7.75/kg to €7.80/kg, with top prices rising to €7.90/kg to €8/kg when conformation and producer bonuses are added into the mix.

A number of producer groups will also see their carcase weight limits increase to 21kg from 1 June, with the majority of plants not paying to 20.5kg carcase weight.

Hogget numbers

Reports indicate hogget numbers have fallen significantly this week, with the lion’s share of hoggets in the system now in the hands of specialist finishers.

Base quotes at the start of the week are in the region of €7/kg.

Small numbers traded from individual sellers are moving from €7.10/kg to €7.20/kg, with specialist finishers continuing to operate at prices of €7.40/kg and higher in cases.

Quality concerns

Factory procurement agents are cautioning producers regarding a significant number of lambs and hoggets falling outside of desired specification.

Issues include lambs killing below 17kg carcase weight and lacking flesh.

Issues with hoggets are at both ends of the weight spectrum, with some light under-finished hoggets and very heavy carcases, some of which are rising to 30kg and higher.

Cuts being imposed range from €1/kg to €2/kg on such sheep.