The 2023 sales year is drawing to a close in a more positive manner, with quotes in some plants rising by 10c/kg. Base lamb quotes now range from a base of €6.35/kg in the two ICM plants to €6.60/kg in Kildare Chilling for Thursday.

The movement in base quotes sees individual sellers securing returns ranging from €6.55/kg to €6.70/kg. R grade lambs traded through groups or from sellers with greater negotiating power are trading from €6.70/kg to €6.75/kg.

Top prices for lambs including conformation bonuses or where allowances on transport are factored in to the price range from €6.75/kg to upwards of €6.80/kg.

While a growing number of lambs are being paid to 23kg carcase weight, the standard price quoted for some plants remains at 22.5kg carcase weight. It is important to clarify the situation before moving sheep.

While plants have secured a high percentage of throughput for this week’s three-day week, the movement in quotes shows there is an appetite for more lambs.

The quotes from plants are for this week only and it is likely that plants are waiting to see how supplies come on stream before confirming next week’s price.

Procurement agents are reminding farmers to be again mindful of adhering to the clean livestock policy with ground conditions deteriorating in recent days and drafting becoming more challenging.

The ewe trade is stagnant, with a significant differential remaining between plants. Quotes range from €2.60/kg to €2.90/kg in the main five processing plants, with the higher quote for ewes delivering a carcase weight in excess of 35kg.

Demand for ewes has been low this week with many plants focusing on lambs, but is expected to return to normal next week.

Northern trade

The trade in Northern Ireland is following a similar trend, with lamb supplies satisfying demand. Base quotes remain at £5.35/kg or the equivalent of €6.16 at an exchange rate of 86.6p to the euro.

Regular sellers and producer groups are securing 5p/kg to 10p/kg higher, with top prices in the region of £5.50/kg (€6.33/kg).

Quotes are to 22kg carcase weight, but sellers with greater negotiating power are having more success securing 22.5kg to 23kg carcase weight, with deals most evident where competing with agents purchasing lambs for export to southern plants.

Meanwhile prices in Britain maintain their differential to Northern Ireland, with lambs averaging £6.85/kg (€6.74/kg).