Lamb and hogget quotes for Thursday have increased by another 20c/kg to 30c/kg, bringing a growing number of producers to within touching distance of €10/kg.

Reports from farm organisations state that agents and producers handling large numbers are already securing upwards of €10/kg for lambs.

This tallies with the live trade in marts, with some live prices well above the equivalent deadweight price of €10/kg.

Base quotes for lambs have increased by 10c/kg to 20c/kg, with opening quotes for quality assured lambs in the region of €9.60/kg to €9.70/kg.

The two ICM plants in Camolin and Navan have overtaken Kildare Chilling in terms of offering the highest base quote for QA lambs.

Producers trading through groups or securing conformation bonuses are securing 10c/kg to 20c/kg higher, with top prices for producers knocking on the door of €10/kg.

All plants are now also paying to 21kg carcase weight. Base quotes for quality assured hoggets are in the region of €9.50/kg, but higher is being paid.

Individual producers with weaker negotiating power are securing 10c/kg above quotes, while regular sellers handling large numbers are pushing top prices for large numbers to €9.70/kg to €9.80/kg and to 24kg carcase weight. There is also deals being completed on carcase weight.

Ewe trade

The ewe trade has moved on again, with another 10c/kg to 20c/kg added to some quotes.

The two ICM plants have increased quotes by 20c/kg and now join Ballon Meats on an all-in quote of €4.20/kg.

Plants and abattoirs specialising in the ewe trade are operating from €4.40/kg upwards.

The live trade remains vibrant and this is providing an excellent outlet for heavy carcase ewes in marts and to producers struggling to negotiate favourable terms with factories. The general carcase weight limit being implemented ranges from 43kg to 46kg with the mart returning higher for heavy ewes.

Northern trade

The northern trade has also recorded a jump in quotes of 20p/kg to 30p/kg.

Hogget quotes have increased to £7.90/kg, with regular sellers now securing upwards of £8/kg or the equivalent of €9.33/kg.

This week marks the first week of plants quoting for lambs, with opening base quotes at £8.20/kg (€9.57/kg).

Producers with stronger negotiating power are securing 20p/kg to 30p/kg higher, with the trade in marts running ahead of the factory, with equivalent prices at £8.50/kg to £8.80/kg-plus.

Agents purchasing sheep live for export to Ireland for direct slaughter or for exporting to Britain remain active.

Reports indicate over 4,000 sheep were exported live to Britain again last week, with just over 4,000 moving south to Ireland, a fall of over 1,800 head.