There is more life in the lamb trade in recent days, with tight supplies underpinning increased demand.

Factories are reluctant to increase base quotes, which range in general from €6.30/kg to €6.40/kg.

However, producers handling significant numbers or possessing greater negotiating power are having some success in pushing returns 5c/kg to 10c/kg higher.

This has opened up a greater differential in prices paid.

Individual sellers or those with less bargaining power are trading in the region of €6.45/kg to €6.50/kg.

Producers with greater negotiating power, including many groups, are receiving prices of €6.60/kg, while at the top end of the market, prices of €6.65/kg to €6.70/kg have been paid.

NI prices

Quotes have also firmed in Northern Ireland. Plants that were trying to bring prices under £5/kg have had to revert to a minimum base quote of £5/kg.

Prices have increased by 5p/kg on average, with some regular sellers receiving 10p/kg higher.

This leaves prices at the higher end of the market in the region of £5.10/kg to £5.15/kg or the equivalent of €6.05/kg to €6.11/kg at Monday afternoon’s exchange rate of 84.2p to the euro.

Agents purchasing lambs for exporting for direct slaughter in southern plants have been more active over the last week.

Reports indicate last week’s exports for direct slaughter will have been significantly higher and likely north of 6,000 head.

Ewe trade

The ewe trade is firm following last week’s 5c/kg to 10c/kg increase in quotes by some plants.

Prices are typically starting at €3.50/kg, with significant numbers trading from €3.60/kg to a top of €3.70/kg.

Producers with heavy ewes should continue to weigh up whether the mart or factory is the best outlet.