There was a right bite in live trade this week, with spring lambs the biggest beneficiary.
Mart managers have reported that numbers remain tight and this has resulted in prices rising by €2 to €3/head. In some cases, lambs are making more live than they would be making killing, as agents are going in hard to secure remaining lots.
In highest demand are those lambs that fit in with factory carcase spec, so around 40kg to 42kg liveweight. Prices here generally started at €145 and moved up to a top end of €150.
Some super-conformed lots were making over €150 and, similarly, some lambs lacking flesh dropped below €140.
Lambs of 46kg upwards, with carcase weights above that of the weight limits applied by factories, also saw a slight increase on the week. These types of lambs are generally being sought after by individual butchers or wholesalers.
Fleshed lambs of these higher weights generally started from €150, selling to €170/head.
The upper end of quality and those hitting 50kg-plus were generally secured by butchers, with as high as €180 paid, but generally around €174 was the cap.
In comparison to last year’s prices, some marts are saying spring lambs are up nearly €40/head.
Ewe trade this week can be described as every bit as strong as previous weeks, with buying for Ramadan festival adding a bit more bite into demand.
Heavy fleshed ewes weighing in excess of 90kg ranged on average from €135 to €160, while ewes weighing 80kg to 88kg ranged from €120 to upwards of €140, depending on quality.
Lighter types weighing 70kg to 75kg ranged from €95 to €115 for fleshed lots.
Scottish Blackface ewes continue to sell from a little under €1/kg for lots lacking flesh to €1/kg to €1.20/kg for lots with a reasonable cover of flesh.
Hogget prices are holding firm, with some of the upper end lots seeing an increased demand, resulting in some higher prices.
This is mostly driven by agent buyers who are looking for primarily for fleshed hoggets weighing 50kg-plus. These generally sold north of €150 up to around €165.
As mentioned, the better-quality ones were in highest demand, which resulted in some exceeding €170/head.
Prices are more variable for lighter store hoggets and range from a starting point of €120 to €130 for plain types requiring significant feeding to €135 to €150 for average-quality types weighing 44kg to 46kg.