The pressure on factory lamb quotes is feeding in to some negative price pressure in mart sales.
Some mart managers are reporting the trade holding relatively steady, while others point to an easing in price to the tune of €2 to €3 per head.
Prices across sales are variable. On average, factory lambs weighing 45kg to 48kg are trading from the low to high €120s, with the better-quality lots attracting butcher or wholesale interest rising to the low €130s.
Short-keep store lambs weighing 40kg to 42kg are trading from €2.65/kg to €2.80/kg on average
Demand from the latter buyer is solid, with well-finished lambs remaining in tight supply.
Ewe lambs suitable for breeding are securing a premium on price, with top-quality lots ranging from €2.90/kg to €3.15/kg and higher on occasion.
Short-keep store lambs weighing 40kg to 42kg are trading from €2.65/kg to €2.80/kg on average, while lighter lots weighing 35kg to 37kg are trading from €2.55/kg to €2.70/kg for plainer-quality lambs to a top of €2.80/kg to €2.90/kg for well-presented lambs.
The trade for hoggets has also been variable in the last week, with some of the higher prices of €240 to €260 upwards absent from mart reports.
This is partly due to a lag period before special sales kick off.
Heavy ewes weighing 90kg and upwards are trading from €150 to €180 in the main
The best-quality hoggets are reported as trading from €200 to €230, with lighter and plainer-quality types back to €170 to €180.
Meanwhile, the cull ewe trade is holding firm, with heavy, fleshed ewes meeting the best demand.
Heavy ewes weighing 90kg and upwards are trading from €150 to €180 in the main, but higher prices rising to €200 and even higher in isolated cases continue to be reported.
The number of these type of ewes is also lower, with more feeding ewes emerging.
These are also meeting keen demand, with ewes weighing in the region of 75kg to 80kg trading from €95 to €120.
Lighter ewes and aged ewes lacking significant flesh are selling in small numbers from €60 to €80, with few lowland ewes below this range.
Scottish Blackface ewes are starting to slowly increase in number in line with lambs being weaned.
Prices typically range from €1/kg upwards for average-quality ewes weighing 50kg to 55kg to €1.20/kg to €1.35/kg for fleshed lots.