Demand for finished lambs continues to intensify, with prices edging upwards by anywhere from €1 to €3 per head.

Supplies of heavier lambs in particular remain tight and this can still be traced back to farmers moving lambs at lighter weights to take advantage of the firm trade.

Lambs weighing 48kg to 53kg are trading in the main from €135 to €142, with select lots of heavier and well-conformed lambs generating strong competition between butcher and wholesale buyers and pushing prices to the mid-€140s and as high as €148 to €150 on rare occasions.

Lots weighing 45kg to 47kg are trading anywhere from a starting price of €118 to €122 for lots lacking flesh to a general price range of €125 to €132 for nicely fleshed lambs.

Factory agents are willing to drop down in the weight category for lambs suitable for slaughter such is the tightness in supplies, with lambs weighing 39kg to 41kg trading from €114 to €123.

The trade for ewe lambs remains strong, with ewe lambs traded in normal sales and exhibiting breeding potential securing a premium of €6 to €12 per head.

Top-quality ewe lambs weighing from 45kg upwards are trading anywhere from €130 to €150, with select lots exceeding this range.

The trade for cull ewes is solid, with prices unchanged.

Ewe trade

Heavy fleshed ewes remain the most sought-after, with those weighing upwards of 90kg trading on average from €145 to €175 and as high as €200 for small numbers of top-quality well-conformed ewes.

Medium-sized ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg are trading from €100 upwards for good feeding ewes to €130 to €140 for fleshed lots.

Light Scottish Blackface ewes weighing 50kg to 55kg continue to trade from €1/kg for lots lacking flesh to €15 to €20 over.

The strong trade for cull ewes is inserting a strong floor under the trade for first- to third-crop ewes.

Prices are starting from €160 in general for good ewes and range from €180 to €220 for younger ewes.

Small numbers of hoggets appearing in general sales are also meeting keen demand, with prices hugely dependent on quality and typically running €15 to €25 higher.

Top-quality lots range from €220 to €250, with good hoggets back to €200 and lighter and crossbred lots from €170 upwards.