Many mart managers continue to report that demand for well-fleshed lambs in marts is exceeding supplies.

Some comment that, in certain instances, there are lambs on offer which may be hitting the weight but are lacking in flesh cover. This is creating a significant differential between prices paid.

The general run of prices for heavier lambs weighing 48kg to 50kg and upwards ranges from €132 to €140, with select lots of top-quality lots attracting butcher bidding rising as high as €145 to €150 in isolated sales, with a strong butcher presence this week.

Lighter but slaughter-fit lots weighing from 43kg to 46kg range anywhere from the mid-€110s to the mid- to high-€120s, with flesh cover having a big say on prices paid.

The store lamb trade is steady, with lowland lambs weighing 36kg to 39kg trading from €2.65/kg to a top of €2.80/kg to €2.90/kg. Hill and crossbred lambs of the same weight range from €2.50/kg to €2.75/kg on average for good-quality types.

Ewe lambs with breeding potential are capable of hitting and crossing the €3/kg mark, with the best prices for lambs presented in suitable sales rising to €3.30/kg to €3.50/kg and as high as €4/kg or higher in special breeding sales.

There is also a differential in prices paid for hoggets presented in special sales when compared with general sales.

The top prices reported for excellent-quality hoggets are in the region of €230 to €270 per head, with the number of lots exceeding the €250 mark lower than when sales kicked off.

Good-quality lots are typically selling from €180 to €220, with the higher prices typically paid for larger-framed lots.

Poorer-quality hoggets are a trickier trade in some sales, with prices ranging from €140 to €155.

Prices for cull ewes continue to run anywhere from €30 to €50 above the corresponding period in 2020. Large-framed heavy ewes are trading in general from €140 to €170, but prices up to €180 and higher have also been recorded for the highest-quality types.

Ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg are trading from €120 to €140, depending on condition, with lighter slaughter-fit ewes weighing back to 70kg selling from €90 to €100 upwards.

Scotch ewes are trading from €1/kg for lots lacking flesh to €1.30/kg to €1.40/kg.