The mart trade continues to enjoy a rich vein of form, with all classes of stock meeting a vibrant trade.

There have been a few reports of spring lambs meeting an easier trade and prices easing by €3 to €7 for lighter lambs, but where this has occurred, it has generally been from a higher-than-average price point in the week previous.

There is quite a bit of price variation within sales for lambs of a similar weight but variable quality.

Heavier types weighing 45kg to 50kg are trading anywhere from €160 to €180, with small numbers of top-quality lots hitting up to €185.

Lambs weighing 42kg to 44kg are trading upwards from €140 for average-quality lots to in excess of €160 for top-quality lots with a good kill-out potential.

Likewise, lambs weighing 40kg to 41kg range from the high-€130s for plainer-quality lots to in excess of €150.

There have been a few reports of spring lambs meeting an easier trade

The quality of hoggets on offer continues to deteriorate, with more tail-end supplies appearing.

This is leading to a wide differential in prices with hoggets weighing in excess of 50kg, but possessing a poor cover of flesh starting at prices of €145 to €150 and rising to €170 to €180 on average.

Small numbers of top-quality lots or very heavy hoggets are exceeding this price range, with some of the higher prices being underpinned by farmer activity for ewe hoggets with good breeding potential.

More buyers in market

Reports indicate there are more buyers in the market than is normal for this time of year, with some producers willing to purchase some replacements now to insulate themselves from breeding sales being potentially dearer.

Cull ewe prices are unchanged, with fleshed heavy ewes weighing 90kg to 105kg selling from €140 to €175 and higher in isolated cases.

Lighter ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg range from €100 upwards for ewes with an average cover of flesh to €125 to €135 for better-quality types.

Lighter ewes weighing 65kg to 75kg range anywhere from €80 upwards for ewes lacking flesh to €95 to €115 for fleshed ewes.

Scottish Blackface ewes range from less than €1/kg for ewes lacking flesh to €1/kg to €1.30/kg for fleshed and larger-framed ewes.