The price pull last week knocked confidence a little at the ringside. In recent days, the price decrease has steadied once again, with mart managers commenting that factory agents are still actively sourcing cattle at the marts.
Numbers at marts are running lower than the same time last year, presumably due to the new EID rules and associated higher tagging costs.
Mart managers have said that prices are back by €2 to €3/head. Heavy butchers’ lambs over 50kg are selling from €103 to €108/head, which is back by €3 to €5/head. Fleshed factory lambs from 45kg to 48kg are selling mainly from €100 to €106/head, with quality and level of flesh having the largest impact on prices.
Lambs from 42kg to 44kg are selling from €96 to €100/head. Again, crossbred lambs and those carrying a little less cover are fetching the lower range of prices.
Lighter lambs from 40kg to 42kg are firm, with prices ranging mainly from €93 to €98/head, which is €3 to €4/head less than last week.
Store lambs are only marginally easier. The strong grass growth has meant that demand from farmers for grass lambs is increasing. While prices are down by €1 to €2/head on last week, demand is strong, with mart managers commenting that demand is increasing and running well ahead of the same time last year, when the drought was affecting the trade.
Lambs from 30kg to 35kg are selling from €70 to €78/head, which is similar to last week.
Those from 35kg to 40kg are selling mainly from €70 to €88/head, with better-quality fleshed lambs quite steady.