The vibrant trade for cull ewes has set new price records in many marts over the last week.
There have been several standout prices recorded around the €200 mark, with the pick of these being €216 paid for cull ewes in Raphoe on Monday and a top of €215 paid in Kilkenny Mart.
The extraordinary prices are being paid for well-bred and well-conformed lowland ewes, some of which are lowland pedigree ewes of Texel, Suffolk and Charollais breeds.
Quality lowland ewes weighing upwards of 95kg to 100kg are selling from €145 to €180 in the main
While these prices are a rarity in sales, the general trade has also firmed on the back of tighter supplies of heavy carcase and fleshed cull ewes.
Quality lowland ewes weighing upwards of 95kg to 100kg are selling from €145 to €180 in the main.
Medium-weight ewes in the region of 85kg to 90kg are trading from €120 to €140 per head on average, with ewes lacking flesh possibly €10 per head lower.
Lighter ewes weighing 70kg to 75kg are trading from €90 for ewes with an average cover of flesh to €100-plus, with ewes lacking flesh selling back to €70 to €80.
Meanwhile, low numbers of Scottish Blackface ewes continue to sell from €1/kg to €15 to €20 over the weight for heavier types.
Fleshed lambs weighing 43kg to 47kg are trading on average from €100 to €107 over the weight
The tighter supplies of cull ewes is helping the trade in cases for heavy lambs, with stronger competition with butcher and wholesale buyers.
Heavier lambs weighing 49kg to 50kg upwards are trading from €155 to €164, with small numbers of select lots rising to €170 or higher.
Fleshed lambs weighing 43kg to 47kg are trading on average from €100 to €107 over the weight.
Lighter lots weighing 39kg to 41kg are selling from €97 to €103 over, while lambs lacking flesh and likely to kill poorly are selling back to the mid-€120s.
The trade for store lambs is varied, with prices dependent on lamb quality.
Good-quality tight-woolled lambs weighing 33kg to 35kg are trading from €90 to €106, while forward stores weighing in the region of 38kg are trading from €100 to €116.