Marts located in sheep strongholds are entering their peak period of trading, with throughput increasing significantly over the last two weeks.
This has been driven by store lamb entries rising rapidly and breeding ewes and hoggets starting to appear.
Demand for store lambs is generally strong, but is tempered in some areas experiencing a significant soil moisture deficit and grass shortages.
The general run of prices for store lambs weighing 36kg to 40kg is ranging from €2.70/kg to €2.85/kg.
There is still good demand for fleshed lambs
The strong ewe lamb trade, which was a bright aspect to the trade in 2020, appears to be returning, with ewe lambs with breeding potential selling to €3/kg and rising to €3.15/kg to €3.30/kg for select types.
The trade for factory and butcher/wholesale-type lambs has weakened slightly on the back of some uncertainty surrounding prices in the wake of the Eid al-Adha festival.
There is still good demand for fleshed lambs, with these types in short supply after farmers pushed out higher numbers.
Lambs weighing 47kg to 50kg upwards are selling in the main from €128 to €135, with select lots of excellent-quality lots rising to and in isolated cases exceeding the €140/head mark.
This is especially the case for stronger ewe lambs, with farmer buyers having to pay a premium to ward off factory and butcher buyer interest.
The cull ewe trade is solid, with agents purchasing ewes for live export finding it hard to get their hands on heavy fleshed ewes
Lighter factory-type lambs weighing 43kg to 45kg are selling around the €118 to €123 mark. Select lots of top-quality lots are rising to the high-€120s, while lots lacking flesh are selling back to €114 to €115.
The cull ewe trade is solid, with agents purchasing ewes for live export finding it hard to get their hands on heavy fleshed ewes. This has reduced the reports of high prices, but the trade is every bit as strong as it was.
Ewes weighing 90kg upwards are selling anywhere from €140 to €180, while lighter ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg are trading from €120 to €145 for fleshed lots and back to €100 for good feeding ewes.
Small numbers of ewe hoggets are appearing, with prices reported in the main from €170 upwards for crossbred and lighter hoggets to €200 to €220 for better-quality hoggets and as high as €250 to €260 recorded in a few marts in the last week.