Sheep marts: Factory price cuts take hold of the ringside trade

Factories have moved to knock spring lamb quotes by up to 60c/kg over the past three weeks and, slowly but surely, these cuts have filtered down to the ringside.

Spring lamb prices in marts, especially for lambs weighing approximately 45kg, have taken a hit in recent days. In some cases, returns are down by €2-4/head on last week.

Kilkenny mart

Lambs weighing over 47kg were scarce at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Monday, according to the mart’s auctioneer, George Candler.

Lambs peaked at €127/head, he said, and the trade was slightly easier compared to previous weeks.

Butcher lambs traded at €2.30-2.40/kg, which is roughly a 20c/kg reduction on the returns achieved one week earlier. A number of factory lambs were also on offer and these lots traded at €2.30-2.52/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 54kg – €125 or €2.31/kg;
  • 53kg – €127 or €2.40/kg;
  • 52kg – €124 or €2.38/kg;
  • 50kg – €115 or €2.30/kg;
  • 47kg – €111 or €2.36/kg;
  • 44kg – €105 or €2.39/kg;
  • 43kg – €108 or €2.51/kg;
  • 40kg – €99 or €2.48/kg.

Mountbellew mart

Last Saturday’s auction in Mountbellew was the largest sale held in the Galway-based venue so far this year.

The large number of cast ewes on offer met with a strong trade and sold for €70-124/head. The factory lamb trade remained similar to previous weeks.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 40.5kg – €94 or €2.32/kg;
  • 37kg – €88 or €2.38/kg;
  • 44kg – €105 or €2.39/kg;
  • 47kg – €109 or €2.32/kg;
  • 40kg – €99 or €2.48/kg;
  • 39kg – €93 or €2.38/kg.

A smaller number of hoggets was also on offer and prices for these lots sat at €125-148/head.

Tullow mart

Approximately 1,500 sheep were on offer at Tuesday’s sale in Tullow Mart, Co. Carlow. The mart’s manager, Eric Driver, described the trade as being lively for butcher and heavy lambs.

However, factory lambs made €3-4 less than the previous week in the Carlow-based venue.

Lambs in the 46kg+ category sold for €120-138 and factory lambs weighing 40kg+ sold for €102-114 each. Driver added: “Some 44kg and 45kg lambs reached highs of €120, if they were well-fleshed.”

Despite the slight fall in factory lamb prices, the store market continued to remain strong at Tuesday’s sale.

Stores weighing 37-40kg sold for €87-95 and some pens pushed towards the €100 mark. Lambs weighing 30-34kg sold for €75-82 and Driver labelled this as “the price of the day”.