The spring lamb trade continues to remain buoyant in marts, as strong factory and wholesaler demand has added some much-needed competition to the market.

In some instances, prices have climbed by €5-7/head on last week and have reached highs of €143/head in some venues.

A similar trend has been mirrored in factories around the country, as many lamb buyers have moved to rise prices in an attempt to secure supplies.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 600 sheep were on offer in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Monday, where a good yard of quality lambs met a fast-selling trade.

Both factory and wholesale buyers were keen to secure numbers and, as a result, prices passed the €130/head mark on numerous occasions.

Topping the sale was a pen of 50kg lambs, which sold for €136 or €2.72/kg. Butcher lambs generally traded at €2.50-2.72/kg, factory lambs made €2.55-2.70/kg and store lambs sold for €2.50-2.65/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 53kg – €135 or €2.55/kg.
  • 51kg – €134 or €2.63/kg.
  • 50kg – €136 or €2.72/kg.
  • 46kg – €123 or €2.67/kg.
  • 45kg – €119 or €2.64/kg.
  • 43kg – €110 or €2.56/kg.

A limited number of cull ewes also passed through the ring and the hammer fell on these lots at €60-124/head.

Tullow Mart

Some 1,000 sheep were on offer in Tuesday’s sale in Tullow Mart, Co. Carlow, where an improved trade led to prices rising by €5/head.

Key to the sale was the very noticeable demand from both factory and butcher agents, who battled to secure numbers in the Co. Carlow venue.

Lambs weighing over 45kg sold for €124-132/head, while one pen of 55kg lambs sold for €143 or €2.60/kg.

The lighter factory-type lambs (over 40kg) met with an improved trade and sold for €110-124/head. Store lamb numbers are also starting to increase and well-presented lambs (36-39kg) traded at €84-92.

Some improvement was also witnessed in the cast ewe market, as prices were €2-3/head higher than the previous week’s sale. The majority of the heavier-type cast ewes on offer traded at €120-128/head.

A number of hogget ewes also passed through the ring and these lots sold for €145-160/head. In addition, hogget ewes with lambs at foot sold to a top price of €179 yesterday.

Carnew Mart

Carnew Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Thursday last and it featured an entry of just 1,250 lambs.

However, the small entry appeared to work in the sellers’ favour and spring lamb prices improved by €5-7/head on the previous week’s sale.

Butcher-type lambs (46-50kg) sold for €120-125/head, factory lambs (40-45kg) made €108-122/head and prices of €80-90/head were paid for stores.

Strong demand was also witnessed for hogget ewes and these lots sold to a top price of €145/head. Additionally, cull ewe prices also improved by approximately €5/head on the previous week’s sale.

Sample ewe prices:
  • Cast ewes: €65-103.
  • Ewe hoggets: €125-145.
  • Ewes with twin lambs: €150-240.
  • Ewes with single lambs: €110-180.