Speaking to mart managers during the week, many have commented on the growing demand among farmers for store and ewe lambs.

Numbers of store lambs coming on stream at marts appears to be rising every week and demand among farmers for them is strong, going by what mart managers have been saying.

The store lamb trade has started off strong these last few weeks and prices nearing the €3.00/kg mark have been seen.

Similarly, farmers appear not to be scared to press the bid button on their phones or wave their hands around the ring for nice-quality ewe lambs.

Once again, prices have well exceeded the €3.00/kg mark for ewe lambs, with Ballyjamesduff Mart on Wednesday evening (July 21) seeing prices for ewe lambs over 50kg making €160/head and more in cases.

Similarly at Tuam Mart, prices over €130/head were paid for nice-quality 40-42kg ewe lambs.

This is surely an indication of good things to come, with marts getting ready for breeding sales shortly and already a couple of societies having held sales that witnessed some exceptional prices.

Meanwhile, the trade for butcher and factory-type lambs has eased slightly this past week, after seeing a very strong week last week in account of factories building up supplies ahead of the Eid al-Adha festival.

At some marts, the trade maintained fairly well, while at other marts, prices came back from €2-3/head up to as much as €6-8/head, as prices in factories came back from the start of the week.

The cull ewe trade remains strong, with heavy ewes in excess of 90kg still achieving some very strong prices.

Reports from marts indicate top prices for heavy ewes were anywhere from €170/head, up to €190/head over the past few days.