Factories are freely paying €7.30-7.40/kg for lambs, with prices up to and exceeding €7.50/kg in cases, according to Sean Dennehy.

Sean, the sheep chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), said that the lamb trade continues to strengthen, driven by strong market demand and tight supplies of finished lambs.

He added: “Factories are freely paying €7.30/kg to €7.40/kg, with prices up to and exceeding €7.50/kg on offer for groups and larger lots.

“In addition, transport and weights to 22.5kg and 23kg are on the table to close out deals.

“Strong factory demand is feeding through to mart sales where factory agents, wholesalers and store buyers are competing very strongly for the limited number of finished and store lambs available.

Store lambs making from €3.10/kg to €3.50/kg at marts, with hill-type lambs coming into €3.00/kg to €3.20/kg.”

Sean said returns from mart sales are comparable to and, in some cases, above prices factories are offering, which is providing farmers with a real alternative market for their lambs.

Meanwhile, cull ewes are ranging in price from €3.10/kg up to €3.30/kg.

The IFA sheep chairman said farmers should sell hard in a strong market, while moving lambs as they become fit, to maximise returns.