The current lamb trade is characterised by strong demand and tight supplies, according to the IFA.

In the IFA latest market update it says factory quotes have moved up by 5c to €4.75/4.85/kg with processors paying €5.00 to €5.10 for 23/24kg lambs.

Latest figures from the Department show supplies for the week ending November 22 stood at around 49,700 head, which is over 7,00 head or 14% lower than supplies for the corresponding week in 2013.

Cumulative supplies are up slightly on 2013 figures standing at around 2.37 million head, the IFA says.

According to Bord Bia few changes have been reported in trade across our key export markets.

It says in Britain, a relatively stable trade was reported. The SQQ live price for new season lambs in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €4.97/kg DW towards the end of the week.

In France, the trade remains similar to the previous week with demand remaining slow.

Bord Bia highlight that last week promotions have centred on legs and forequarter cuts. Grade 1 Irish spring lamb price was making around €4.99/kg (inclusive of VAT) during the week.

It reported in recent weeks that the trade was mixed across Ireland’s key sheep export markets.

Meanwhile, in recent weeks the number of lambs coming forward for slaughter in Northern Ireland plants has tightened according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

It also reported that there are reports of fewer slaughter ready lambs on the ground and increased competition from southern buyers has increased competition for lambs in North Ireland. The LMC says with reports of steady demand for lamb from the retail and export markets there has been an improvement in both the deadweight and liveweight trades.