With sheep supplies remaining under the 60,000 threshold, price levels for lamb showed some further lift last week according to Bord Bia.

It says base quotes for Spring lamb were making €4.60/kg to €4.75/kg. Prices for cull ewes stood at around €2.60/kg.

Sheep supplies for the week ending October 25 increased by around 2,400 head on the previous week to stand at 58,800 head.

This was broadly similar to the same week in 2013. Lamb supplies were up by 4% while cull ewe disposals were running 19% lower than corresponding 2013 levels. Cumulative supplies for the year to date stand at 2.19 million head, equivalent an additional 61,000 or 2% increase on last year.

Imports of sheep from Northern Ireland for direct slaughter last week totalled 9,970 head compared to 9,343 the previous week, accounting for a 7% increase week on week according to figures from the Livestock and Meat Commission.

It also said deadweight lamb prices in Northern Ireland recorded a strong increase last week with the average lamb price up 17.5p/kg to 358.5p/kg last week.

In Britain, the trade showed some lift as supplies were unchanged. The SQQ live price for new season lambs in Great Britain was making the equivalent of around €4.70/kg dw towards the end of the week.

In France, the trade was steady. Market demand is expected to be helped by the re-opening of schools next week although strong promotional activity by other meats is expected to continue. Grade 1 Irish Spring lambs were making around €4.60/kg (inclusive of VAT).