The sheep trade up north this past week was steady overall, the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) reported.

Quotes from the major processors for R3 grade lambs remained steady this week, at 620-640p/kg up to 21kg.

It is expected quotes for early next week next will range from 630-640p/kg.

Last week, throughput of lambs/hoggets in the local plants increased by 46% from the previous week, to 7,033 head.

However, exports of sheep to the south for direct slaughter last week decreased to 3,624 head – back from the 4,185 head the previous week.

The Northern Ireland (NI) average deadweight lamb price last week was 638.7p/kg – up 20.2p/kg from the previous week.

Compared to the same week as last year, the NI deadweight lamb price was 493.1p/kg – a difference of 145.6p/kg.

Northern sheep trade: Marts

The LMC reported that across the marts this week, the number of lambs is continuing to increase along with a firm trade reported.

On Saturday last (May 15) in Omagh, 212 lambs sold from 597-675p/kg, compared to the previous Saturday when 63 lambs sold from 628-664p/kg.

In Massereene on Monday (May 17), 346 lambs sold from 615-650p/kg, compared to 249 lambs selling from 610-652p/kg last week.

In Saintfield this week, 386 lambs sold from 596-650p/kg, compared to 404 lambs last week selling from 600-645p/kg.

On Wednesday (May 19) in Ballymena, a good entry of 866 lambs sold from 620- 707p/kg (avg 636p/kg), compared to 612 lambs last week selling from 615-686p/kg (avg 625p/kg).

The strong trade for cull ewes continues with top reported prices ranging from £140-£183 across marts.