Sheep mart trade 2019 vs. 2020: Heavy lambs dearer by more than €20/head in cases

The trade for all classes of sheep at marts has been flying these past few weeks, with finished and store lambs, in particular, in strong demand.

Speaking to mart managers, many believe the trade for lambs now is better by €10-15/head at the very least if not more in comparison to the same period last year.

Butcher lambs over the past three-to-four weeks have been selling in excess of €120/head and have hit past the €130/head mark on occasion.

Factory lambs have been trading strongly, with prices for lambs weighing 43-48kg making anywhere from €100/head up to €118/head, with again, some selling for more than €120/head.

Moreover, the store lamb trade has been very strong this year. Forward-type store lambs weighing 38-41kg have been regularly selling from €90-100/head these past few months, with prices sneaking up to the €100-108/head mark on occasion over the last few weeks.

Also Read: 'If you can't get a good price from the factory, go to the mart instead with your lambs'

Lighter stores have really been catching the eye, with 25-33kg lambs making €80-90/head lately. Prices of over €3.00/kg for long-keep stores have been reported by mart managers.

With factory prices for the time of year also well above 2019 levels, AgriLand decided to take a look back at what lambs were making at marts this time last year and compare them to what they are making now.

Roscommon Mart

First up, we took a look back at Roscommon Mart. On November 20 last year, butcher lambs sold up to a tops of €106/head, while factory lambs made up to €102/head.

Also Read: Mart report from Roscommon Mart this time last year

If we compare that to last Wednesday’s sale, Maura Quigley, the mart’s manager, reported a top price of €128.50/head for heavy butcher lambs. That’s a price difference of €22.50 between now and this time last year.

Similarly, at last Wednesday’s sale, factory lambs weighing 46.9kg sold for €124/head. Again, lambs at a similar weight last year sold for €22/head less than this time last year at €102/head.

Raphoe Mart

A similar story can be seen at Raphoe Mart, where lamb prices are €10-20/head ahead this year in comparison to 2019.

Ann Harkin, the mart’s manager, reported that butcher lambs – weighing up to 55kg – sold for a tops of €106/head last year. On Monday last (November 16), she reported that 55kg lambs made up to €125/head – a price difference of €19/head in comparison to 12 months ago.

Also Read: Mart report from Raphoe Mart this time last year

Similarly, store lambs weighing up to 36kg last year made up to €80/head, whereas, last week, 35kg stores sold up to €95/head – again another huge differential of €15/head.