Sheep marts: Factory lamb numbers remain tight; store lamb trade holding firm

Factory-fit lambs remain scarce across many marts; although, the trade for these types remains solid.

Mart managers have said that factory agents remain eager for suitable lambs. In general, prices for butcher lambs last week ranged from €108/head up to €118/head.

Factory-fit lambs sold from €96/head for lambs lacking flesh up to €114/head for well-fleshed lambs.

Also Read: 'Ewe lambs were the standout trade; heavy lambs made up to €115/head' - Maura Quigley

Store lambs remain a firm trade, with numbers holding well across marts. Last week, forward-type store lambs made from €88/head up to €98/head, while light, lowland-type stores made from €70/head up to €86/head.

Light, mountain-type stores made from €50/head up to €70/head.

In terms of cull ewes, feeding ewes continue to remain a solid trade. The trade for heavy ewes has eased slightly lately, with numbers also smaller for these types across marts.

In general, heavy ewes have been making from €100/head up to €125/head, with select lots breaking past this and making just over €130/head.

Enniscorthy Mart

Enniscorthy Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Wednesday last (September 30). According to Kevin Murphy, it was a big sale of predominately store lambs.

Finished lambs were scarce on the day, particularly suitable factory lambs. The trade was largely unchanged on last week.

Butcher lambs were a good trade due to a strong demand. Prices ranged from €111/head up to €118/head.

Factory-finished lambs were scarce. Factory agents were eager for suitable lambs. In general, finished lambs sold from €101/head up to €110/head.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices:

  • Seven lambs weighing 54kg sold for €118/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 55kg sold for €115/head;
  • Five lambs weighing 48kg sold for €113/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 46kg sold for €110/head;
  • Four lambs weighing 48kg sold for €108/head;
  • Five lambs weighing 44kg sold for €101/head.

There was a “massive entry” of stores, which, according to Kevin, are holding strong due to a big farmer demand. Light stores ranged from €72/head up to €93/head.

Forward stores, like the lighter stores, were very plentiful on the day and “seem to offer more value than the lighter stores”. Prices for these lots ranged from €86/head up to €96/head.

Sample store lamb prices: 

  • 23 lambs weighing 34kg sold for €90/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €85/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 34kg sold for €86/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 33kg sold for €83/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 28kg sold for €77/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 41kg sold for €90/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 41kg sold for €95/head;
  • Eight lambs weighing 40kg sold for €92/head;
  • 25 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €92/head.

Kevin noted that heavy cast ewes remain scarce but were met with an improved trade last week. Heavy ewes topped out at €131/head and sold from €105/head up to €128/head, in general.

There was a big entry of store ewes on offer. Kevin added that store cull ewes haven’t seen the same drop as their heavier counterparts, as some farmers are opting to buy store cull ewes instead of store lambs.

Store ewes sold from €77/head up to €95/head.

Carnew Mart

Carnew Mart held its weekly sale of sheep on Thursday last (October 1). A large entry of 4,240 sheep were on offer.

According to the mart manager, David Quinn, the trade was improved by €2-3/head on the previous week for all classes of sheep, which saw a full clearance of lambs.

Butcher lambs made from €108/head up to a tops of €118/head, while factory-fit lambs made from €98/head up to €113/head.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices:

  • 16 ram lambs weighing 48kg sold for €108/head;
  • 19 wether lambs weighing 49kg sold for €113/head;
  • 18 wether lambs weighing 52kg sold for €114/head;
  • 25 ram lambs weighing 44kg sold for €104/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €113/head.

Forward-type store lambs made from €91/head up to €96/head. Lighter store lambs sold from €72/head up to €84/head, while stores weighing 35-38kg made from €85/head up to €91/head.

Sample store lamb prices: 

  • 45 wether lambs weighing 37kg sold for €91/head;
  • 15 ram lambs weighing 41kg sold for €91/head;
  • 25 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €90/head;
  • 19 lambs weighing 30kg sold for €79/head;
  • 25 lambs weighing 30kg sold for €81/head.

Cull ewes made from €65/head for feeding ewes up to a tops of €131/head for heavy ewes.