Sheep marts: Factory lamb prices take a hit

The trade for finished lambs over the past week has taken a dip, with many mart managers reporting that finished lambs are easier by €2-6/head.

Factory prices for lambs over the past week have eased by 10-20c/kg, which has had an obvious impact on the mart trade, in particular for finished lambs.

Prices in excess of €120/head for butcher-type lambs were less common across marts last week, with the bulk of these types making from €110/head up to €116/head, in general, with select lots hitting the €120/head mark and above.

Factory-finished lambs made from €95/head up to €112/head; however, the majority sold from €98/head up to €110/head.

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Store lambs remain a solid trade. Prices for these lots ranged from €74/head for lambs weighing 30kg up to €98/head for more forward-type lambs weighing 41-42kg. Lighter and plainer quality stores are making back as far as €50/head.

Some mart managers are reporting smaller numbers of heavy ewes. However, these types remain firm. In general, heavy ewes have been making from €105/head up to €125/head over the past week, with select lots exceeding this price range.

Feeding ewes have been selling from €40/head up to €95/head for more forward-types.

Enniscorthy Mart

Kevin Murphy reported a big entry of sheep at Enniscorthy Mart on Wednesday last (September 16).

The trade for factory lambs was back by €5-6/head, while the trade for heavy ewes was also weaker.

Butcher lambs sold well on the day, as “butchers and wholesalers struggle to secure suitable lambs”. However, prices were back in comparison to the previous week.

Kevin noted that there is a strong online, as well as in-house, demand for the “right sheep”. Butcher lamb prices ranged from €111/head up to €120/head.

Factory-finished lambs were back €4-5/head, even though buyers seemed eager for lambs, Kevin added. Factory lamb prices ranged anywhere from €103/head up to €113/head.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices:

  • Two lambs weighing 55kg sold for €120/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 52kg sold for €114/head;
  • 11 lambs weighing 47kg sold for €112/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €111/head;
  • Eight lambs weighing 53kg sold for €115/head;
  • 11 lambs weighing 45kg sold for €113/head;
  • 21 lambs weighing 47kg sold for €111/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 44kg sold for €108/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 46kg sold for €106/head.

A large section of the sale consisted of stores, which haven’t fallen (in price) despite the drop in finished lamb prices. Light stores sold from €75/head up to €93/head, while forward stores made from €88/head up to €98/head.

Sample store lamb prices:

  • 10 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €92/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 37kg sold for €91/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 37kg sold for €93/head;
  • 19 lambs weighing 35kg sold for €85/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 32kg sold for €80/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 30kg sold for €80/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €95/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 41kg sold for €93/head;
  • 23 lambs weighing 41kg sold for €94/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €93/head;
  • 13 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €98/head.

Heavy cast ewes were extremely scarce on the day, according to Kevin. Prices for these lots ranged from €107/head up to a tops of €123/head. Store ewes were plentiful on the day and prices for these types ranged from €71/head up to €94/head for more forward types.

Dowra Mart

Terry McGovern reported a bigger sale of sheep at Dowra Mart on Friday last (September 18).

The trade was mixed on the day, according to Terry, with factory lambs back by €2-5/head in comparison to the previous week.

In general, butcher and factory-fit lambs sold from €98/head up to €116/head.

Forward-type store lambs made from €80/head up to €95/head, with lighter mountain-type stores making from €50/head up to €75/head.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices:

  • 13 lambs weighing 53kg sold for €116/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 51kg sold for €114.50/head;
  • 11 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €112/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 46kg sold for €110.50/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 46kg sold for €109/head;
  • 18 lambs weighing 45kg sold for €106/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 44kg sold for €103/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €100/head.

Sample store lamb prices: 

  • 15 lambs weighing 41kg sold for €93.50/head;
  • 13 lambs weighing 38kg sold for €88.50/head;
  • 36 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €86/head;
  • 19 lambs weighing 35kg sold for €85/head;
  • 21 lambs weighing 33kg sold for €81/head.