Sheep marts: Factory price cut fails to dampen spring lamb trade

Factories have moved to cut spring lamb prices by up to 40c/kg in recent days, citing market competitiveness as the main reason for the fall.

Most plants are now offering 560-575c/kg for new-season lambs – a price drop of approximately €8/head on last week.

However, as of yet, the fall has yet to filter down to the ringside trade as spring lambs are still breaking the €130/head barrier in many venues.

Tullow Mart

Spring lamb prices remained at similar levels to last week in Tullow Mart on Tuesday. Lambs weighing in excess of 45kg sold for €120-132 and those in the 45-47kg category traded at €122-125.

Lighter lambs continued to hold steady in the Co. Carlow venue. Lambs weighing 40-44kg made €104-122, while the majority of 41-43kg lambs sold for €107-115.

A number of store lambs also passed through the ring on Tuesday. These types continued to meet a steady trade, with €85-92 being paid for lambs weighing 35-39kg.

There was also no change reported in the cast ewe market. Feeding ewes sold for €10-15kg over, while the heavier lots on offer traded up to €125/head.

A number of breeding ewes were also on offer. Three and four-year-old ewes, suitable for breeding, made up to €144 and ewes with single lambs at foot made €122-180.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 300 sheep were on offer in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Tuesday. A smaller number of sheep were presented for sale due to the change of day, as a result of Monday being a Bank Holiday.

Spring lamb prices peaked at €130/head, butcher lambs traded at €2.50-2.70/kg and the factory lambs made €2.40-2.56/kg or €58-68 over.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 53kg: €130 or €2.50/kg.
  • 48kg: €123 or €2.56/kg.
  • 46 kg: €124 or €2.70/kg.
  • 45kg: €115 or €2.56/kg.
  • 44kg: €110 or €2.50/kg.
  • 41kg: €100 or €2.44/kg.

A number of ewes also passed through the ring in the Co. Kilkenny venue. Cast lots made €55-107 and prices of €170-€220 were paid for ewes with lambs at foot.

Raphoe Mart

There was a good entry of sheep in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal on Monday, where prices remained at similar levels to last week’s sale.

Spring lambs (38-40kg) traded at €95-104, lambs weighing 40-44kg made €105-118 and the heavier lots (44-52kg) sold for €118-126.

A selection of ewes with lambs at foot were also on offer. Ewes with single lambs made €120-190 and prices of €160-270 were paid for ewes with twins. Cast ewes sold for €60-125.

Mountbellew Mart

Cast ewes met with an improved trade in Mountbellew Mart on Saturday, while lambs remained a similar trade to the previous week’s sale. Light lambs (36-40kg) traded at €2.47-2.50/kg and the heavier lots made €2.50-2.61/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 42kg: €109 or €2.60/kg.
  • 43.5kg: €112 or €2.57/kg.
  • 40kg: €100 or €2.50/kg.
  • 43.8kg: €110 or €2.51/kg.
  • 42.6kg: €111 or €2.61/kg.
  • 49kg: €118 or €2.41/kg.

However, hogget prices were slightly easier and sold for €2.04-2.56/kg.

There was also a very brisk trade for the large number of ewes with lambs at foot on offer. These lots sold for €160-256. In addition, cast ewes made €78-116.