Sheep marts: Farmers look to store lambs as an alternative to ‘dear’ cattle

The store lamb trade is beginning to take off in marts across the country, with more lambs coming on stream on a weekly basis.

According to the Manager of Baltinglass Mart, Joe Kinsella, more and more farmers are looking to buy store lambs as an alternative to cattle.

Speaking to Agriland, Kinsella said some farmers are switching from expensive cattle to store lambs in a bid to deal with heavy grass covers on their farms.

On Saturday, he said, store lambs met with a good trade with lambs weighing 33-34kg trading at €80/head, while heavier stores (40kg) sold from €75-80 each.

Kinsella also said farmers are also buying store cast ewes and these lots are selling from €60-105 each.

However, the factory lamb trade was a little easier than the week before, he said, with prices back by €3-4/head compared to the week before. And, the best of these lots sold up to €2.67/kg.

Mountbellew Mart

Factory and store lambs met with an easier trade in Mountbellew Mart on Saturday, according to the Mart Manager Marianne Higgins.

Higgins said there was a smaller sale than the week before, with 1,000 passing through the ring. Store lambs were slightly easier trade on previous week with prices ranging from €70-91 or €2.09-2.59/kg.

Factory lamb prices were also a little easier and the majority of these lots traded from €1.97-2.31/kg.

However, despite the ease in the lamb trade, Higgins said that a large number of stag ewes on offer met with a good trade selling from €75-117 each.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 45kg – €104 or €2.31/kg
  • 52.5kg – €105 or €2.00/kg
  • 50kg – €100 or €2.00/kg
  • 54.5kg – €107.50 or €1.97/kg
  • 47.5/kg – €98 or €2.06/kg

Kilkenny Mart

Factory and butcher lambs met with a tougher trade in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill on Monday, according to the Mart Auctioneer George Candler.

Candler said spring lamb prices were back by €3-5/head as there were less customers present around the ring.

He continued to say that the top call for butcher lambs was €120 as opposed to €125 in the corresponding sale the week before, while factory lambs made up to €102, down from €105 last week.

Butcher lambs sold from €2.05-2.27/kg, factory lambs made €2.05-2.25/kg while store lambs traded from €2.10-2.26/kg or €75-85 each.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 40kg: €84 or €2.10/kg
  • 37kg: €80 or €2.16/kg
  • 35kg: €77 or €2.20/kg
  • 34kg: €77 or €2.26/kg
  • 46kg: €102 or €2.22/kg
  • 45kg: €101 or €2.24/kg
  • 58kg: €120 or €2.07/kg
  • 54kg: €118 or €2.19/kg