Sheep marts: Ferocious appetite for lambs sees prices reach €155-163/head

A ferocious appetite was seen at mart sales last week for all categories of lambs, with butcher types reaching highs of €155-163/head.

Mart managers reported that both butcher and factory agent activity was extremely high, with prices up €10/head at many marts in comparison to the previous week.

Looking at the prices, butcher lambs/hoggets weighing in excess of 49kg sold from €140/head for lots lacking flesh up to highs of €155-159/head in general, with David Quinn of Carnew reporting that finished lambs reached €163/head last Thursday.

Prices of between €145-150/head were regularly achieved for well-fleshed lambs at sales early last week, with prices rising to €150-155/head as the week progressed.

Slightly lighter lambs in the 46-48kg weight bracket sold to highs of €138-146/head, with many selling back to €135/head.

Lambs in the 40-44kg bracket sold to highs of €135/head, with the general run of prices ranging from €117/head up to €128-130/head.

The cull ewe trade also performed strongly, with many mart managers saying that well-fleshed ewes traded anywhere from €120/head up to €145/head.

The number of in-lamb ewes being presented for sale continues to rise, with many mart managers reporting prices ranging from €150/head up to a tops of €200/head.

Lastly, ewes with lambs at foot traded from €150/head for singles up to €280/head for twins and triplets.

Enniscorthy Mart

Enniscorthy’s Kevin Murphy reported a much bigger entry of sheep at last Wednesday’s sale (January 13).

Kevin said: “Even on the back of an extremely good trade last week, finished lambs/hoggets were up a further €6-10/head in places.

“There was a very strong online presence from factory agents and local butchers all of which led to an exceptional trade for the time of the year.

“Stores were scarce on the day and they to continue to rise in line with the finished sheep.”

Looking at the trade, butchers were an excellent trade selling anywhere from €143/head for five lambs weighing 50kg lambs up to a top price of €159/head for nine lambs weighing 58kg lambs bought by a local butcher.

Sample butcher lamb prices:

  • 58kg sold for €159/head or €2.74/kg;
  • 56kg sold for €155/head or €2.76/kg;
  • 56kg sold for €153/head or €2.73/kg;
  • 54kg sold for €150/head or €2.70/kg;
  • 50kg sold for €147/head or €2.94/kg;
  • 50kg sold for €148/head or €2.96/kg;
  • 52kg sold for €147/head or €2.82/kg;
  • 50kg sold for €143/head or €2.86/kg.

Factory lambs as well were up between €6-8/head on last week and made anywhere from €132/head for 11 lambs weighing 42kg up to the excellent price of €149/head for 22 lambs weighing 49kg.

Sample factory lamb prices:

  • 49kg sold for €149/head or €3.04/kg;
  • 49kg sold for €147/head or €3.00/kg;
  • 49kg sold for €147/head or €3.00/kg;
  • 49kg sold for €145/head or €2.95/kg;
  • 46kg sold for €143/head or €3.10/kg;
  • 46kg sold for €140/head or €3.04/kg;
  • 45kg sold for €138/head or €3.06/kg;
  • 45kg sold for €134/head or €2.97/kg;
  • 42kg sold for €134/head or €3.19/kg.

Heavy store lambs were scarce on the day but the lighter stores were more plentiful than last week with plenty of farmers looking for stores still. Light stores ranged from €95/head up to €122/head. Forward stores ranged from €121/head up to €128/head.

Sample store lamb prices: 

  • 37kg sold for €122/head or €3.29/kg;
  • 35kg sold for €121/head or €3.45/kg;
  • 35kg sold for €112/head or €3.20/kg;
  • 36kg sold for €101/head or €2.80/kg;
  • 33kg sold for €100/head or €3.03/kg;
  • 28kg sold for €100/head or €3.57/kg;
  • 43kg sold for €128/head or €2.97/kg;
  • 42kg sold for €125/head or €2.97/kg;
  • 40kg sold for €123/head or €3.07/kg;
  • 44kg sold for €121/head or €2.75/kg.

Cast ewes were also more plentiful last week according to Kevin, with prices for well-fleshed ewes reaching €135/head.