Sheep marts: Improved trade for finished lambs

Over the past fortnight, there seems to be a bit more life coming back into the finished lamb trade.

Mart managers are reporting an improved trade for these types, as numbers, for heavy lambs, in particular, are ‘tight’.

Butcher lambs have been trading for as much as €120/head over the past seven days. In general, these types have been selling from €107/head up to €117/head.

Factory-fit lambs have been trading for €95/head up to €110/head, in general. Some mart managers noted that farmers have been drafting lambs earlier, which is seeing 41-42kg lambs being snapped up by factory agents.

Also Read: Pics and prices: Ewe lambs and hoggets the highlight of the sale at Blessington Mart

Moreover, store lambs continue to be a good trade across the board. Forward-type stores over the past week have been trading for between €86/head up to €96/head, with some lots exceeding this price range in places.

Lighter stores below 38kg are selling from €86/head down to as much €50/head for lambs lighter than 20kg.

It is being reported that more beef farmers are dipping into the store lamb market, which is also helping the trade at the minute. 

Cull ewes, in particular heavy ewes, remain a strong trade, with prices in excess of €140/head being achieved in places for well-fleshed ewes.

Overall, heavy ewes have generally been making from €110/head up to €135/head; although, as mentioned already, some ewes have exceeded this price range in some marts.

Enniscorthy Mart

Enniscorthy Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Wednesday last, August 12. On the day, the mart’s annual show and sale of crossbred ewe hoggets and ewe lambs took place, as well as a pedigree ram sale.

In terms of the trade, the assistant mart manager, Kevin Murphy, noted that heavy lambs were scarce, but that there was strong demand for them.

Butcher lambs on the day sold from €107/head up to €117/head, while factory-type lambs, which Kevin noted are being drafted earlier, made from €95/head up to €106/head.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices:

  • Five lambs weighing 52kg sold for €111/head;
  • Five lambs weighing 49kg sold for €111/head;
  • Nine lambs weighing 47kg sold for €110/head;
  • Seven lambs weighing 48kg sold for €107/head;
  • Nine lambs weighing 45kg sold for€104/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €103/head;
  • 28 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €99/head.

According to Kevin, a large proportion of the sale was made up of store lambs which were an “exceptional trade”, as grass surpluses continue to build, with many farmers who normally buy store cattle opting to buy store lambs.

Lighter stores were €4-7/head dearer, with prices ranging from €75/head up to €87/head.

Forward stores were scarce when compared to their lighter counterparts and made from €87/head up to €96/head.

Sample store lamb prices:

  • 25 lambs weighing 31kg sold for €87/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 28kg sold for €80/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 27kg sold for €80/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 27kg sold for €72/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €84/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 38kg sold for €91/head;
  • 19 lambs weighing 41kg sold for €96/head.

Turning to the cast ewe trade, Kevin highlighted that both store and heavy ewes continue to be a “great trade”.

Heavy ewes made from €110/head up to €130/head in general, with a top price of €147/head being achieved. Store ewe prices ranged from €75/head up to €100/head.

Dowra Mart

In or around 3,500 sheep went under the hammer at Dowra Mart on Friday last, August 14. According to the mart manager, Terry McGovern, there was a “very strong” trade for all classes of sheep.

Heavy lambs made up to a top price of €118.50/head on the day, with the majority of factory-fit lambs selling from €99/head up to €114/head.

Furthermore, store lambs made anywhere from €60/head up to a top price of €95/head, with some good-quality lots exceeding this price range.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices: 

  • 10 lambs weighing 50kg sold for €118.50/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 47kg sold for €117.50/head;
  • Five lambs weighing 46.5kg sold for €116/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 44kg sold for €109/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 43kg sold for €108.50/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €102.50/head.

Roscommon Mart

Roscommon Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Wednesday last, August 12. There was a strong entry of sheep on the day.

According to the mart manager, Maura Quigley, there was an improved trade across the board in comparison to the previous week.

Finished lambs made up to €116/head, with these lots, in general, selling from €95/head up to €111/head. Butcher-type lambs sold up to €115/head.

In terms of store lambs, forward-types weighing 41kg made up to €96/head. In the main, lambs weighing between 38kg and 41kg sold from €86/head up to €95/head, with lighter stores weighing 31.8kg making back to €74/head.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices: 

  • 48.3kg: €116/head;
  • 51.2kg: €115/head;
  • 47.5kg: €108/head;
  • 45.4kg: €105/head.

Sample store lamb prices: 

  • 40.7kg: €96/head;
  • 41kg: €93/head;
  • 38.2kg: €87/head;
  • 31.8kg: €74/head.