Sheep marts: Lamb trade continues in positive fashion

A strong trade was reported again, by mart managers, for finished lambs last week, as the upturn in prices for butcher and factory-type lambs continues.

Mart managers reported that factory agents and butchers were ‘very active’ in trying to secure finished lambs. It is being reported that heavier lambs aren’t as plentiful, which has forced factory buyers to compete for lighter, albeit nicely covered fleshed lambs in order to meet demand.

Butcher lambs over the past week have been trading for between €117/head and €128/head; however, in general, the majority of these types sold for €119-124/head. 

In terms of factory-fit lambs, prices for these types ranged between €104/head up to €117/head, with some quality lots making up to €121/head. Forward-type lambs, weighing between 39kg and 42kg, made from €95/head up to €104/head.

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Looking at store lambs, lambs weighing between 36kg and 38kg, in general, sold for €82-94/head, while lighter store lambs, weighing anywhere from 24kg up to 35kg, made from €73/head up to €90/head.

Again, last week, the trade for heavy ewes was quite strong. Well-fleshed ewes made up to €138/head in places. 

Overall, heavy ewes made anywhere from €115/head up to €131/head, with quality lots exceeding this price range.

Breeding ewe hoggets made from €120/head up to €205/head, with many of these lots, in general, trading from between €145/head and €165/head.

Baltinglass Mart

Baltinglass Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Saturday, July 11. According to the mart manager, Tom Coleman, the rain over the last number of weeks coupled with improved grass growth rates has led to an improved trade, especially for store lambs.

On the day, there was a complete clearance of stock. Butcher and factory-fit lambs made from €105/head up to €118/head.

Forward store lambs, in excess of 39kg, sold from €96/head up to €105/head, while light store lambs weighing from 32kg up to 36kg sold from €75/head up to €82/head. Lambs weighing between 37kg and 39kg made from €83/head up to €96/head.

A number of ewe hoggets were presented for sale on the day; these lots made up to €150/head. Cast ewes made from €65/head up to a top price of €131/head.

Sample lamb prices:

  • Four lambs weighing 47.5kg sold for €118/head;
  • Three lambs weighing 48kg sold for €117/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 45kg sold for €111/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 43kg sold for €105/head;
  • Seven lambs weighing 42kg sold for €101/head;
  • Five lambs weighing 37kg sold for €88/head;
  • 16 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €82/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 33kg sold for €76/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 24kg sold for €81/head.

Dowra Mart

Over 3,000 sheep were on offer at Dowra Mart on Friday last, July 10. According to the mart manager, Terry McGovern, it was an ‘exceptional sale’, that saw a very large entry of sheep that were met with a ‘very strong trade’.

Terry added that store lambs – which were a good trade on the day – are appearing earlier this year, with farmers, in particular, keen on purchasing these lots.

On the day, butcher and factory-fit lambs sold from €105/head up to a top price of €124/head, while forward stores made from €85/head up to €107/head.

Lighter mountain stores made from €60/head up to €80/head. Heavy cull ewes made from €85/head up to €120/head, while breeding hoggets made from €120/head up to a top price of €174/head.

Ewes with lambs at foot made from €120/head up to €242/head.

Sample lamb prices: 

  • Five lambs weighing 49kg sold for €124/head;
  • 19 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €123/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 46kg sold for €121/head;
  • 17 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €118/head;
  • 18 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €115/head;
  • 25 lambs weighing 40kg sold for €108.50/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €103/head;
  • 19 lambs weighing 37kg sold for €94/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 35kg sold for €90/head;
  • 22 lambs weighing 32kg sold for €85/head;
  • 21 lambs weighing 30.5kg sold for €76.50/head;
  • 11 lambs weighing 28kg sold for €73/head.

Enniscorthy Mart

Enniscorthy Mart held its largest sheep sale of the year, on Wednesday last, July 8.

According to the assistant mart manager, Kevin Murphy, the trade for the time of the year remains ‘extremely strong’.

He added that finished lambs are meeting a strong demand from factory agents and butchers, all of which are very keen to secure a steady supply of stock.

Butchers lambs weren’t as plentiful last week. Prices for these lots ranged from €117 up to €127/head for lambs weighing 50kg. The majority of these types sold for in or around the €120/head mark.

Furthermore, factory-fit lambs sold anywhere from €104/head up to €117/head.

Butcher and factory-fit lamb prices: 

  • Eight lambs weighing 52kg sold for €120/head;
  • Four lambs weighing 50kg sold for €117/head;
  • Two lambs weighing 50kg sold for €127/head;
  • 11 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €118/head;
  • 25 lambs weighing 42kg sold for €107/head;
  • 17 lambs weighing 44kg sold for €110/head;
  • 23 lambs weighing 45kg sold for €113/head;
  • 18 lambs weighing 43kg sold for €108/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 43kg sold for €112/head.

There was a very large entry of store lambs on the day, according to Kevin. Forward stores made from €88/head for lambs weighing 38kg up to €98/head for lambs weighing 41kg.

Light store lambs were met with an ‘excellent trade’. Prices for these lots ranged from €65/head for lambs weighing 23kg up to €88/head for lambs weighing 33kg.

Sample store lamb prices:

  • 16 lambs weighing 40kg sold for €97/head;
  • Five lambs weighing 38kg sold for €93/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 38kg sold for €90/head;
  • 28 lambs weighing 33kg sold for €83/head;
  • 34 lambs weighing 30kg sold for €79/head;
  • 34 lambs weighing 29kg sold for €79/head;
  • 27 lambs weighing 32kg sold for €80/head;
  • 16 lambs weighing 35kg sold for €86/head.

Cast ewes were very scarce on the day, Kevin noted. Heavy ewes topped out at €135/head. In general, prices for well-fleshed ewes ranged from €118/head up to €135/head.

Store ewe prices ranged from €80/head up to €102/head.

A small number of ewe hoggets were presented for sale. These lots sold from €165/head up to a top price of €188/head.