Sheep marts: Mixed results for spring lamb sales

The spring lamb trade has come under some pressure this week, as factories opted to cut quotes by as much as 20c/kg.

Although the cut has had an impact on trading in some marts across the country, it has been lessened somewhat by the presence of butcher buyers.

These buyers are willing to go toe-to-toe with factory agents when it comes to securing lambs and they’re also serving the vital purpose of keeping a floor under live prices.

Over the last number of days, spring lambs have generally traded for €2.50-2.60/kg; where butchers are present at the ringside, the price is generally at the upper end of this price scale.

Tullow Mart

A very lively trade was reported for forward lambs at Tullow Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Tuesday. Lambs weighing >45kg sold from €127 up to a top call of €140; the majority of these lots traded at €130-136.

Lambs falling into the 42-45kg bracket made €114-130 and the majority of the well-fleshed 43-44kg lambs sold at €120-125.

Despite the forward lambs remaining strong, some resistance was witnessed in the store lamb market – probably due to the warm weather and a shortage of grass. 37-42kg lambs traded from €83 and €84 all the way up to a top price of €105 for 40-41kg lambs.

Cast ewes sold from €25 to €30 over, while the heavy ewes on offer sold to a top call of €142.

Tuesday also witnessed the opening breeding sale of the year in the Carlow-based venue; hogget ewes sold at €170-192, while three and four-year-old ewes made €140-165.

Raphoe Mart

A good entry of sheep was witnessed at Monday’s sheep sale in Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, and the trade was reported to have remained steady for all stock.

On the day, store lambs (28-32kg) sold from €75 up to €80, while the heavier lots (36-39kg) traded at €80-90/head.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 32-36kg: €80-90;
  • 36-39kg: €90-100;
  • 42-46kg: €110-118;
  • 46-50kg: €118-125;
  • 50-55kg: €125-132.

A number of cast ewes were also on offer and these lots sold from €70 up to a top call of €140.

Mountbellew Mart

Sheep numbers were up at last Saturday’s sale in Mountbellew Mart, where lambs met an easier trade.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 42.5kg: €107 or €2.52/kg;
  • 48kg: €115 or €2.40/kg;
  • 45.3kg: €118 or €2.60/kg;
  • 49.5kg: €125 or €2.53/kg;
  • 38kg: €95 or €2.50/kg;
  • 52.5kg: €125 or €2.38/kg;
  • 37kg: €97 or €2.62/kg;
  • 40.8kg: €102 or €2.50/kg.

On the day, ewes with lambs at foot made €133-234 and were said to have met a brisk trade, while cast ewe prices ranged from €88 up to €140.

Roscommon Mart

Roscommon Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Wednesday last and spring lambs sold to a top call of €130. Lambs weighing 40-45kg sold for €2.52-2.74/kg, those falling into the 46-47kg bracket made €2.50-2.65/kg and the heavier lambs (50-55kg) on offer made €2.36-2.40/kg.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 44kg: €114 or €2.59/kg;
  • 41kg: €112.50 or €2.74/kg;
  • 42.7kg: €110 or €2.58/kg;
  • 47.7kg: €120 or €2.52/kg;
  • 46.8kg: €120 or €2.56/kg;
  • 47.2kg: €118 or €2.50/kg;
  • 55kg: €130 or €2.36/kg;
  • 51.3kg: €123 or €2.40/kg.

The trade for cast ewes was similar to previous weeks and prices ranged from €95 up to €125.