Sheep Marts: Spring lambs back slightly as Easter passes

Spring lamb prices have eased slightly in some marts, with prices back by €1-2/head, despite the relatively tight supplies of new season lamb on offer.

A number of mart managers said that a low factory price is the main reason for the easier prices this week, with sheep factories holding spring lamb quotes at 640c/kg.

Both the ICSA and IFA have called on sheep factories to increase the prices paid for new season lamb, and they say that farmers need €7/kg to make this system viable.

Butchers bought the majority of spring lambs on offer in Tullow Mart on Tuesday, according to Mart Manager Eric Driver.

The Mart Manager said that factories are slow to buy spring lambs, as the have a set price and they are not willing to pay more than this price.

Spring lambs were also a little easier in Headford Mart on Saturday, according to the Mart Manager Joe Wynne.

He said that there was a very small number of spring lambs on offer and only 80 new season lambs passed through the ring on Saturday.

Like Tullow, Wynne said that most of the lambs were purchased by butchers for the local trade, with these lambs trading from €128-140/head. 

Mart report round up

Raphoe Mart

There was good demand for spring lambs in Raphoe Mart on Monday, according to the Mart Manager Anne Harkin. There was a full clearance of these lots, which traded from €3.26-3.50/kg.

Hoggets also met with an excellent trade, especially for the quality lots, which sold from €2.44-2.52/kg.

Extra buyers are starting to appear with demand for all ages of ewes and lambs. The top price ewe with twin lambs sold for €280, while cast ewes sold to a high of €141.

Tullow Mart

Spring lambs were €1-2/head easier in Tullow Mart on Tuesday, according to the Mart Manager Eric Driver, with the hammer falling on these lots from €3.26-3.50/kg.

Despite spring lambs being a little easier, the hogget trade continues to hold steady in the Carlow venue, with the lots over 50kg making €128-134/head. Store hoggets over 45kg sold from €116-128.

There was also good farmer demand for ewes with lambs at foot, as ewes with single lambs sold from €135-222, while cast ewes made €55-133, with the majority selling from €90-110.

Mountbellew Mart

There was a smaller number of sheep on offer in Mountbellew Mart on Saturday, but hoggets met with a firm trade and there was good demand for the fleshed heavier lots. The small number of spring lambs on offer also met with a firm trade.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 52.5kg – €130
  • 52kg – €130
  • 47kg – €120
  • 48kg – €125
  • 39kg – €104.50

There was also increased activity for ewes with lambs at foot, with a near complete clearance of these lots.

First crops breeding ewes with twin lambs sold from €260-285, while three second crops ewes with five lambs made €242.50.

The number of cast ewes on offer remained similar to previous weeks and the top priced ewe made €140, most of the cast ewes on offer made over €110.

Baltinglass Mart

There was a smaller number of sheep on offer in Baltinglass Mart on Saturday, according to the Mart Manager Joe Kinsella.

Unlike other venues, where spring lambs are present on the market, Kinsella said that the first of the spring lambs usually do not appear until May in the Co. Wicklow venue.

He said that the best of the hoggets sold for €130, while the lighter store lots traded from €75-98. Hoggets weighting 42-50kg made €105-125 each.

Kinsella said that cast ewes continue to remain a good trade, with the hammer falling on these lots from €50-115, but there was only a very small number of ewes with lambs on offer.

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