Sheep marts: Stronger spring lamb trade witnessed at the ringside

Aided by a sense of stability in the factory trade, spring lamb returns have improved significantly over recent days. Prices have improved by €5-10/head of late in marts across the country.

Over recent days, factory lambs sold for €2.60-2.90/kg, while heavier butcher lambs traded at €2.50-3.00/kg.

Like previous weeks, cast ewes also remained in demand and a top call of €158/head was recorded in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill.

Mountbellew Mart

No great change in sheep numbers was recorded at Mountbellew Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Saturday last, where cast ewes were said to have met a strong trade and, as a result, returns were up by €10/head.

On the day, cast ewe prices ranged from €88 up to €130/head, while ewes with lambs at foot traded from €147 up to €270.

However, there was a slight increase in spring lamb numbers. Despite this, a 100% clearance rate was recorded on the day. Ewe hoggets were also in demand and these lots sold at €119-137/head.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 42kg: €115 or €2.74/kg;
  • 39.6kg: €110 or €2.78/kg;
  • 52kg: €131 or €2.52/kg;
  • 45.3kg: €120 or €2.65/kg;
  • 41.5kg: €112 or €2.70/kg.

Raphoe Mart

A good entry of sheep was recorded at Raphoe Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Monday last and a full clearance rate was reported.

Light spring lambs (32-36kg) sold for €80-95 and forward stores (42-44kg) made €120-130. Looking at finished lamb returns, those falling into the factory category (44-48kg) traded at €130-135, while the heavier butcher types (48-50kg) sold for €135-140.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 54kg: €149 or €2.76/kg;
  • 60kg: €151 or €2.52/kg;
  • 33kg: €90 or €2.73/kg;
  • 42kg: €129 or €3.07/kg;
  • 48kg: €140 or €2.92/kg.

Similar to previous weeks, ewes with single lambs sold from €150 up to €178, while cast ewes traded at €70-153.

Kilkenny Mart

Those selling lambs at Monday’s sheep sale in Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, were smiling after the returns generated, according to the mart’s George Candler.

Numbers remained small in the Kilkenny-based venue, he noted, which helped to create and excellent trade all round. On the day, lambs peaked at €155. Butcher lambs sold at €2.60-3.02/kg and factory lambs sold for €2.60-2.85/kg.

Carnew Mart

A smaller entry of 1,025 sheep was on offer at Carnew Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Thursday last. Lamb prices were reported to have improved by €5-10/head on the back of factory and butcher demand.

Heavy lambs (>45kg) sold for €125-137, returns of €110-121 were generated for lambs weighing 40-44kg and the store lambs on offer (35-39kg) traded at €90-106.

Demand also remained strong for ewe hoggets and cast ewes, with the former trading at €115-142/head. On the day, heavy cull ewes sold for €118-140, while their lighter counterparts sold for €60-110.