Sheep marts: Stronger trade for finished lambs in places despite pull in factory prices

Speaking to mart managers over the past week, some say that the trade for finished lambs is stronger by €1-2/head, while others say it’s weaker by €3-4/head.

Last week, butcher lambs traded from €110/head up to €118/head, with some lots exceeding this price range and making up to €121.50/head.

Factory-finished lambs traded from as low as €92/head up to €110/head, with select lots again breaking past this and making up to €115/head; however, prices as high as this were few and far between. 

Store lambs remain a solid trade and prices for these lots ranged from €60/head for plain, light store lambs up to €92/head for more forward-type stores.

Cast ewes were an easier trade according to many mart managers last week. Prices for heavy, well-fleshed ewes topped out at €130/head, with the majority selling for €105-120/head.

Dowra Mart

Terry McGovern reported a larger entry of sheep at last Friday’s (September 25) weekly sheep sale.

He noted a stronger trade for finished lambs. On the day, factory lambs made from €98/head up to a top call of €121.50/head for butcher lambs.

Terry also said that stores were a slighter better trade as well. Forward-type stores sold from €80/head up to €95/head, while lighter stores traded from €60/head up to €80/head.

Cull ewes were a solid trade and prices for these lots ranged from €80/head for feeding ewes up to a top price of €129/head for well-fleshed ewes.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices:

  • Four lambs weighing 52kg sold for €121.50/head;
  • 16 lambs weighing 54kg sold for €117/head;
  • 15 lambs weighing 47kg sold for €111.50/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 47kg sold for €109/head;
  • 13 lambs weighing 44kg sold for €101.50/head;
  • 18 lambs weighing 43kg sold for €97/head.

Sample store lamb prices: 

  • 12 lambs weighing 37kg sold for €92.50/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €89/head;
  • 18 lambs weighing 34kg sold for €84/head;
  • 30 lambs weighing 32kg sold for €79/head.

Enniscorthy Mart

Kevin Murphy reported an improved trade for finished lambs by €1-2/head at last Wednesday’s weekly sheep sale.

He noted that factory buyers and butchers were eager for suitable lambs, as at the moment, finished lambs aren’t overly plentiful.

Prices for butcher lambs ranged from €110/head up to €118/head. Factory-finished lambs were a stronger trade by €1-2/head. These lots sold from €104/head up to €110/head.

Sample butcher and factory-fit lamb prices:

  • Six lambs weighing 55kg sold for €118/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €115/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €115/head;
  • 22 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €110/head;
  • 13 lambs weighing 48kg sold for €107/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 45kg sold for €105/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 46kg sold for €104/head.

Store lambs continue to “sell very well and every week there are plenty of buyers for stores”. Kevin said that like the finished lambs, more of the stores have been moved earlier in the season than in previous years, which might make stores increasingly scarce as the year goes on.

Light stores ranged from €70/head up to €90/head. Forward stores, like the lighter stores, were plentiful on the day and “seem to offer more value than the lighter stores”. Prices for these lots ranged from €89/head up to €97/head.

Sample store lamb prices:

  • 29 lambs weighing 28kg sold for €76/head;
  • 13 lambs weighing 32kg sold for €78/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 37kg sold for €87/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €83/head;
  • 26 lambs weighing 41kg sold for €97/head;
  • 17 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €95/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 40kg sold for €93/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 38kg sold for €91/head.

Kevin noted that heavy cast ewes remain very scarce and have been a weaker trade for the last two weeks. Prices for heavy cull ewes ranged from €105/head up to a tops of €127/head.

There was a big entry of store ewes on offer last week. Kevin added that store cull ewes haven’t seen the same drop as their heavier counterparts, as some farmers are opting to buy store cull ewes instead of store lambs. Prices for these lots ranged from €69/head up to €94/head.