Sheep marts: Top prices of €127-132/head achieved for heavy lambs last week

It was another strong week for sheep marts across the country, with prices again for butcher and factory lambs stronger once again.

Prices for lambs in factories increased last Monday and again during the middle of the week and this led to a very strong trade across marts, with factory agents and butchers competing for those heavy, well-fleshed lambs.

Base quotes for lambs hit a top of €5.30/kg last week and this week that figure has increased by a further 10c/kg to €5.40/kg – with top deals of up to €5.60/kg now being secured for lambs.

As has been widely reported the last few weeks, supplies remain tight for finished lambs and this has led to fierce competition at online/tender sales for well-fleshed lambs.

Butcher lambs continue to sell well in excess of €120/head, with top prices of between €127/head and €132/head being achieved over the past week.

Factory lambs continue to command a strong price with very few lambs weighing 43kg or more selling less than €105-106/head.

In general, factory lambs have been making from €106/head up to €118/head for lambs weighing 43-48kg.

Forward store lambs have been a flying trade this past week, with 39-42kg lambs hitting the €100/head mark and selling up to €105-108/head in cases.

Lambs in the 36-38kg weight bracket have also been selling strongly, with prices of €88/head up to €95/head being achieved for these lambs, with select lots making closer to the €100/head mark.

Going back in the weights again, long-keep lambs are also trading well, with mart managers reporting that factory agents are buying stores and feeding them on themselves.

Also Read: 'Factory agents are buying store lambs for themselves and feeding them on'

Nicely-presented long-keep stores are generally selling from €80-90/head, with ewe lambs in many cases selling that bit stronger. Light mountain-type stores are selling back to €50/head and making up to €65-70/head.

Turning to the cull ewe trade, again factory prices are moving forward for heavy, well-fleshed ewes. The trade at marts is holding firm, with top prices of €120-128/head being achieved for well-fleshed ewes.

Dowra Mart

Terry McGovern reported a smaller sale of sheep at Dowra Mart on Friday last (November 13), with 1,220 sheep sold on the day.

However, despite the smaller sale of sheep, the trade was “very strong” with factory lamb prices better by €3-7/head on the previous week.

The general run of prices for factory and butcher lambs ranged from €106/head up to a top call of €128.50/head.

There was a good entry of forward store lambs on the day and these lots sold from €90/head up to €105.50/head.

A small entry of light mountain-type store lambs made from €65/head up to €80/head.

Turning to the cull ewe trade, heavy cull ewes made up to €110/head with feeding ewes selling from €60/head up to €80/head.

Sample butcher and factory lamb prices: 

  • 12 lambs weighing 51kg sold for €128.50/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 52kg sold for €126/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 55kg sold for €124.50/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 51kg sold for €121/head;
  • Nine lambs weighing 45kg sold for €116/head;
  • 30 lambs weighing 46kg sold for €113.50/head;
  • 26 lambs weighing 45kg sold for €112/head;
  • 18 lambs weighing 43kg sold for €106/head.

Sample store lamb prices:

  • 14 lambs weighing 39kg sold for €105.50/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 39.5kg sold for €103/head;
  • 20 lambs weighing 40kg sold for €101.50/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 35kg sold for €99/head;
  • 17 lambs weighing 30kg sold for €94/head;
  • 22 lambs weighing 32kg sold for €93/head;
  • 27 lambs weighing 31.5kg sold for €85/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 25.5kg sold for €80/head.

Tullow Mart

Tullow Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Tuesday (November 10). The trade for butcher lambs was very strong, with a top price of €128/head being achieved.

Prices for heavy lambs (49kg+) ranged from €117/head up to €125/head with factory lambs, weighing 43-48kg selling from €106/head up to a tops of €118/head.

Slightly lighter lambs, in the 41-42kg weight bracket, were met with a flying trade with prices reaching €106-108/head.

Well-presented lambs weighing 39-40kg sold up to €104-106/head and made back to as much as €90/head.

Stores weighing 34-37kg sold from €80/head up to €99/head. In many cases, ewe lambs (weighing 34-37kg) sold the strongest.

Long-keep stores were also a strong trade with 30-32kg lambs hitting the €91/head mark. In general, these lambs sold from €80/head up to €90/head.

Lambs weighing 29kg and less generally made from €70/head up to €82/head, with poorer-quality lots selling below this mark.

Sample butcher and factory lamb prices:

  • 11 lambs weighing 53kg sold for €124/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 50kg sold for €122/head;
  • 24 lambs weighing 58kg sold for €123/head;
  • Nine lambs weighing 49kg sold for €119/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 45kg sold for €113/head;
  • Six lambs weighing 42kg sold for €107/head;
  • Nine lambs weighing 46kg sold for €111/head;
  • 10 lambs weighing 46kg sold for €114/head.

Sample store lamb prices: 

  • Six lambs weighing 40kg sold for €90/head;
  • Six (ewe) lambs weighing 39kg sold for €104/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 40kg sold for €108/head;
  • 12 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €87/head;
  • Seven lambs weighing 37kg sold for €96/head;
  • 25 lambs weighing 36kg sold for €98/head;
  • 25 lambs weighing 32kg sold for €91/head;
  • Four lambs weighing 32kg sold for €83/head;
  • 14 lambs weighing 29kg sold for €81/head.