The sheep trade is starting the new year on steady footing, with lamb prices holding to the same levels as seen towards the end of 2021.

Base prices for lambs are currently standing at €6.90-7.10/kg – similar to where they left off in 2021.

Meanwhile, lamb prices at the top end of the market are hitting anywhere from €7.20/kg up to €7.30/kg in general, with prices 5-10c/kg north of this also reportedly being secured.

Talking to processors, the biggest challenge they face – similar to other industries – is that of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen huge numbers of positive cases over the Christmas period and into the new year.

Commenting, one processor said: “Staffing hasn’t been a problem but with numbers of positive cases being reported daily, this could change – but hopefully not.”

Factories have, once again, stressed that they only want in-spec lambs.

Another processor said that lambs of a 16-22kg carcass weight are wanted, not 25kg-plus carcass lambs or lambs killing out less than 15kg”.

Meanwhile, looking at the ewe trade, prices of €3.20-3.40/kg appears to be where it’s at currently.

‘Lamb prices holding steady’

Speaking to Agriland about the sheep trade at present, Sean McNamara of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) said that €7.20-7.30/kg is on the table for lambs.

“The trade is starting on a steady note for the new year with €7.20-7.30/kg on the table for lambs at the minute.

“With the current Covid-19 situation, it’s hard to know how the trade will pan out over the coming weeks but, for now, it’s holding steady.”