The sheep trade continues into this week on a downward slope, with base quotes for lambs falling below the €6.00/kg mark.

In what has been a tough opening few weeks in 2023, the start of this week is starting no different, with base prices on late last week falling by up to 20c/kg – when prices had already fallen 15-20c/kg since the earlier part of the week.

Procurement staff are being very coy about the outlook for the trade for the rest of the week, with one procurement manager saying that they are taking a day-by-day approach when it comes to naming prices.

Quotes at some meat processing plants have been hard to come by, once again, this week.

The only factory to give an official quote was Irish Country Meats which is offering €5.80/kg plus a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus for lambs – back 20c/kg on last week.

Reports from other factories indicate a base price of €6.00/kg.

This leaving base quotes from €5.80-6.00/kg with QA lambs from the factories that offered a quote ranging from €5.90/kg up to €6.15/kg.

Prices at the top end of the market are varying between factories as a gap opens up between base prices, therefore those trading at the higher end of the market are securing prices from €6.10-6.30/kg in general, depending on what factory the lambs are being processed in.

Meanwhile, the ewe trade remains solid, with quotes at €3.00/kg and top prices generally coming in at €3.50/kg.