The sheep trade is starting the week like it finished the last; steady, with no change in prices to report.

Demand stemming from Ramadan and Easter up to a week ago has resulted in strong kills in recent weeks. This has led to a steady trade, with factories sticking tight to what they were offering last week across the board into this week.

Base prices on offer for spring lambs with quality assurance bonuses factored in are leaving an all-in price of €8.00/kg across the board from factories, with meat processing plants paying up to 20-20.5kg carcass weight.

Prices at the top end of the market for spring lambs continue to range from €8.20/kg up to €8.30/kg.

Meanwhile, hoggets are holding similarly, with base prices on offer from factories ranging from €7.05-7.20/kg.

Prices at the top end of the market continue to range from €7.30-7.40/kg for hoggets, with reports indicating prices 5-10c/kg north of this also being secured in cases.

Furthermore, the cull ewe trade is holding firm, with quotes holding at €3.70-3.80/kg and deals topping €4.00/kg at the top end of the market.

‘Steady on’

The sheep chair of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association, Sean McNamara said that prices are holding steady at the start of this week.

Speaking to Agriland, Sean said: “Factories are holding prices at the minute.

“We’ve seen strong kills in recent weeks and now you are starting to see hogget numbers dwindle the last week or two.

“Hopefully now, we will see spring lamb prices kick on further as hoggets numbers decline. Farmers need a minimum of €8.00/kg for spring lambs just to cover themselves.

“Grass isn’t in plentiful supply with growth very slow so there won’t be big numbers of spring lambs coming through in the next few weeks, so hopefully as supplies tighten, prices will push on.”