There has been a turn in the lamb trade at factories this week, taking some of the shine off the prices.
Prices quoted by processors opened as much as 30 cents/kg less than last week, with 520-530 cents/kg plus the usual bonus payments for quality on offer.
Processors blame the price cut on slower demand for lamb on the continent, now that the Eid Al Adha Islamic festival is over, and increased competition in France from British exporters.
For the week ended July 18, 67,563 sheep were processed in Irish export plants, the largest throughput so far in 2020, as processors actively sourced lamb supplies ahead of Eid al-Adha.
Throughput for the same week in 2019 was 11% lower, at 7,303 head.
August is also the normal holiday season, but it is unclear as to how Covid-19 restrictions will affect that market factor.
For the year to date, the total factory throughput of sheep in Ireland is running at 6% higher than the corresponding period in 2019.
A total of 181,000 sheep from Northern Ireland were exported to the Republic for direct slaughter so far this year, up 6% on 2019.
The flow of sheep from the North increased in the past few weeks, due to favourable factory prices in the south.
Average sheepmeat prices are running nearly 70c/kg ahead of 2019.
Entries at the marts on Monday were larger than in recent weeks, but the trade held steady.
There were 450 head on offer at Corrin Mart where butchers’ lambs sold for up to €78 over. There was a top price of €130 for a pen of eight weighing 52 kgs, while a pen of two weighing 54 kgs sold for €130, and nine weighing 53 kgs made €126.
Factory type lambs sold for up to 65 over.
There was a large sale of 700 head at Kilkenny Mart on Monday. The trade was steady overall. Butchers paid up to €75 over. A pen of 21 weighing 48 kg made €123.
A pen of ten weighing 53 kg sold for €121, and a pen of ten weighing 52 kg sold for €120.
Factory lambs made up to €71 over.