Many processors are not showing their hand with quotes for lambs this week, but they are still anxious to get supplies through their gates.
Many were not quoting their prices forward for the week when markets opened on Monday, but were far from turning away any lambs, and were willing to pay last week’s rates.
It is the time of the season when generally the prices begin to ease back, but this is not a “usual” pattern year for the sheep trade, which continues to return record prices to sheep farmers.
Any offerings being made this week for new season lambs are in the 750-765 cents/kg range, which is broadly similar to last week’s prices.
However, the word around the country is that processors are anxious for supplies, and that close to €8/kg is being achieved in deals with the processors for spring lambs.
In the first week of May, the throughput at factories (of which spring lambs accounted for 45%) was slightly ahead of the same week 12 months ago.
Because the supply of new season lambs continue to be relatively light, processors are interested in hoggets to make up their requirements.
Quotes for hoggets were thin on the ground early this week, in the 700-720 cents/kg range, but up to 740-745 cents/kg is being paid. Hogget supplies are becoming scarcer as the weeks go by.
At the marts, there was an increase in the entries at some of the sales, and the trade remained strong.
There were 320 head on offer at Corrin, where lambs sold for up to €125 over. There was a top price of €179 for a pen of four weighing 54kgs. A pen of two weighing 53 kgs made €178, and a pen of 12 weighing 49 kgs sold for €172.
Factory lots sold for up to €120 over.
There were 500 head on offer on Monday at Kilkenny Mart, where spring lambs sold for up to €125 over, with a top price of €171 for a pen of ten weighing 46 kgs.
Factory lots sold for up to €116 over.