Bord Bia report that supplies for the year to date are 5pc behind last year.
The sheep trade continued to hold firm at the marts over the past week, with no apparent change at sales in Athenry, Fermoy and Kilkenny yesterday.
Farmers with heavy lambs have realised that strong butcher demand makes the mart a better and safer option to maximise the value of their stock.
This is especially true if the lambs are going to kill out over 24kg. Even the best of the factories are cutting off at this level. Demand and prices for cull ewes shows no signs of any let up with heavy, well-fleshed lots selling from €120-150.
The well-presented, fit lambs in Athenry were making from €65-81 over the €/kg.
Prices for cull ewes ran from €80-150. A range from €64-78 with the weight bought most of the heavier lambs in Fermoy while lighter lots made up to €66 over.
A smallish sale in Kilkenny met with a steady trade as the butcher lambs were selling for €51-76 with the weight in a price range of €103-128. Factory lots made from €54-67 over at prices of €104-115.
Stores sold to a tops of €96. Cull ewes varied from €60-136, while ewes with a lamb or lambs at foot ranged from €180-280.
Carnew had 2,100 sheep offered for sale and reported similar prices to the previous week.
Heavy lambs over 50kg sold for €125-133. The 45-50kg lots made from €115-126. Stores moved at €79-112. Prices for the heavy cull ewes ran from €130-164. The lighter types sold for €65-120. In-lamb ewes ranged from €120-185. Ewes with lambs at foot made from €140-240.
Sheep numbers were steady at Dowra Mart on Saturday last. Trade was strong for all classes. Factory lambs made from €100-132 each with short-keep stores making from €75-95. Lighter stores were making from €60-80. Fleshed cull ewes were selling for €90-150, while ewes for grazing made from €55-90.
Ewes with a pair of lambs at foot ranged from €180-250. Ewes with singles made from €100-200. The better quality in-lamb ewes moved at €150-200. Older plainer ewes were making from €80-150.
Blackface mountain wether lambs were making from €36-81/hd in Maam Cross, while the ewe lambs made from €48-80. The cross-bred lambs sold for €63-102. Mountain ewes scanned in-lamb ranged from €60-82.
Store lambs in Mountbellew were a slightly easier trade but the fit lambs were a solid trade.
Prices peaked at €134 for a pen of quality ewe lambs weighing 46kg. Fleshed wether lambs made from €60-74 with the €/kg. Cull ewes made from €80-150.
There was a large number of ewes with lambs at foot and in-lamb ewes offered for sale. Prices hit a high of €325 for a first crop ewe accompanied by a pair of strong lambs. Other prices varied from €125-255.
Lambs sold to €138 or up to €73 over the weight in Ennis while in Ballina, prices for lambs ran from €2.25-2.75/kg with a top price of €129 paid for 57kg.