The word is that supplies are of extremely mixed quality. A 20-30c/kg drop to the quotes for the cull ewes leaves them on €3/kg.
In Britain, the trade has slowed down following the recent rise in demand over the Easter period. The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €6.00/kg deadweight towards the end of the week.
In France a sluggish trade was reported due to an ease in demand.
Promotions were mainly centred on forequarter lamb. The price for Grade 1 Irish lamb was making €6.25kg (deadweight including VAT) towards the end of the week.
The downward pressure on prices at the factories was having the expected knock on affect at some the sheep marts over the past week but others reported lively demand and a good trade.
Yesterday's sales were back by at least €5/hd.
In Athenry, the spring lambs were making from €70-86 over the €1/kg. One top quality pen weighing 45kg sold for €134 or €89 with the weight.
Hogget prices were quite mixed and reflective of the quality on offer.
The top over the weight was €76 when a 56kg animal sold for €132, while 67kg made €135. In the main prices ranged from €50-70 with the weight.
Even though a top price of €76 with the €1/kg was paid for hoggets in Fermoy when 54kg sold for €130, the general run made €50-64 over.
New season lambs were making €60-88 with their weight. The top price was €134 for 46kg.
Trade was also somewhat easier in Kilkenny. Butchers lambs were making €116-138/hd or €66-84 over the €1/kg. Factory lambs ranged from €60 to €82 over in a price range of €100-129.
The hoggets were selling for €68-73 with the weight. Prices for cull ewes were varying from €75 to €145/hd.
Dowra Mart had a very brisk sheep trade last Saturday. A big entry of ewes with lambs at foot saw the better lots selling for €200-260.
Young ewes with single lambs at foot were making €130-200/unit. Older ewes with singles made €70-120, while those with doubles traded at €100-150 each.
The best of the hoggets made €100-132. Heavy cull ewes made €90-139. Ewes for further feeding sold for €50-80 each.
Over in Maam Cross, the blackface mountain ewes scanned in lamb were making €60-92. The ewe lambs sold for €48-90 and the wethers for €36-85. Cross-bred lambs made €63-102.
In Ennis, spring lambs hit a high of €150 or €98 over their weight. Hoggets sold to €136. Ewes with lambs at foot made up to €275/hd, while the best of the cull ewes topped out at €140. The top price for spring lambs in Ballymote was €134 for a lot weighing €42kg.
Cull ewes made €100-140/hd, with demand being described as very keen.