Steady as she goes. No marks for guessing that I am not talking about our Government. Thankfully, unlike our political system, the sheep industry has enjoyed a period of stability over the past 15 months.
Then again, the Greens probably haven't been in power long enough to implement changes that would kill the optimism prevailing across the farming sector.
As you will see from the table, quotes have remained similar to last week, with only one minor alteration.
Moyvalley has increased its quote by 5c/kg to leave it offering an all-in figure of 485c/kg -- and also leading the way.
By virtue of its extra 5c/kg bonus for quality-assured lambs, Kildare Chilling is next at 470c/kg plus 6c/kg and the 5c/kg.
The rest are also quoting a base of 470c/kg plus the bonus for the U grades. Even though there are no great numbers coming out, factory sources say that they are adequate to satisfy demand, with the French market pretty sluggish and increased supplies of local Lacaune lamb filling a large chunk of their requirements.
Some of the factory sources are also pointing out that, with the onset of lambing on farms, farmers appear to be on a 'clean-out' of the remaining lambs, with some mixed lots of suitable and unsuitable stock.
Dawn Ballyhaunis, Kildare and the two ICM plants are quoting 280c/kg for the cull ewes. Kepak Hacketstown is offering 275c/kg, while Athleague is on 270c/kg.
Meanwhile, Bord Bia reported that the trade had begun to settle down after the strong performance of recent weeks. However, ongoing tight supplies continue to maintain trade.
Quotes for hoggets during the week continued to hit 480c/kg. Similarly, trade for cull ewes remained firm, reflecting strong manufacturing demand with stock still making up to 280c/kg.
In Britain, the hogget trade remained relatively steady, reflecting a pattern of steady supplies, albeit at lower levels. By the end of the week, live market prices continued to make the equivalent of 470c/kg deadweight (including VAT).
In France, increased domestic supplies of Lacaune lamb are helping to match local demand levels. The limited volumes of Grade 1 Irish lamb entering the market were generally making up to 515c/kg inclusive of VAT.