Elphin Mart’s sheep sale on Monday evening defied expectations, with the trade better withstanding factory price pressure.

Factory agents were keen to reduce prices paid on the back of lower factory quotes, but manager Ciaran Lynch reported that the presence of strong online purchasing activity and a lower entry largely minimised any price reduction.

The heaviest lambs on offer weighing upwards of 50kg exceeded the €200 mark, selling to a top of €203 to €204/head.

Lambs of a similar weight but lacking flesh sold back to €190/head. There was a similar differential for lambs weighing 44kg to 45kg, but with varying flesh cover.

Prices here ranged in the main from €178 to €185, but top prices hit €190 for the best-quality lots.

Demand for lighter lambs was also firm, with lambs weighing 38kg to 40kg trading from €140 to €155, with flesh cover having an even greater influence on prices paid for lighter lambs.

Ciaran commented that farmers pushed out higher numbers in the weeks leading up to Eid al-Adha to take advantage of higher prices.

There were about 400 sheep entered on Monday and he expects throughput to be lower in the short-term as a result.

The ewe trade was steady with well-fleshed heavy ewes weighing around the 90kg to 95kg mark selling from €170 to €200. Medium weight ewes sold from €150 to €180 while lighter ewes with an average cover of flesh and crossbred types sold from €100 to €130.

In pictures

These Charollais-cross lambs weighing 44.5kg sold for €180 each (€4.05/kg).

Weighing 45kg on average, these quality Charollais-cross lambs sold for €190 (€4.22/kg).

This batch of 14 good-quality Charollais-cross lambs weighing 44kg sold for €184 each (€4.18/kg).

These two Charollais-cross lambs with a blue X weighed 54kg and sold for €199 each (€3.69/kg).

This batch of 12 Charollais-cross lambs weighing 39.5kg sod for €148 (€3.98/kg).

The three fleshed lambs (blue heads) weighing 48kg sold for €191 each (€3.98/kg).

These lighter Charollais-cross lambs weighing 38.5kg sold for €151 €3.92/kg).

These fleshed Suffolk cull ewes sold for €180 each.