The mart trade has been highly variable in recent days, with agents adjusting to sharp cuts to factory lamb quotes.

The extent to which prices have fallen have been influenced by numbers on offer and competition from butcher, wholesale and live export demand.

Prices for heavier lambs weighing upwards of 50kg at the top end of the market have typically been curtailed in recent days to €190 to €195/head. Certain sales have seen prices top €200/head for such lambs and likewise fall back under the €190/head mark.

Numbers have been much tighter in sales in recent days, with a big push by producers last week to draft lambs ahead of the Islamic religious festival of Eid al-Adha.

Lambs weighing 47kg to 49kg are trading from €180 to €193 on average, depending on lamb type and condition.

Likewise, prices paid for lambs weighing 45kg to 46kg vary greatly from the mid-€170s for average-quality lots to the high €180s.

The further you drop down in weights, the greater the differential in price tends to be.

Lambs weighing 40kg to 42kg are selling anywhere from €140 to €158, with the best-quality lots with a high kill-out potential selling earlier in the week for a few euro extra.

Lighter lots

Lighter lots weighing 37kg to 38kg are trading anywhere from €130 to €150, with some store lambs and lambs lacking significant flesh cover starting to appear on the market.

Mart managers report early interest in store lambs, but comment that buyer appetite is being curtailed at present by the sharp fall in factory quotes. Some are expecting firm demand once finished lamb prices start to stabilise somewhat.

The trade for cull ewes is steady to marginally weaker. Fleshed heavy ewes are trading from €1.85/kg to €2.10/kg on average, with the price per kilo lower in general for very heavy ewes.

Ewes with an average cover of flesh and heavier horned ewes are trading from €1.40/kg to €1.65/kg, with light carcase ewes and lowland ewes lacking significant flesh cover selling back to less than €1/kg.