There is contrasting fortunes for the hogget and lamb trade this week, with factories moving to try to ease hogget prices, while lamb prices have strengthened.

Kildare Chilling is not offering an official hogget base quote for Tuesday, while others have reduced their quotes by 10c/kg to 20c/kg.

This leaves base quotes ranging from €9/kg to €9.20/kg or starting prices of €9.20/kg to €9.30/kg for quality assured lambs.

Farmers with lower negotiating power and handling small numbers are facing challenges in securing prices above €9.40/kg, while groups and regular sellers are still commanding 10c/kg to 20c/kg higher prices.

Deals also remain on negotiating carcase weight limits to 24kg, while there is reduced scope in cases to secure allowances on transport costs.

The success of factory attempts to pull prices back will depend on numbers coming on stream.

If prices reduce significantly, then it is likely that some producers drafting ewe hoggets will opt to take their chances in autumn breeding sales.

A lively mart trade is also providing a solid alternative outlet, with reports from the weekend and Monday’s trade recording a largely steady trade.

Lamb price strengthening

The lamb price is in contrast to hoggets, with Kildare Chilling increasing its base quote by 10c/kg to a base of €9.60/kg plus 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) payment.

Reports indicate the two Irish Country Meats plants are quoting a base of €9.30/kg plus 20c/kg QA payment.

The movement at the higher end of the market is likely a move to try to attract higher numbers directly to the factory.

Reports from mart managers show continued higher numbers of producers opting to show lambs live, with a premium payable in particular for producers struggling to negotiate above the base quote on offer.

Top prices reported are in the region of €9.70/kg to €9.80/kg, with agents and those handling sizeable numbers securing higher.

Vibrant ewe trade

Factories also continue to gradually increase ewe quotes to compete with a vibrant live trade.

Quotes range in the main from €4.10/kg to €4.20/kg, with top prices rising to €4.40/kg to €4.50/kg.

Weight limits remain at 43kg to 46kg, with some scope in certain deals to negotiate a couple of kilos higher where a small percentage of a large batch exceed the typical paid weight limit.