Northern sheep trade: Lamb prices look set to come under pressure

Lamb prices in Northern Ireland look to be coming under pressure, with quotes for next week falling back by up to 30c/kg.

According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), quotes for R3 grade lambs ranged from 600p/kg, up to 640p/kg, for the week gone by.

With quotes for early next week expected to range from 600p/kg to 610p/kg up to a carcass weight of 21kg.

Lamb throughput last week in meat processing plants in the North was steady – with a total of 7,025 lambs processed.

Looking at exports of sheep to meat processing plants to the south for direct slaughter, the LMC reports that the number that made the trip south increased last week.

In total, 4,647 sheep were exported to the south for direct slaughter last week – which was an increase of 28% on the previous week.

Looking at the average deadweight lamb price from the previous week, the LMC reported that it was up 3.4p/kg from the previous week to 642.1p/kg.

While in comparison to the same period as last year, the average deadweight lamb price was 506p/kg.

Mart trade – lamb prices back

The LMC reported that trade across marts this past week was generally back, while the number of lambs coming through the ring at marts increased.

At Kilrea on Monday (May 24), 250 lambs sold from 604-650p/kg, compared to 190 lambs last week selling from 616-653p/kg.

While at Rathfriland this week, 630 lambs sold from 575-630p/kg (avg 605p/kg), compared to 440 lambs selling last week from 600- 683p/kg (634p/kg).

Top prices for cull ewes this week ranged from £138-192 across the marts.