Increasing numbers of finished new season lambs are, as always, beginning to hit end prices, but all is not lost with next month’s Eid ul-Adha Muslim celebrations fast approaching.

This year, Eid ul-Adha falls on July 9/10 and is celebrated by elaborate meals based mainly on adult sheepmeat which in turn is boosting trade compared to what it might be.

Fortunately, there have not been the large numbers of spring lambs on the market to affect prices too sorely, but already they are slipping from previous highs.

In contrast, cast sheep and hogg values remain strong as buyers stockpile for the festival, according to Archie Hamilton, head sheep auctioneer with Lawrie and Symington. However, he warned that new season prices are expected to drop significantly in July and August when there is a real glut on the market.

On Monday, prices for old season lambs at Lanark, although, down on the week, were 20p per kg up on the year, having sold to £200 per head or 322p per kg, to average 240p per kg.

Similarly, the ewe trade was £26 ahead of the same time last year, while new season lambs, although down on the week, averaged 313p – up 3p on the year.

Hence, Mr Hamilton advised producers to sell lambs as soon as they are ready.

It was a point echoed by John Walton, of C and D Auction Marts, Longtown, who said that new season lambs, which are just beginning to come forward in bigger numbers, were 5p per kg up on the year. Last week, they sold to 375p per kg and £170, to average 320.3p and a two-tier hogg trade peaked at 328p and £188 to average 269.7p per kg.

Ewes have consistently been selling well with the Longtown sale, averaging £137-£147, having sold to £300, with no fewer than 124 selling for more than £220.

John Smith, auctioneer at Wallets Marts, Castle Douglas, has also seen new season prices drop, but he added they remain 10p/kg up on the year. He encouraged producers to sell their lambs earlier and ensure they have plenty of cover on them.