Increased demand for lamb pushed references prices above their 2005 levels for most of last year, according to latest Meat and Livestock Commission figures.

While the summer drought caused low weights and prices to fall in November, prices between March and November were as much as 15% higher than the previous year.

During June prices reached a peak of €4.71/kg, almost 5% higher than 2005’s highest level of €4.50/kg, the MLC’s European market survey said.

Reference prices were a similar success across the EU in 2006, with prices almost 12% higher in June than the previous year.

Prices fell during November to €3.84/kg but gained some ground as demand increased in the run up to Christmas.