Sheep marts: Farmers have ‘no interest’ in buying in-lamb ewes

Farmers are slow to buy in-lamb ewes and ewes with lambs at foot this week due to the wet weather conditions.

High rainfall levels in late February and early March have made the management on many sheep farms more difficult, with farmers worried about turning ewes and young lambs out to grass.

According to Terry McGovern, Mart Manager in Dowra Mart, sheep farmers have “no interest” in buying in-lamb ewes at the minute, due to poor ground conditions and a they fear that both the ewe and lamb will have to kept indoors after lambing.

The Mart Manager also said that the number of ewes with lambs at foot on offer on Saturday were small, as only 20 of these lots passed through the ring.

Billy Loftus, the Mart Manager in Mayo-Sligo Mart, agreed that the wet weather over the past few weeks has impacted negatively on the trade for ewes with lambs at foot.

Loftus said that farmers were not keen to purchase lambed ewes on Tuesday and as a result, these lots were back €10-15/head on the previous week.

He said that ewes with twin lambs made between €175-210 each, but the numbers on offer have not yet reached peak which occurs around March 17.

Sheep and trade round up

Tullow Mart

The steady sheep trade continues in Tullow Mart with the number of sheep on offer remaining similar to last week’s levels, according to the Mart Manager Eric Driver.

Driver said that factory and butcher lambs sold well, with lambs weighing over 50kg trading from €123-154 each.

However, poor quality store lambs were a little back, with the prices paid for these lots €4-5 less than last week, he said.

The hammer fell on the lots over 46kg for €114-122, while the lots in the 40kg category traded from €95-104 each.

Driver said that cast ewes sold from a base of €50, while the heavier ewes traded to a tops of €132, but the majority of cast ewes weighing between 75-90kg made €85-110 each, he said.

Driver also said that ewes carrying 1.7 lambs traded from €140-182 each.

Dowra Mart

Fat lambs continued to meet a good trade in Dowra Mart on Saturday, according to the Mart Manager Terry McGovern.

McGovern said that the hammer fell on these lots from €110-131 each, while heavy store lambs traded from €90-107 each, but lighter lots sold from €70-87.

McGovern said that lambed ewes met with a difficult trade on Saturday, but the hammer fell on these lots from €150-190 each. He also said that in-lamb ewes sold from €140-150.

Cast ewes made from €60-75 each in Dowra on Saturday, he said.

Mayo-Sligo Mart

There was no change in the trade for lambs in Mayo-Sligo Mart on Tuesday, according to the Mart Manager Billy Loftus.

Loftus said that the heavy butcher type lamb sold from €2.27-2.32/kg, while lambs suitable for the factory trade made €2.31-2.42/kg.

Loftus said that sheep throughput has increase in the mart this year, as the number of sheep sold to date has increased by 8%, but this had little impact on the trade for cast ewes.

These lots made between €60-95 each.

But, Loftus said that the trade for lambed ewes has slipped in recent weeks, with the prices paid for these lots falling by €10-15 each, to €160-175 each.