Although many eyes have been on spring lambs this week, with factory quotes increasing and more numbers, albeit small still, coming out this week at sales, it’s been cull ewes – particularly good-quality fleshed ones – that have caught the eye at sales.

Mart managers have been reporting highs of €170-192/head for 100kg plus cull ewes, with prices for all types of cull ewes pushing on from the week before.

At one particular sheep sale on Thursday, the auctioneer said: “I’m struggling to keep up with the bids” as a 113kg ewe came in at €189, with bids flying in quick succession.

Sales during the week at Raphoe, Kilkenny, Tullow, Enniscorthy and Loughrea Marts for example, reported top prices for heavy fleshed ewes from €170 to €192.

The strong prices for cull ewes lately seem to be attracting bigger numbers at sales, and with the way prices are currently, it looks as if it’s the best place for them.

Many mart managers have said over the past few weeks, that apart from the well-fleshed ewes, lighter store ewe prices have also increased significantly.

Looking at the trade for cull ewes more closely this past week, ewes in excess of 100kg have been selling to highs, as already mentioned, of €170-190 and back as far as €160.

Then 85-100kg ewes have been trading from €128 up to €160 generally, with 70-85kg ewes selling from €75/head up to €120-125/head on average; all depending on quality and flesh cover.

In some cases, as seen in Carnew Mart, a light ewe at 67kg sold for €115 and 68kg made €130. Similarly, in Loughrea Mart, six ewes at 68kg came into €128/head.