‘Factory lambs were back €5-7/head on last week’ – Ballymote’s Stephen Hannon

Ballymote Mart held its weekly sheep sale on Tuesday last, July 28. Along with lambs and cast ewes, the first breeding sale of the year took place on the same evening.

In total, there were 850 sheep on offer, with the lamb trade back quite a bit from the week before. Breeding ewe hoggets and two and three-year-old ewes were also a tough sell on the night.

Speaking to AgriLand about the trade on the evening, the mart manager, Stephen Hannon, said: “We had a big entry of sheep on the evening.

“Factory lambs are back a bit on where they were two weeks ago; I’d say they were back €5-7/head from last week.

In total, I’d say factory-type lambs were back as much as €10/head on Tuesday night in comparison to what they were two weeks ago.

“They are under a bit more pressure [price wise] but, in saying that, most of them got away [sold] on the night.

“The store lambs were a good enough trade. There is a good demand for stores at the moment. They were the best trade on Tuesday evening across the board.”

He added: “We had our first breeding sale of the year on Tuesday and to be honest the ewe hoggets were a tough enough sell.

We had just over 100 head on offer. The top price was €202/head, with the general running price, for the hoggets, being from €160/head up to €170/head.

“It’s still a bit early for breeders. Farmers don’t generally tend to start buying ewe hoggets or breeding ewes until August.

“It was our first online sale as well; we had a few teething problems and it took people a bit of time to get used to it.

“Hopefully, from now on, it will become easier for people to use and, also, gain a bit of momentum.”

Stephen noted: “We had been selling cattle online for the past while, so we decided to try it out with the sheep as well.

We sold all the butcher and factory-type sheep in the pens, so the only sheep that were available to online bidders on the night were some store lambs and the breeding sheep.

“Farmers have the option of selling their stores through the ring, online, or out in the pens, which is not accessible to online bidders.”