Hoggets hit €6/kg as Easter buying commences

There has been a marked improvement in the hogget trade in recent days; many processors are now offering base quotes of 590-600c/kg to secure supplies.

When Quality Assurance and producer group bonuses are factored into the equation, all-in prices are sitting closer to 615-620c/kg. Furthermore, some buyers are paying up to a 24kg carcass in order to get numbers through the gates.

The fast-approaching Easter break, coupled with a reduction in supplies, is helping to bolster demand and the prices being offered to farmers.

Procurement managers are beginning to hunt for hoggets and have been ever present at the ringside over recent days. Buyers are also keen to secure spring lambs and are offering 700c/kg for new-season lambs and 800c/kg for ‘milk’ lambs.

Supply update

The price rise of recent days follows on from the collapse in supplies – primarily due to Storm Emma’s snow accumulations – during the week ending March 4.

Total slaughterings decreased by over 11,000 head or almost 22% on the week previous, while hogget and cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings fell by 20.6% and 28.9% respectively.

Week-on-week sheep kill changes:
  • Hoggets: 33,562 head (-8,730 head or -20.6%);
  • Ewes and rams: 5,679 head (-2,307 head or -28.9%);
  • Total: 39,244 head (-11,042 head or -22%).

The marts

Maam Cross Mart

Sheep numbers were up at Maam Cross Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Saturday last, with genuine Blackface and crossbred stock on display.

Blackface and crossbred lambs sold for €59-89, while Blackface hogget ewes traded at €68-123. A number of in-lamb ewes were also on offer and these lots averaged €60-92/head (Blackface), while dry Cheviot ewe hoggets sold to a top price of €84.

Raphoe Mart

Sheep were in high demand at Raphoe Mart’s weekly sale on Monday and a strong trade was evident for all stock on offer.

Hoggets weighing 36-40kg sold for €95-110, forward store lots (40-45kg) made €110-120 and butcher lambs (55-65kg) sold for €140-148.

A number of ewes with lambs at foot were also on offer. Ewes accompanied by single lambs traded at €150-190, while those with twins sold for €190-260.

Carnew Mart

Prices improved by €10-15/head at Carnew Mart’s weekly sale last Thursday and a total of 1,630 passed through the ring.

Butcher hoggets (over 50kg) sold for €133-150, factory hoggets made €118-133 and the forward store lots sold for €90-114.

Looking at ewe prices, cull ewes sold for €75-138, in-lamb ewes made €85-165 and ewes with twin lambs at foot traded for €185-245.