‘I think the sheep trade has peaked’ – Jimmy Cooney

On Thursday last (November 26), Loughrea Mart held its weekly sale of sheep, which saw lamb prices hit €130/head.

Although the trade was good, the mart’s manager, Jimmy Cooney, believed it wasn’t quite as strong as the week before and that, in his honest opinion, the sheep trade has peaked.

To get his thoughts on the trade last Thursday, AgriLand spoke to Jimmy after the conclusion of the sale.

He said: “The trade on Thursday wasn’t all as good as the previous week. The sale last week was very dear; it was an outstanding sale.

“I think that the trade has peaked if I’m being completely honest. We have seen it improve week-on-week the past few weeks and I think it has now reached its peak.

Lambs made up to €130/head on Thursday, which was the same as last week, but as a whole, the trade was probably not as ‘hot’ as the week before.

“Overall, on Thursday the trade was good, with the store lambs in particular very dear. I saw a pen of 36kg store lambs making €103/head. That’s an outrageous price for them store lambs.

“There was a fair amount of good lambs at the sale on Thursday. There was a good amount of butcher lambs on offer and they were met with a good trade.

“Prices of €125-128/head were achieved for them 50kg+ lambs, with two pens making €129/head and €130/head.

“The trade for them butcher lambs has really come alive these past few weeks. The tops that those lambs were making a while back was €115-116/head. They are now €10/head dearer in many cases.”

Sheep sale in full swing during the summer at Loughrea Mart

‘Online is here to stay at Loughrea’

Despite the fact that buyers will most likely be allowed back ringside next week, due to the expected easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the online selling platform at Loughrea Mart will continue to be in operation.

Jimmy added: “From what we have experienced over the last while, we have come to the conclusion that we will continue to stay online even when sellers are allowed back around the ring.

“We have found that sellers are happier to have it as there are more buyers when you have the online platform available and that is helping to keep prices up.

We will be selling out in the pens for the sheep at Loughrea like we have done normally, but we will also be staying online.

“During the first lockdown, we were selling sheep by tender and it broke our hearts. It was a complete disaster.

“There’s no comparison between the online and tender selling. Online is here to stay at Loughrea Mart,” he concluded.