Sheep marts: Farmers begin to hunt for store lambs

The number of store lambs being marketed through marts across the country is starting to increase on a weekly basis and these lots are meeting strong demand from farmers.

Strong grass growth – in some parts – and relatively good factory returns are helping to bolster the trade. On the back of this, farmers are willing to pay as high as €3/kg to secure the right type of store lambs. Short-stay lambs appear to be most in demand.

Meanwhile, the spring lamb and cast ewe market continues to remain relatively strong. Butcher and factory buyers were willing to pay €2.60-2.90/kg for well-fleshed lambs, while ewe returns topped out at €145.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 500 sheep passed through the ring of Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Monday last. A good, solid trade was reported and returns were similar to the previous week’s sale.

Looking at spring lamb returns first, butcher lots sold for €2.50-2.80/kg or €125-147, while factory lambs secured prices of €2.30-2.67/kg or €95-118.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 54kg: €147 or €2.72/kg;
  • 52kg: €138 or €2.65/kg;
  • 51kg: €143 or €2.80/kg;
  • 50kg: €135 or €2.70/kg;
  • 45kg: €118 or €2.62/kg;
  • 43kg: €115 or €2.67/kg;
  • 41kg: €95 or €2.32/kg.

A number of cast ewes were also on offer and these sold from €40 up to €138.

Mountbellew Mart

Sheep numbers were up at Mountbellew Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Saturday last; cast ewes and quality, fleshed lambs were reported to have met a good trade.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 42.5kg: €130 or €3.06/kg;
  • 39kg: €120 or €3.08/kg;
  • 41.5kg: €128 or €3.08/kg;
  • 37kg: €113 or €3.05/kg;
  • 45.5kg: €140 or €3.08/kg;
  • 43.3kg: €135 or €3.12/kg.

Ewe hoggets met a strong trade in the Galway-based venue and returns of €90-165 were generated. In addition, ewes with lambs at foot sold at €173-233, while cast lots secured prices of €88-145.

Carnew Mart

Some 1,350 sheep were on offer at last Thursday’s sheep sale in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow, and an excellent trade was reported for all classes.

Strong factory and butcher demand was evident on the day, while plenty of farmer customers also attended the sale in search for store lambs.

On the day, lambs weighing >50kg sold for €130-141 and 45-49kg lambs made €122-135. Moving on to store returns, those falling into the 40-44kg traded at €106-122, 35-39kg lambs made €87-105 and the lighter store lots (<35kg) made €72-86.

A number of ewes also passed through the ring of the Wicklow-based venue, where heavy cull ewes traded at €120-141 and their lighter counterparts made €65-115. In the breeding section of the sale, dry ewe hoggets sold at €130-148 and ewes with lambs at foot made €160-220.

Roscommon Mart

A bigger entry of sheep was witnessed at last Wednesday’s sheep sale in Roscommon Mart; spring lambs were said to have met a very lively trade and a top price of €139 was recorded on the day.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 56kg: €139 or €2.48/kg;
  • 46.5kg: €134 or €2.91/kg;
  • 47.8kg: €130 or €2.72/kg;
  • 50kg: €129.50 or €2.59/kg;
  • 46.3kg: €126 or €2.71/kg;
  • 38.8kg: €98 or €2.53/kg;
  • 39.6kg: €103 or €2.60/kg.

Meanwhile, the trade for cast ewes was similar to previous weeks; prices ranged from €75 up to €138. A similar entry of ewes with lambs at foot was also witnessed and ewes with single lambs made up to €215.