Sheep marts: First sales of the new year start with a bang

Despite some marts deferring sales last week due to rising Covid-19 cases, the marts which did go ahead saw a great trade across the board at sheep sales.

Top prices of €140-146/head were seen for fat lambs at many sales last week and this week it looks like the trade is on the rise once again, with Brian Hogan of Athenry Mart reporting a top price of €155/head for heavy lambs yesterday, Monday, January 11.

Looking back to last week, heavy lambs generally traded above €132/head early in the week and this increased throughout the week, with highs of €138-142/head seen at many sales.

Factory lambs traded to highs of €140/head but, in general, many of these sold from as far back as €122/head and made up to €135/head.

Forward store lambs were a flying trade last week, with highs of €120-122/head reported for 41-43kg lambs. Poorer-quality or slightly lighter lambs (39-40kg) made from €105/head to €112-115/head mainly.

Light stores are becoming very scarce but the ones on offer sold strongly. It was noted by some mart managers that light stores made upwards of €100/head.

The cull ewe trade has really kicked on since the turn of the year. Highs of €140-145/head have been seen at some marts. However, in the main, prices of €115/head up to €130/head have generally been reported for heavy culls over the past week.

Mountbellew Mart

Mountbellew Mart held its first sheep sale of the new year on Saturday, January 9. A good number of sheep were presented for sale on the day, with great prices achieved overall.

Butcher and factory lambs presented for sale at the Galway-based mart on Saturday were met with a flying trade, with top prices reaching €149/head.

The sale was dominated by factory-fit lambs, with a small proportion of the sale made up of store lambs.

One standout price for a pen of store lambs was €106/head (or €3.21/kg) for a pen of wether lambs weighing 22kg.

There was also a good turn out of cull ewes which also saw a strong trade, with prices reaching €145/head for a pen of good heavy ewes.

Sample lamb prices:

  • Wether lambs weighing 33kg sold for €106/head or €3.21/kg;
  • Wether lambs weighing 34.5kg sold for €106/head or €3.07/kg;
  • Wether lambs weighing 45.5kg sold for €133/head or €2.92/kg;
  • Ewe lambs weighing 46.5kg sold for €136/head or €2.92/kg;
  • Ewe lambs weighing 49.2kg sold for €139/head or €2.82/kg;
  • Ewe lambs weighing 50.3kg sold for €142/head or €2.82/kg;
  • Ewe lambs weighing 62kg sold for €149/head or €2.40/kg.

Sample cull ewe prices:

  • Four store ewes sold for €87/head;
  • 10 store ewes sold for €96/head;
  • Two heavy ewes sold for €119/head;
  • One heavy ewe sold for €130;
  • Two heavy ewes sold for €140/head;
  • Six heavy ewes sold for €145/head.

Dowra Mart

A big sale of sheep was presented for sale at Dowra Mart on Friday, January 8, with 860 sold on the day.

Terry McGovern reported a big entry of butcher and factory lambs, with prices for these lots stronger by €5-10/head in comparison to pre-Christmas levels. A top price of €144.50/head was achieved for a pen of fat lambs weighing 55kg.

Store lambs were also reportedly dearer than before Christmas with a top price of €111.50/head achieved for a pen of 10 lambs weighing 41.5kg.

A big entry of cull ewes and rams was on offer at Dowra on Friday last, with the trade also improved for these types.

In-lamb ewe hoggets and ewes made from €180/head up to a top price of €211/head for a pen of seven in-lamb hoggets.

Sample butcher and factory lamb prices: 

  • Two lambs weighing 55kg sold for €143.50/head or €2.61/kg;
  • 15 lambs weighing 52.3kg sold for €142.50/head or €2.72/kg;
  • 18 lambs weighing 51.2kg sold for €141/head or €2.75/kg;
  • 19 lambs weighing 50kg sold for €141/head or €2.82/kg;
  • 20 lambs weighing 51kg sold for €140.50/head or €2.75/kg;
  • 12 lambs weighing 48.5kg sold for €139.50/head or €2.88/kg;
  • Eight lambs weighing 46kg sold for €134.50/head or €2.89/kg;
  • 30 lambs weighing 47.3kg sold for €129.50/head or €2.74/kg;
  • 30 lambs weighing 45.5kg sold for €124.50/head or €2.79/kg.

Sample store lamb prices:

  • 10 lambs weighing 41.5kg sold for €11.50/head or €2.69/kg;
  • 20 lambs weighing 40kg sold for €106/head or €2.65/kg;
  • 17 lambs weighing 37kg sold for €94/head or €2.54/kg;
  • Eight lambs weighing 34kg sold for €89.50/head or €2.63/kg;
  • 12 lambs weighing 33kg sold for €87/head or €2.64/kg;
  • 12 lambs weighing 30kg sold for €78/head or €2.40/kg;
  • 29 lambs weighing 26.5kg sold for €71/head or €2.68/kg.