Sheep marts: Lamb trade steady as numbers increase

The lamb trade remained steady this week, with some marts even reporting an increase in trade, as the number of lots going under the hammer also increased.

Most marts reported an increase in numbers following a drop last week due to the bank holiday weekend, with lamb prices this week ranging between €1.95-2.20/kg.

The number of breeding ewes and rams for sale in marts across the country continued to fall this week, with the breeding season now well under way on most sheep farms.

Trade for lambs improved by close to €3-4/head this week compared to last in Athenry mart, Co. Galway, according to Mart Manager Alan Barry.

However, Athenry Mart proved an exception to the trend of increased numbers, as the number of sheep for sale fell in the region of 200 head this week, Barry said.

Lambs ranged in price from €1.96-2.41/kg during the sale on Monday, November 7, with plenty of interest in store lambs from farmer buyers, he also said.

The trade for cast ewes fell a little this week in the Co. Galway mart, with only the best ewes making between the €90-100/head mark, the Athenry Mart Manager said.

Numbers in Kilkenny Mart improve after the bank holiday

Last week the sale in Kilkenny Mart was disrupted by the bank holiday, meaning the sheep sale took place on Tuesday.

This disruption caused a poor turnout of lambs and cast ewes, with numbers down by close to 100 head.

Normal service resumed on Monday, November 7, with an increase of over 100 sheep for sale, according to a spokesperson for Kilkenny Mart.

Some 360 lambs went through the auction ring, as well as 75 cast ewes, with lamb prices varying from €1.93-2.15/kg as more or less all lots were sold.

Sample lamb prices at Kilkenny Mart
  • 40kg – €86 – €2.15/kg.
  • 42kg – €81 – €1.93/kg.
  • 46kg – €99 – €2.15/kg.
  • 47kg – €94 – €2/kg.
  • 50kg – €107 – €2.14/kg.
  • 52kg – €108 – €2.07. 

Meanwhile, prices for cast ewes remained similar to last week with prices ranging from €60-99/head.

Dingle Mart enjoying strong numbers

Dingle Mart, Co. Kerry, is enjoying strong entry numbers for its sheep sales this year, with plenty of interest from farmer, factory and butcher buyers, according to Mart Manager, Neilius McAuliffe.

The lamb trade remained steady at the sale in Dingle on Saturday, November 5, with lambs making somewhere in the region of €1.95-2.20/kg, McAuliffe said.

Suffolk lambs weighing 35kg made €76 (€2.17/kg) while butcher lambs weighing 44kg made €97 (€2.20/kg), he said.

There was also a number of light Scotch lambs down from the mountains going through the ring. Weights varied from 30-35kg with lots selling for €47-68, McAuliffe said.

There was very few lots of cast ewes present at the sale in Dingle with prices, similar to those seen in Kilkenny mart, ranging from €61-98/head.

Majority of lots sold at Castleblayney Mart

The lamb trade remained steady in Castleblayney Mart, Co. Monaghan, with the majority of lots sold, according to a mart spokesperson.

Sample lamb prices at Castleblayney Mart
  • 24kg – €48.50 – €2.02/kg.
  • 39kg – €76.50 – €1.96/kg.
  • 43kg – €84.50 – €1.96/kg.
  • 42kg – €80 – €1.90/kg.
  • 50kg – €98 – €1.96/kg.

There was a small number of cast ewes on offer in the Co. Monaghan mart with a top price of €103/head, figures show.

There was also a number of breeding stock available, with a purebred hogget ram making €200 and a lot of three-year-old breeding ewes making €100/head.