Sheep marts: Spring lamb numbers on the increase

The number of spring lambs being marketed through marts has stepped up considerably over recent days. Despite this, prices are holding steady and returns of over €3/kg have been recorded.

As expected, hogget numbers are beginning to decline rapidly, but prices – for well-fleshed animals – are still holding firm at €2.40-2.70/kg.

Like previous weeks, ewes with lambs at foot continue to meet a strong trade and the top price recorded in the marts below stood at €250 for ewes with twin lambs.

Mountbellew Mart

Cast ewes and quality finished lambs met with an improved trade at Mountbellew Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Saturday last.

Spring lamb prices of €3.05-3.18/kg were achieved on the day, while hoggets sold from €90 to €150. The latter was achieved by a pen of quality ewe hoggets.

Sample ewe lamb prices:

  • 42.3kg: €130 or €3.07/kg;
  • 39kg: €120 or €3.08/kg;
  • 40kg: €127 or €3.18/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.

The smaller entry of cast ewes helped to boost prices in the Galway-based venue and prices of €88-145 were achieved on the day.

Like previous weeks, ewes with lambs at foot continued to meet a brisk trade and a top price of €233 was paid for first-crop ewes with twin lambs at foot.

Sample ewe and lamb prices:

  • Five third-crop ewes with 10 lambs: €213;
  • Two first-crop ewes with four lambs: €233;
  • One third-crop ewe with a single lamb: €173;
  • Five first and second-crop ewes with six lambs: €176;
  • Six hogget ewes with strong single lambs: €190.

Roscommon Mart

A steady trade was reported for hoggets at last Wednesday’s sheep sale in Roscommon Mart and a top price of €137 was achieved on the day.

Sample hogget prices:

  • 50.7kg: €137 or €2.70/kg;
  • 53.5kg: €130 or €2.43/kg;
  • 49.4kg: €122.50 or €2.48/kg;
  • 44.7kg: €116 or €2.60/kg.

A large entry of spring lambs was also witnessed and prices of €2.86-3.21/kg were paid for finished lambs, while store lots traded for €2.62-3.19/kg.

Moving on to ewe returns, the trade for cast lots was similar to previous weeks and prices ranged from €36 to €145. A brisk trade was also reported for ewes with lambs at foot; ewes with twins sold up to €250 and those accompanied by singles made up to €186.

Baltinglass Mart

A very good trade was seen for ewes with lambs at foot at last Saturday’s sale in Baltinglass Mart, Co. Wicklow, and a top price of €210 was paid for young ewes with 1.5 lambs at foot. Cast ewes also remained steady and prices of €70-119 were realised.

Sample ewe and lamb prices:

  • Four full-mouthed ewes and six lambs: €176/unit;
  • Three hogget ewes and five lambs: €225/unit;
  • One two-year-old ewe and two lambs: €178;
  • Three two-year-old ewes and five lambs: €198.

A complete clearance rate was recorded on account of the lively trade and heavy hoggets sold up to a top call of €140.

Sample hogget prices:

  • 35kg: €85 or €2.43/kg;
  • 39kg: €107 or €2.73/kg;
  • 41kg: €125 or €2.50/kg;
  • 35kg: €105 or €2.56/kg;
  • 43kg: €130 or €3.05/kg.

Carnew Mart

1,380 sheep passed through the ring of Carnew Mart on Thursday last and an excellent selling trade with strong demand for all classes was witnessed.

On the day, factory lambs (>45kg) traded for €147-157, store lambs (40-44kg) sold for €136-146 and the lighter store types (35-39kg) made €110-132.

Heavy hoggets continued to meet a strong trade in the Wicklow-based venue and a top call of €164 was realised.

Sample hogget prices:

  • 50kg: €145-164;
  • 45-49kg: €125-153;
  • 40-44kg: €105-125;
  • <40kg: €75-102.

Looking at ewe returns, heavy cast ewes sold for €122-144 and prices of €65-110 were generated for the light cull ewes on offer.

A selection of ewes with lambs at foot were also on offer; ewes with twins sold at €180-237 and those accompanied by single lambs made €130-180.

Tullow Mart

Another large sale was witnessed in Tullow Mart on Tuesday last and over 1,200 sheep passed through the ring. The trade was reported to have remained steady for all classes.

Lambs (>40kg) met with a very lively trade and sold at €100-105 over. Lambs falling into the 40-42kg category traded at €136-140; one pen of 47kg lambs made €152.

Hogget numbers are beginning to dry up in the Carlow-based venue; but lots weighing >50kg sold at €145-152, while the majority of lighter hoggets traded at €115-130.

Feeding-type cast ewes also continued to remain in demand and prices of €15-30 over were achieved on the day. Meanwhile, ewes with lambs at foot sold from €150 – for aged ewes with single lambs – up to €257 for younger ewes with twins.