Sheep marts: Steady as she goes for the sheep trade

As reported in AgriLand’s weekly sheep factory report, the trade has steadied somewhat over recent days at factory level.

This steadiness has also filtered down to the ringside and returns are largely unchanged from last week. Where price increases have been witnessed, they’re only marginal.

Like last week, ewes with lambs at foot continue to remain in demand and prices of up to €279 have been recorded for hogget ewes with twin lambs at foot.

The spring lamb trade also remains in good stead and returns are sitting around the €2.60-3.20/kg mark for well-fleshed, good-quality animals.

However, as the season progresses, hogget numbers are beginning to tighten; despite this, the returns generated continue to remain strong and factory buyers have been keen to secure these lots at the ringside.

Raphoe Mart

Spring lambs peaked at €157/head at Raphoe Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Monday last.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 33-37kg: €110-120/head;
  • 37-40kg: €120-130/head;
  • 39-42kg: €130-140/head;
  • 42-50kg: €140-157/head.

A selection of hoggets was also on offer; lots weighing 40-45kg sold at €110-130, hoggets weighing 45-50kg traded at €130-140 and the heavier lots (50-60kg) made €140-160.

Like previous weeks, cast ewes remained in demand and prices of €80-134 were achieved, while ewes with lambs at foot made €140-222 (singles) and €180-262 (twins).

Mountbellew Mart

A large number of sheep were on offer at Mountbellew Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Saturday last and an improved and brisk trade for cast ewes was reported. These lots sold from €86 up to a top price of €147.

The spring lamb trade also improved and prices of €2.60-3.19/kg were realised on the day.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 42.3kg: €135 or €3.19/kg;
  • 55.8kg: €145 or €2.60/kg;
  • 55.8kg: €145 or €2.60/kg;
  • 43.2kg: €138 or €3.19/kg;
  • 39.5kg: €122 or €3.09/kg;
  • 46.5kg: €147 or €3.16/kg;
  • 53kg: €148 or €2.79/kg;
  • 46kg: €144 or €3.13/kg.

However, hogget prices dipped slightly and returns of €100-167 were generated. The latter price was paid for three quality ewe hoggets.

A number of ewes with lambs at foot also passed through the ring and, like last week, demand for these lots remained strong.

Sample ewe and lamb prices:
  • Second-crop ewes with single lambs: €165/unit;
  • Eight fourth-crop ewes with 14 lambs: €183/unit;
  • One third-crop ewe with triplet lambs: €280/unit;
  • Five first and second-crop ewes with eight lambs: €218/unit;
  • Two hogget ewes with four strong lambs: €279/unit.

Carnew Mart

Some 1,285 sheep were on offer at Carnew Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Thursday last and a very strong trade for spring lambs, hoggets and cull ewes was reported. Prices were said to have climbed by €2-3/head on the previous week.

On the day, a top price of €157 was realised for heavy hoggets and spring lambs sold to a top call of €154.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 45kg: €143-154;
  • 40-44kg: €132-142;
  • 35-39kg: €112-131.

Looking at hogget returns, heavy lots (>50kg) sold for €138-157, hoggets weighing 45-49kg traded at €122-150 and the lighter lots (<40kg) sold for €82-106.

A selection of cull ewes was also on offer; heavy cull ewes made €115-144, while the lighter lots sold for €47-110. In addition, ewes with twin lambs sold for €180-236, while those accompanied by singles made €110-180.

Baltinglass Mart

A flying trade was reported for ewes with lambs at foot at Baltinglass Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Saturday last and a top price of €225 was recorded for young ewes with 1.5 lambs at foot.

There was a complete clearance of all stock on the day; heavy hoggets sold for €120-142, while the lighter classes made €85-115.

Sample hoggets prices:
  • 50kg: €142 or €2.84/kg;
  • 50kg: €138 or €2.76/kg;
  • 55kg: €120 or 2.18/kg;
  • 50kg: €125 or €2.50/kg;
  • 35kg: €115 or €3.29/kg.

On the day, cast ewes traded for €70-112 and ewes with lambs at foot traded from €165 up to a top call of €225.

Sample ewe and lamb prices:
  • Seven full-mouthed ewes with 10 lambs: €165;
  • Three hogget ewes with five lambs: €225;
  • Three two-year-old ewes with three lambs: €185;
  • Three two-year old ewes with five lambs: €198.