Trade for breeding stock has improved at the marts in recent days, with demand for ewe lambs and breeding ewes helping prices.

Quality hoggets made top prices of €176/head and €185/head in some venues.

However, lamb prices were back in most locations and a tough trade for factory lambs was reported again this week.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 900 sheep were on offer at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Monday and the mart’s auctioneer George Candler reported a tougher trade for all classes of sheep.

Those at the ringside were much more selective and buyers of store lambs have started to discount rams, he said.

Butcher lambs sold for €2.04-2.20/kg or €105-120/head in the Co. Kilkenny venue – down from €2.20-2.30/kg achieved last week.

A pen of 24 heavy lambs, weighing 51kg, made €2.20/kg or €112/head. In addition, a heavier lot of 15 lambs, weighing 57kg, sold for €2.04/kg or €116/head.

Factory lamb prices were down again this week at Cillin Hill. Lambs traded at €2.05-2.20/kg or €90-101/head.

Store lambs also met a quieter trade with prices of €2.10-2.22/kg or €75-91/head being achieved – down from highs of €2.60/kg last week.

Factory lamb prices:
  • 14 lambs: 47kg – €101/head or €2.15/kg;
  • 17 lambs: 45kg – €98/head or €2.18/kg;
  • 10 lambs: 44kg – €92/head or €2.09/kg;
  • 8 lambs: 43kg – €93/head or €2.16/kg.

Store lamb prices:
  • 22 lambs: 41kg – €91/head or €2.22/kg;
  • 10 lambs: 40kg – €87/head or €2.18/kg;
  • 16 lambs: 38kg – €82/head or €2.16/kg;
  • 12 lambs: 36kg – €78/head or €2.17/kg.

Prices for cull ewes ranged from €50/head up to €120/head. Breeding hoggets sold for €140-185/head on the day.

Mountbellew Mart

Last Saturday saw increased numbers of breeding ewes and ewe hoggets on offer at Mountbellew Mart. Similar numbers of lambs and cast ewes to the previous week were on offer.

Lambs met a slightly easier trade at the Co. Galway venue. However, breeding ewes were in demand and a strong trade – especially for quality lots.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 12 lambs: 31.5kg – €79/head or €2.51/kg;
  • 15 lambs: 38kg – €88/head or €2.32/kg;
  • 4 lambs: 41.5kg – €90/head or €2.17/kg;
  • 10 lambs: 44kg – €92/head or €2.09/kg;
  • 8 lambs: 45kg – €99/head or €2.20/kg;
  • 5 lambs: 46.5kg – €100/head or €2.15/kg;
  • 4 lambs: 60kg – €110/head or €1.83/kg.

Ewe hoggets made €138-176/head, while first-crop and second-crop ewes traded at €125-166/head and €120-158/head respectively.

Trade remained very strong for cast ewe and prices were similar to last week.

Carnew Mart

Last Thursday was the largest entry of the season so far in in Carnew Mart, Co. Wicklow. A total of 3,462 sheep were on offer on the day.

There was a strong trade reported for butcher lambs and stores. However, factory lambs met a quieter trade with prices back €2-4/head.

Heavy lambs over 50kg traded at €108-116/head and store lambs between 25kg and 34kg made €55-82/head.

Lambs weighing 40-44kg sold for €85-101/head, while lighter lambs (35-39kg) made €76-88/head on the day.

Sample lamb prices:
  • 41 lambs: 29kg – €70/head or €2.41/kg;
  • 25 lambs: 32kg – €78/head or €2.44/kg;
  • 40 lambs: 38kg – €81/head or €2.13/kg;
  • 30 lambs: 43kg – €98/head or €2.28/kg;
  • 25 lambs: 44kg – €101/head or €2.30/kg;
  • 10 lambs: 54kg – €116/head or €2.15/kg.

Trade improved for ewe lambs and breeding ewes at the Co. Wicklow venue last Thursday. Ewe lambs sold for €82-118/head and a pen of 15 ewe lambs (49kg) reached €121/head.

Cast ewes met a similar trade to last week, with little change in prices.

Sample ewe prices:
  • Heavy ewes: €105-131;
  • Lighter ewes: €62-100;
  • Hogget ewes: €130-175;
  • Older breeding ewes: €110-145.