Despite factories trying to take the sting out of the hogget trade, demand remains strong as supplies remain tight, while spring lamb prices continue to rise.

Factory quotes have eased once again this week for hoggets, with Kildare Chilling once again easing its base quote for hoggets by 10c/kg to €7.00/kg.

Irish Country Meats (ICM) has also moved to lower its base price for hoggets to €6.70/kg.

Although, prices at the top end of the market for hoggets generally remain around the €7.20-7.40/kg mark with deals being done at prices above this in some cases for those handling large numbers.

Spring lambs

Looking at the quotes on offer for spring lambs, Kildare Chilling is unchanged with a base price of €7.70/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus.

Kepak Athleague is back on the table this week, although only with a quote for spring lambs which is €7.65 plus a superior 15c/kg QA bonus.

ICM has also moved to increase its base price for spring lambs this week and is now on €7.65/kg plus a 10c/kg QA bonus for spring lambs.

At the top end of the market, prices for spring lambs are hitting €7.80-8.00/kg and more in cases.

Cull ewes

There is no movement in the cull ewe trade with regards to quotes, with no change on last week (€2.90-3.20/kg).

Although, at the top end of the market, prices are moving upwards to €3.30-3.50/kg for ewes.

Speaking about the trade at present, the sheep chairperson of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), Sean McNamara, said: “Overall, it’s positive, spring lamb prices are moving at prices of €8.00/kg and more in cases.

Hogget prices have eased once again and are generally topping €7.30/kg, while deals of up to €3.30/kg and more in cases are being secured for ewes.

“Supplies remain very tight; the numbers are just not out there and factories are very keen to tie down numbers, albeit at a lower price, as what is being seen for the hoggets these past two weeks.”

Hogget quotes:

  • Kepak Athleague: No quote;
  • Kildare Chilling: 700c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 670c/kg + 10c/kg QA.

Spring lamb quotes:

  • Kildare Chilling: 770c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 765c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Atleague: 7.65 + 15c/kg QA.

Cast ewe quotes:

  • Kildare Chilling: 320c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM: 300c/kg;
  • Kepak Athleague: No quote.


Looking at the throughput for the week ending March 21, a total of 43,356 sheep were processed, which was a decrease of 2,102 head on the week before.

The number of lambs/hoggets slaughtered amounted to 39,270 head which was a decrease of 1,479 head on the previous week.

Ewe and ram throughput decreased by 613 head on the week before – and amounted to 4,084 head.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending March 21):

  • Lambs/hoggets: 39,270 head (-1,479 or -3.62%);
  • Ewes and rams: 4,084 head (-613 or -13%);
  • Total: 43,356 head (-2,102 or -4.62%).

Looking at the cumulative figure for the year to date, 506,651 sheep have been processed so far this year, which is a decrease of 44,609 head compared to the 2020 figure of 551,260 head.

Data source: DAFM

Year-on-year sheep kill changes (week ending March 21):

  • Lambs/hoggets: 446,931 head (-33,833 or -7%);
  • Ewes and rams: 59,646 head (-10,838 or -15%);
  • Total: 506,651 head (-44,609 or -8%).