Sheep trade: Wide variation with hogget quotes

During the week ending March 24, the number of hoggets slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved sheep meat plants stood at 32,966 head – a decrease of 103 head on the previous week.

Many procurement managers are starting negotiations with farmers at 500-520c/kg (excluding quality assurance (QA) and producer group bonuses).

When QA is factored into the quotation, this leaves quotes at 510-530c/kg, while factory agents are currently offering 260-280c/kg (excluding the Quality Assurance Scheme bonus) for well-fleshed ewes.

However, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Sheep Committee chairman, Sean Dennehy, factories are anxious to source lambs.

“Factories are paying from €5.40/kg to €5.50/kg for quality lambs, with feeders holding out for €5.60/kg. Ewes are making from €2.85/kg to €3.00/kg.”

  • Kildare Chilling: 520c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • Kepak Athleague: 500c/kg + 15c/kg QA;
  • ICM Camolin: 500c/kg + 10c/kg QA;
  • ICM Navan: 500c/kg + 10c/kg QA.


As mentioned above, hogget throughput at Department of Agriculture approved plants stood at 32,966 for the week ending March 24. That’s a decrease of 103 head on the week before.

The number of spring lambs slaughtered jumped to 60 head – an increase of 37 head on the previous week. Cast (ewe and ram) slaughterings increased by 62 head.

Data source: Department of Agriculture

Moreover, overall supplies decreased by 4 head. Cumulative figures for the year-to-date have reached 518,101 head. This is a decrease of 88,173 head compared to the same period in 2018.

Week-on-week sheep kill supplies (week ending March 24):
  • Hoggets: 32,966 head (-103 head or -0.3%);
  • Spring lambs: 60 head (+37 or +160);
  • Ewes and rams: 5,072 head (+62 head or +1.2%);
  • Total: 38,098 head (+4 head or +0%).

Mart trade

Raphoe Mart

Monday, March 25 saw a good entry of sheep at Raphoe Mart, Co. Donegal, according to the mart manager Anne Harkin.

The number of ewes with lambs at foot was reported to have increased, while the overall trade was said to be excellent.

Hoggets sold for:
  • 30-34kg: €80-90/head;
  • 35-40kg: €90-100/head;
  • 40-44kg: €100-110/head;
  • 44-50kg: €110-120/head;
  • 50-60kg: €120-130/head.

In addition, ewes sold for €60-130/head, while ewes with one lamb at foot made €140-190/head and those with two lambs at foot sold for €200-272/head.

Kilkenny Mart

The number of sheep presented at Kilkenny Mart on Monday last remained small, according to the mart’s auctioneer George Candler, with 300 head going under the hammer.

He said: “The trade was somewhat less – especially for heavy lambs/hoggets. Many factories are complaining about the fact that there are too many heavy sheep appearing.

“Cull ewe prices are steady,” he added.

Butcher lambs sold for €1.75-2.31/kg or €120-127/head, while factory lambs made €2.30-2.45/kg or €102-118/head.

Moreover, cast ewes went under the hammer for €60-135/head.

Sample prices:
  • 70kg: €124 or €1.77/kg;
  • 60kg: €127 or €2.12/kg;
  • 52kg: €120 or €2.31/kg;
  • 46kg: €111 or €2.41/kg;
  • 44kg: €103 or €2.34/kg;
  • 43kg: €120 or €2.79/kg;
  • 35kg: €110 or €2.44/kg.