A small number of spring lambs appeared at sales held yesterday (Monday, March 22), with top prices hitting €170-180/head.

Although, in general, spring lambs on offer at marts sold from €150/head up to €170/head for 40kg plus lambs, with lambs under 40kg selling back to €126-131/head.

Spring lamb numbers still remain very small, but there is a strong demand there for those presented for sale with Easter just around the corner, factories have moved to increase base quotes for spring lambs once again this week with base prices topping €7.70/kg.

The hogget trade at marts yesterday was very strong, with top prices at sales reaching similar highs to last week, and even stronger in some cases.

Prices reached as high as €177-184/head at some sales for top-quality 50-60kg hoggets. In general, top-quality 50kg+ hoggets moved at prices upwards of €170/head. Lesser-quality 50kg plus hoggets or those lacking flesh sold between €158-169/head.

Hoggets weighing anywhere from 45-49kg generally sold from €145/head up to €170/head, with top-quality 48-49kg lots reaching €174-175/head.

The cull ewe trade continues to strengthen, with some sales reporting prices reaching as high as €185/head at Athenry and Kilkenny Marts.

However, in the main, prices for well-fleshed ewes traded from €130/head up to €155/head. Factory appetite for ewes has increased over the last number of weeks, with prices steadily rising of late.