Factory buyers have been keen to get a grip on both spring lamb and hogget prices over recent days. And, it now appears that this thinking has filtered down to the ringside – particularly for spring lambs.

Although still strong, spring lamb prices have eased slightly over recent days and, where lambs were trading for €3.30-3.70/kg in recent weeks, returns are now closer to €3.20-3.30/kg.

Despite the pressure on spring lamb returns, hogget prices remain very strong and prices as high as €2.70/kg have been recorded at the ringside over recent days.

Raphoe Mart

Raphoe Mart’s weekly sheep sale took place on Monday last and a top call of €160/head was witnessed for a pen of spring lambs.

On the day, hoggets sold for €80-100 over and fat ewes remained in demand. Dry ewes traded at €70-150, ewes with single lambs made €140-190 and those with twins sold for €200-282. The better weather of late is said to have brought more customers to the ringside for these lots.

Sample hogget prices:
  • Store hoggets: €50-93 over;
  • Factory hoggets: €68-103 over;
  • Butcher hoggets: €68-110 over.

Kilkenny Mart

Some 350 sheep were on offer at Kilkenny Mart, Cillin Hill, on Monday and a very lively trade was reported for hoggets, cast ewes and spring lambs.

On the day, spring lambs peaked at €156/head and prices of €3.20-3.70/kg were obtained. The hogget trade is also holding steady in the Kilkenny-based venue and a top call of €154/head was recorded.

Butcher hoggets traded at €2.60-2.80/kg or €140-154/head and factory lots sold for €2.50-2.85/kg or €120-136/head.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 44kg: €156 or €3.55/kg;
  • 42kg: €155 or €3.69/kg;
  • 40kg: €130 or €3.25/kg;
  • 39kg: €128 or €3.28/kg.

Maam Cross Mart

Sheep numbers and prices held at Maam Cross Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Saturday last, where hoggets hit a top call of €134.

Blackface and crossbred lambs sold for an average price of €72, while a top price of €140 was realised for hoggets on the day.

Ewes with lambs at foot sold for an average price of €82; a top price of €200 was paid for a Blackface ewe with two ewe lambs at foot. A number of dry hoggets were also on offer and these sold for an average price of €80. However, three Blackface hoggets topped the breeding trading at €134/head.

Baltinglass Livestock Mart

A selection of spring lambs were on offer at Baltinglass Livestock Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Saturday last and a top price of €145 was achieved.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 35kg: €82 or €2.34/kg;
  • 38kg: €96 or €2.53/kg;
  • 40kg: €110 or €2.75/kg;
  • 42kg: €111 or €2.64/kg;
  • 45kg: €114 or €2.53/kg.

A big selection of ewes with lambs at foot were also on offer and a complete clearance was recorded for this type of stock. On the day, these lots sold to a top call of €210. Meanwhile, cast ewes traded at €75-141/head.

Sample ewe and lamb prices:
  • Two aged ewes with three lambs at foot: €158/unit;
  • Four broken-mouthed ewes with eight lambs at foot: €210/unit;
  • Three full-mouthed ewes with six lambs at foot: €200/unit;
  • One broken-mouthed ewe with two lambs: €198/unit.

Roscommon Mart

A similar number of sheep were presented for sale in Roscommon Mart’s weekly sale on Wednesday last (April 18). Some improvement was witnessed in the hogget trade and a top price of €150/head was recorded.

Sample hogget prices:
  • 55.7kg: €150 or €2.69/kg;
  • 55.7kg: €145 or €2.60/kg;
  • 54.1kg: €145 or €2.68/kg;
  • 52.9kg: €144 or €2.72/kg;
  • 46.9kg: €120 or €2.56/kg.

A bigger entry of spring lambs was also witnessed and these lots sold to a top price of €152/head.

Sample spring lamb prices:
  • 47.7kg: €152 or €3.19/kg;
  • 47.5kg: €150 or €3.16/kg;
  • 43.3kg: €145 or €3.35/kg;
  • 44kg: €140 or €3.18/kg;
  • 41.3kg: €132 or €3.20/kg;
  • 39.3kg: €130 or €3.31/kg.

Moving on to ewes, a smaller entry of ewes with lambs at foot were on offer. However, there was a brisk trade for these lots and a very high percentage sold.

Ewes with twin lambs sold up to €210 and those with singles made up to €196. A number of cast ewes also passed through the ring and these lots traded for €80-154/head.