On Tuesday, May 11, Agriland made the trip to Co. Sligo, to check in on the trade at Ballymote Mart’s weekly sheep sale.

The evening sale saw a large entry of sheep, particularly spring lambs, which the mart manager, David Faughnan, said are starting to come in force now.

‘Spring lambs top €175/head’

To get his views on the trade, Agriland spoke to David after the conclusion of the sale.

He said: “We had a strong entry of sheep, particularly spring lambs, where we are really starting to see numbers coming out in force.

“Looking at the trade for spring lambs first, we saw a good trade for all categories of lambs.

“Prices topped, for those heavy butcher-type lambs, at €175/head for 54kg.

“Lambs over 50kg generally made from €170-175/head. 45-49kg lambs traded from €150/head up to €171/head, with many of those types selling above €160/head.

“40-44kg lambs, in the main, made from €144/head up to €164/head,” David added.

“Lighter store types, on average, sold from €97/head, up to €142/head for 39kg.”

Spring lambs penned at Ballymote Mart on Tuesday evening

Cull ewes and hoggets

A strong entry of cull ewes was seen at Ballymote on Tuesday evening, with a good spread of both lighter and heavy types on offer.

Speaking about the ewe trade, David added: “I’d say the cull ewe trade was a bit easier on last week.

“Those heavy ewes, 90kg plus, sold up to a high of €150/head. The general run of prices for those heavier ewes ranged from 120/head up to €145-150/head.

“Lighter ewes then, you could say exchanged hands from €80/head up to €120/head.”

Cull ewes

Hoggets numbers at Ballymote Mart continue to get smaller, with David adding that despite the diminishing numbers, the trade is still holding strong.

He explained: “Hogget numbers coming through the ring are getting smaller, but the trade for the few coming through is still holding strong.

“Those fleshed hoggets on Tuesday, sold anywhere from €140/head up to €166/head, for 56kg.”

Hoggets through the ring at Ballymote Mart on Tuesday evening

‘Grass shortage seeing more ewes with lambs being marketed’

A big number of ewes with lambs at foot were present at Ballymote Mart on Tuesday evening.

The poor weather seen to date this year has seen grass struggle to grow, with growth rates at this time of the year not where you’d like them to be.

Adding to his, David said: “We’re seeing a lot of ewes and lambs come through the ring and a big reason for that is lack of growth.

“Grass is very tight on farms and with the good trade, farmers are looking to take the pressure off, while also turning a few pound for themselves.

“Prices for ewes with lambs at foot ranged from €135/unit for aged horned ewes, up to €235/head for lowland ewes with strong lambs at foot.

“Then ewes with two lambs at foot topped €305/unit for two ewes with four lambs at foot.”

Ewes and lambs at Ballymote Mart on Tuesday evening