The strong factory prices being seen at present are really starting to get farmers thinking about marketing ewe hoggets that would usually be kept until later in the year at breeding sales.

For farmers who may have average quality ewe hoggets, it might be worth considering marketing them over the coming weeks.

Mart managers are reporting that they are seeing more farmers moving on ewe hoggets as prices continue to strengthen.

Sean McNamara, the sheep chair of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) said that farmers are looking to take advantage of the strong prices at present and that they are offloading ewe hoggets – especially those that won’t be sale toppers next back end.

A lot will depend on the circumstances around the farm as well. It has been a wet and cold start to 2021 and grass growth isn’t what it should be for the time of year. Farmers have only been able to get out with fertiliser over the last fortnight.

So, for those who have ewe hoggets out on grass and have maybe other priority stock (ewes and lambs) that they need grass for especially over the coming weeks, in order to free up some grass around the farm over the coming weeks, it may be of benefit to move on some ewe hoggets while prices are strong.

For those who aren’t under pressure to sell on their ewe hoggets until later in the year, it’s a nice position to be in, with the way prices are.

Some will be thinking that if a lot of ewe hoggets are moved on in the coming weeks, that they may be a bit more scarce and that prices next autumn will stronger because of it and this could well and truly be the case.

Even for those that aren’t tight for grass or under pressure to sell, it might be worth moving on lesser quality ewe hoggets while prices are strong.

It would be a good idea to sit down and draw up what you think it will cost to keep these hoggets until next back end and see if you would be better off going with some now or holding on to them.