I probably haven’t spoke enough about it in recent weeks, but the trade for cull ewes at present is strong.

It has been quietly going under the radar, perhaps because of the focus on the increased prices for spring lambs, or maybe because it has been strong for a while now.

Whether it be through the mart or straight to the factory, you won’t fair off too bad with your ewes at present – from what I’ve seen at least.

The live trade for ewes continues to be the brightest trade at many sheep sales, with prices regularly breaking €200 for heavy ewes and as recently as last week, €270.

Although, to give a more realistic picture of the trade, many of those ewes at marts this past week have been making up to €200-235/head in general.

It’s not just these heavy ewes in excess of 100kg that are performing strongly; ewes in all weight brackets are trading well and any ewe with a good cover of flesh is coming into good money.

Factory prices

The factory trade for ewes is also performing very well, with prices at factories for ewes up 70c/kg from this time last year.

One farmer that I spoke to recently got €4.20/kg from the factory for his ewes, while this time last year, cull ewe prices at the factory were roughly topping €3.50/kg.

In a year where input costs are extortionate and sheep prices are good, it’s no surprise that farmers are taking advantage of the current trade for ewes.

I was at two marts this past week and each sale had a much bigger number of ewes on offer compared to this time last year, which gives further indication of where the trade is at and also where farmers’ minds are, in light of current input costs.

Whether you are taking advantage due to the strength of the trade or have taken the option of cutting back numbers, either way, it would be surprising if you were left disappointed with the price for your ewes at present.

If you’re debating whether to move on ewes or not, remember that last year, a dip in prices occurred around this time for ewes. Hopefully, we don’t see that same dip this year, but it may be wise to keep the ball in your court and take advantage while you can.