Carnew Mart hosted its weekly sheep sale last Thursday, attracting much bigger numbers compared with other years.
In total, nearly 1,300 sheep went through the scales, with prices taking a slight hit, but working off a very strong base.
Speaking after the sale, Carnew Mart manager David Quinn said: “We had much bigger numbers than we’d usually have coming into the June bank holiday.
“While prices were back around €3 to €5 ahead on the previous week, it was still very buoyant with prices well up on the year.
“There seems to be a great degree of positively and optimism in the sheep trade at the moment.”
Over one fifth of stock on offer were young lambs weighing between 40kg and 43kg.
As mentioned, these were back a touch on last week, but generally sold for around €100 plus the weight.
This stands at nearly €30 per head ahead of last year in the same period.
Trade peaked at €158 for a batch of 12 lambs with an average weight of 42kg (€3.76).
Heavier lambs pushing up to 50kg were also holding close to that mark of €100 plus the weight, but there was also a few exceptions heading north of €160 a head.
Top price for these was €166, paid for a batch of 12 weighing just shy of 47kg on average.
Lighter lambs or mountain store lambs weighing as low as 32kg were met with a very strong trade.
In the majority of cases, these were seen crossing the €100 mark, which, according to David, has rarely happened in recent years.
Perhaps the strongest trade of all was the breeding and cast ewe trade.
Cull ewes sold up to €185 a head for average weights of 105kg, with prices running €50 ahead of last year.
Trade for breeding hoggets started around the €235 mark and headed up to €256 for select lots.
Comparing this with 2020 levels, these would be up €50 to €70 a head.
With such demand early on for breeding stock, hopes are high for successful breeding sales during the peak months of July and August.