Blessington Mart in Co Wicklow held its weekly sheep sale on Tuesday, with over 1,200 forward for sale, over 1,000 of which were lambs.

Trade, like the weather, was hot and heavy, with some big prices on offer for stock.

Speaking to auctioneer John Doyle, he said that there was huge demand for stock and although heavier lambs were maybe €2 to €3 easier than the previous week, prices were still strong, with lots of demand ringside for lambs.

This 80kg Suffolk-cross ewe made €108.

Typically, heavy lambs were trading around the €133 to €136 mark, €85 to €92 over, while factory lambs moved from €114 to €129 or from €74 to €86 over.

“The lamb trade continues to perform really well as we head for late July. Prices are running €28 to €30 ahead of the same time last year, which is great to see,” said John.

This pen of 89.6kg ewes sold for €158.

The store lamb trade is also on fire, with huge farmer demand for lambs.

John said: “Farmers got on very well with store lambs last year and they are dipping back into the market again this year. However, they are having to pay more for lambs this year.

“It is great for the store lamb producer, as they didn’t see the benefit of the higher prices in spring. Some of that is definitely filtering back to the farmer lambing the ewe this year.”

This pen of Jacob-cross ewes sold for €88.

While demand was strong, prices reflected both the quality and presentation of lambs on offer. Heavier stores over 40kg sold from €105 to €114 or €65 to €77 over, while those under 40kg traded between €85 and €104, or €50 to €77 over.

This pen of seven ewes weighed 78kg and made €120.

Overall, the trade for ewes was excellent. There was a clear price differential between ewes of the same weight, depending on the level of flesh they were carrying, with some big prices being paid for fleshed ewes.

Prices ranged from €145 up to €180 for well-fleshed heavy ewes. Lighter ewes or those needing to go on for further feeding also met strong demand with farmer buyers, as prices typically ranged from €90 to €138.

This pen of 11 well-fleshed ewes weighed 95.9kg and sold for €176.

John concluded that it is a long time since he has seen such confidence in the market.

“Usually, if sheep are a good trade, then cattle will not be as hot and vice versa.

This pen of 20 ewes weighed 71kg and sold for €108.

“This year however, both sheep and cattle are a flying trade in the mart with no signs of it cooling – long may it continue.”

Other lots

This pen of five ewes weighed 74.6kg and sold for €106.

This pen of 10 ewes weighed 70kg and sold for €92.

These 37.5kg lambs made €106.

This pen of lambs weighing 42.5kg sold for €118.

This pen of lambs weighed 37.6kg and sold for €100.