On Tuesday evening 31 May, Aurivo Livestock Mart Ballymote, Co Sligo, held its weekly sheep sale, with over 400 lambs, almost 100 cast ewes and a small number of hoggets forward for sale.
Speaking to mart manager David Faughnan after the sale, he said that hogget numbers have almost completely dried up in the last fortnight, but that the number of lambs coming forward was building nicely.
Throughout the sale, it was evident that buyers were looking for well-fleshed lambs and were willing to compete for them.
Lambs of the same weight were commanding €12 to €15/head more where they were carrying that extra bit of flesh and buyers were confident that they would have a better kill-out percentage.
You could see lambs coming through there that were clearly getting a bit of creep feeding
David said: “You could see lambs coming through there that were clearly getting a bit of creep feeding, it was definitely a big help to them.
“I know meal is expensive this year, but even having fed €8 to €10/head would be more than paying for itself in terms of weight gain, but more so in the level of finish that those lambs had, they were handling very well and that is what buyers want.”
Level of finish
Lambs weighing 44kg to 46kg traded from €145 to €170/head, depending on their level of finish, while heavier lambs from 47kg to 50kg traded anywhere from €155 to a top price of €173/head.
Lambs weighing 39kg to 42kg were making from €135 to €146/head for the most part.
Cast ewes continue to be an excellent trade and David commented that the strong prices are encouraging farmers to move more numbers than normal for this time of the year.
Well-fleshed ewes weighing 90kg to 100kg were making from €170 to over €200/head, while lighter-framed ewes weighing 75kg to 85kg that were carrying flesh were trading from €135 to €160/head.