The sheep trade continues to come under pressure, with reduced factory quotes for finished hoggets affecting sales this week. Cull ewes were the exception, with a real solid trade for good-quality cull ewes in Blessington Mart.

The sale of over 870 fat and breeding ewes, along with hoggets, met a steady trade which resulted in a 95% clearance rate.

Store hoggets weighing between 35-40kg remain solid, with the hammer falling at between €80 to €105/head for most lots. Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, auctioneer John Doyle said: ''The store hogget trade was very similar to last week, with a mixture of farmers and larger feeders still looking for lambs."

At the other end of the spectrum, better quality hoggets ready-to-kill weighing over 45kg were back €2-€3 per head on last week's prices, coming in at €108 to €130/head.

The lighter poorer quality lambs were back by as much as €5/head on the previous week's trading.

The cull ewe trade remains good, with an overall rise in price of €5 per head compared to last week.

Heavier ewes weighing up to 95kg remain a very strong trade, selling from €140 to €176/head. Prices for lighter ewes ranged from €86 to €136 per head.

"Overall, we were happy with the trade. It’s a quiet time of the year and numbers are always smaller in January before the big spring sales get busy," Doyle said.

Blessington Mart will hold a special sale of 100 Suffolk cross ewes on Tuesday 1 February 2022.

In pictures

This pen of five ewe lambs sold at €83 (€3.03/kg) and weighed 27.4kg.

These six mixed Lleyn lambs weighed 47.83kg and sold at €142 (€2.97/kg).

This pen of eight Suffolk-cross ewes weighed 49.5kg and sold for €126 (€2.55/kg).

These five Suffolk ram lambs had an average weight of 35kg and sold for €92 (€2.63/kg).

This pen of 13 wether lambs weighed 41kg and sold for €120 (€2.93/kg).

This pen of nine Lleyn mixed lambs weighed 50kg and sold for €148 (€2.96/kg).

These three ewe lambs had an average weight of 75kg and sold for €160 (€2.13/kg).

This pen of two cull ewes sold for €110 (€1.08/kg) and weighed 102kg.

This Texel cull ewe weighed 66kg and sold for a price of €122 (€1.85/kg).

This pen of two cull ewes sold for €100 (€1.47/kg) and weighed 68kg.

This pen of two cull ewes weighed 61kg and sold for €84 (€1.38/kg).

These six Cheviot cull ewes weighed 71kg and sold for €96 (€1.35/kg).