Tuam Mart’s sheep sale on Tuesday evening recorded a strong trade across all categories of sheep, with hogget prices up by €3 to €5 per head on average and cull ewes firmer to the tune of €5 to €10 or even greater in cases.
Hogget prices sold to a top of €182 for ewe hoggets weighing 57.7kg, while cull ewes sold to in excess of €150 per head.
The hogget trade was underpinned by factory, wholesale and butcher buyers all looking to source hoggets for the Easter trade.
Another element which is adding another source of competition into the trade is farmer buyers active for ewe hoggets with breeding potential.
This is being underpinned by some buyers expecting ewe hogget supplies to be tighter this backend, given the high numbers being drafted for sale at present.
And while hoggets are a flying trade, some farmers think they could be better value at present and are willing to at least assess their options.
A high percentage of fleshed hoggets weighing from 50kg upwards topped the €170 mark, with fleshed and well-conformed lots weighing 54kg to 60kg selling from €175 to €180 and above this level on a couple of occasions.
It should be noted that there is a wide differential, depending on quality and flesh cover, with a small number of hoggets weighing around the 50kg mark selling back to in the region of €160.
There is a still a strong appetite for quality store hoggets, but, again, there is a big differential in price.
This is shown in hoggets weighing 42kg to 44kg selling from the mid-€130s to €150, with one pen of top-quality hoggets weighing 43.6kg achieving the top price per kilo and selling to €157.
The cull ewe trade was excellent, with ewes selling well above the equivalent factory prices offered to farmers.
Fleshed ewes weighing 80kg to 95kg sold from €130 to €145 on average, with crossbred and lighter fleshed ewes selling on average from €110 upwards.