The sheep trade has begun the week in a similar format, with prices rolled forward from the end of last week.

Quotes remain at a range of €6.50/kg to €6.70/kg and, as has been the case in recent weeks, prices at entry level to the market are in excess of €6.70/kg, with most deals here ranging from €6.70/kg to €6.80/kg.

The exception to this is heavier carcases weighing in excess of 25kg, which are subject to deductions rising to 30c/kg or a top price of €150 in Kildare Chilling.

Producers handling significant numbers or trading on a regular basis are securing returns of €6.85/kg to €6.90/kg, while prices paid at the top end of the market are in the region of €6.95/kg to €7.00/kg.

This includes prices received by members of some producer groups selling hoggets, with additional bonuses for U grading lots.

The ewe trade is firm, with demand continuing to exceed supplies. Starting prices are in the region of €3.40/kg, with sellers handling significant numbers or possessing greater negotiating power securing returns of €3.50/kg to €3.60/kg.

Mart roundup

There has been no real change in the mart trade in recent days.

Fleshed hoggets in Mountbellew Mart in Co Galway weighing from 52kg to 57kg sold on Saturday within a price range of €150 to €157 per head, with a couple of lots of 59kg hoggets selling to a top of €159/head.

Kilkenny Mart recorded a livelier trade on Monday, with a smaller entry of 250 head generating extra competition between buyers.

Hoggets sold to a top of €173/head for top-quality butcher hoggets weighing 56kg.

There were three other lots of heavier hoggets which exceeded the €160/head mark, while hoggets weighing 48kg to 50kg are reported as trading from €152 to €158/head.

The trade in Athenry Mart on Monday was steady, with typical prices for hoggets weighing 50kg to 55kg ranging from €150 to €157/head.

A couple of lots of top-quality and heavier hoggets exceeded this range, including super-quality hoggets weighing 53kg selling for €165 and a pen of 61kg hoggets selling for €170.