The trade for slaughter fit hoggets remains extremely strong, despite the key buying period for Ramadan ending this week.

Heavy hoggets in local marts continue to freely make above £180 for animals between 26.5kg and 29kg halfweight with occasional lots returning over £200.

Hoggets between 23kg and 26kg halfweight are regularly making £165 to £175 depending on quality, with prices around £150 for those weighing 22kg to 22.5kg.

Spring lambs remain limited in number, but those on offer are commanding plenty of buying interest with prices from £160 to £180 depending on sale weight and quality.

Factory prices

Factory agents have tried to cut prices this week, but with a robust live trade offering significantly higher returns, those attempts are gaining little traction.

Deals of 710p/kg remain widely available for hoggets with farmers handling bigger numbers reporting 720p/kg paid to 23kg deadweight.

Factories are trying to buy spring lambs at 750p/kg, but reports suggest they are having to pay 20p to 30p/kg more to keep pace with marts.


Exports of slaughter fit sheep from NI to abattoirs in the Republic of Ireland totalled 109,264 head during quarter one (Q1) of 2024, up 29% or 24,503 on the same period last year.

Exports to Britain totalled 39,781 during Q1, up from 21,266 in 2023 as buyers capitalised on higher prices at abattoirs across the Irish Sea this spring.

As a result, kill figures for Q1 show a decline in throughput at local factories in 2024, with 108,462 lambs and hoggets processed, down 6% on 2023 levels.


Quotes have moved on to 464p/kg for U-3 grading cattle this week with deals offered to farmers also steady at around 480p to 482p/kg.

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has warned sheep farmers to be on high alert to nematodirus worm burdens in young lambs at grass.

Nematodirus affects lambs from six to 12 weeks old and clinical signs of infection occur two weeks after ingesting worm larvae. Affected lambs are prone to excessive scouring and sudden death.

The risk is significantly increased where the 2024 lamb crop are on fields that were grazed by lambs in the previous year.

AFBI forecasting models suggest that 10% of larvae will have hatched by mid-March with peak activity occurring by the first week of April.

Use of white drenches containing benzimidazole as the active ingredient is recommended as an effective treatment option for lambs exhibiting a heavy nematodirus burden.

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