I farm: “About 100 ewe hoggets and lamb another 100 ewes in Eskerroe, Menlough, Co Galway. Land type is pretty good and dry in nature, but the last year and continual torrential rainfall have tested even the best of land. We badly need a settled spell now.”

This week: “I provided about 100 hoggets to be used for one of the open finals at the sheep shearing held in Mountbellew Mart. It has been a while since shearing has been in Galway and it was great that the fine weather helped make it a big success.”

Voluntary effort: “There is a huge volume of work that goes on behind the stage that is not visible to spectators, in sourcing, preparing and transporting hoggets. For example, hoggets have to be sorted and penned indoors dry, any hoggets with any little fault in their fleece can be rejected from being used in the competition, but still need to be shorn, and then all hoggets have to be checked to ensure they return to the right farm.”

Body condition: “I am happy with the way hoggets have performed despite the challenging weather. They were on a run of about 40 acres of dry ground over the winter and got very little feeding. They grew into nice hoggets and have gained plenty of condition in the last few weeks.”

Sourcing hoggets: “I usually buy ewe lambs in local marts, including Mountbellew, Tuam and Roscommon. I like a nice, sharp-headed Suffolk or Suffolk-cross ewe lamb, with good length and scope to develop into good-quality replacements.”

Resisting high prices: “The high hogget prices this spring were definitely attractive, but when you are in a system it is hard to be switching too much from it and you still need sheep to eat the grass. A lot of ewe hoggets were killed this spring, so hopefully those who held on will be rewarded.”

Price stability: “Lamb prices have taken a bit of a hit in the last week. Farmers endured a very tough lambing season and good prices are vital to help renew some confidence and stabilise numbers.”