Factory prices for hoggets are rising at pace with reports of 550p/kg paid at the top end of the market midweek, and base quotes jumping to 530p/kg.
Official quotes are up 40p/kg on the week, with prices on offer up by as much as 60p/kg, which on a 22kg carcase is worth £13.
Factory-fit sheep are now achieving prices in the region of £120/head which is unprecedented for the time of year.
Last January, factory quotes were 430p/kg, with price deals running to 440p/kg, leaving a differential of more than £20 on a 22kg carcase.
Higher factory prices are in response to strong demand in marts. Prices of 550p/kg have been paid at various sales held this week, leaving factory agents with little option but to increase offers.
Irish plants are paying €6.40 to €6.50/kg for NI hoggets to be shipped south with payment made to a 23kg carcase limit.
At current exchange rates and excluding VAT, these prices convert to 545p to 555p/kg.
In Britain, prices are also surging ahead of those of on offer last week. Plants in Scotland are paying 540p/kg with expectation this will increase.