Pat Chambers, Co Mayo

Pat Chambers.

“The good trade is a welcome boost to sheep farmers, but it was badly wanted. A few odd lots are moving locally, but it must be remembered that not many farmers have benefited from the good trade yet.

“Most had sold their store lambs in the back end of last year but there was a good trade for those lambs too. There’s great positivity in sheep at the moment. The outlook for the trade is good for the year.

“I’d imagine farmers will take the chance to make investments in the farm, and that will benefit everyone back the supply chains too. I think breeding ewes will also be a good trade next autumn.”

Kevin Comiskey, Co Leitrim

Kevin Comiskey (right). \ Sean Lydon

“The trade is a great bounce to sheep farmers this year, but is not before time. It will make up for an increase in input costs, and the collapse of wool prices, and a few poor years before now.

“I think farmers will put money into investments on the farm if they benefit from the good trade this year. If a farmer has money, they’ll spend it, and the ripple effect is of great value around the local economy.

“Sheep are a good trade at the minute, but many of the farmers lambing the ewe have not seen the boost just yet. Nevertheless, the view is good for the year and hopefully it will stay that way.”

John Neville, Co Wexford

John Neville.

“It’s great to see the trade looking good for the year to come. While pedigree sales were a fantastic trade last year, it’s even better to have the lamb trade as good as it is.

“These prices will bring confidence to pedigree sales later in the year again.

“I reckon breeding rams and, even more so, breeding ewes should be a great trade later in the year as farmers look to take advantage to increase numbers of ewes or maybe just improve the quality of their flocks.

“There’s a great positivity in sheep farming at the moment and it’s exactly what we need to attract more young farmers to the sector.”

Pat Nutall, Co Wicklow

Pat Nutall.

“It’s fantastic that sheep farmers are also getting paid a fair price for their produce.

“Apart from the international influence on the trade, I think how lamb has been marketed in Ireland has also played a role in the increased demand and prices. The hope is that we’ll see prices stay near the current levels over the summer and that all sheep farmers will see the benefit. I feel hoggets and breeding ewes will be expensive in the autumn, and not many farmers will increase in numbers.

“Instead, I think if they get the chance we’ll see farmers invest in facilities and infrastructure on their farms to improve management and productivity.”

Elaine Smyth, Co Offaly

Elaine Smyth.

“It’s great to see the price at the level it is at. There’s a lot of work that goes into producing lambs.

“This year’s prices are probably only fair with the amount of work that’s put in. I was delighted to get a bunch of early lambs off to the factory recently.

“Hopefully the trade will stay positive for the summer, but some drop will probably be seen.

“I don’t see myself increasing hugely in ewe numbers. Many will try to keep the numbers they have and concentrate on improving their systems before they increase. I think a lot of young farmers could be drawn back to sheep if the prices can hold.”