Mart managers report a vibrant trade for all categories of ewes, but in particular for animals capable of achieving prices of upwards of €180.

Such ewes would struggle to climb above the €180 mark in most factories in the absence of prices north of €4/kg and carcase weight payment limits in excess of 45kg.

Top-quality ewes weighing 95kg and upwards are selling on average from €190 to €215/head, with a selection of excellent-quality lots and ewes adding another 10kg to 15kg to the scales hitting prices as high as €230 to €240/head on occasion.

Plainer-quality crossbred ewes and lots weighing in the region of 85kg to 90kg are trading from €170 to €190, while top-quality ewes weighing 80kg are in cases selling to €180 such is demand for the right type of ewe.

Again, lesser-quality types weighing 80kg are selling back to €150 to €160/head, while fleshed lowland ewes weighing 70kg are selling from €135 to €155 on average.

Solid lamb trade

The lamb trade is also solid. Prices are in the region of €168 to €175 for heavier lots weighing 48kg to 50kg upwards, with a small selection generating strong bidding by butchers selling to €178 to €180.

Good-quality lambs weighing 43kg to 46kg are selling anywhere from €160 to €170, again depending on their kill-out potential, while lighter lots weighing 40kg to 42kg are starting in the region of €150/head for plainer-quality lots and rising to the mid- to high-€150s.

There is some demand for a very small pool of store lambs, with prices of €100 to €120 for 33kg to 36kg, and those from weighing from 38kg to 40kg and requiring further feeding averaging around the €125 to €135 mark.

Firm ewe hogget demand

There is also firm demand for the small entry of ewe hoggets with breeding potential generally appearing.

Nice-quality fleshed hoggets are selling upwards of €170 for lighter types, with the best-quality hoggets with a good frame and weighing upwards of 65kg selling anywhere from €175 to €200/head. Fleshed factory hoggets are selling from €155 to €170 on average.