The mart trade has witnessed a major jump in competition, with factory agents and butcher or wholesale buyers all exhibiting a stronger appetite.

Hogget prices have increased anywhere from €5 to €10/head for fleshed lots on the previous week, with store hoggets also benefitting from an upturn.

Top-quality lowland hoggets weighing from 50kg to 54kg are trading on average from €148 to €154, with excellent-quality lots and heavier lots rising to 60kg liveweight rising to €160/head and slightly above in isolated cases. Lesser-quality lots and hoggets lacking flesh are selling from €90 to €94 over the weight.

Lighter hoggets

Lighter hoggets weighing from 48kg to 49kg are selling from €140 to upwards of €150 for excellent-quality lots with the potential to achieve a high kill-out and deliver high-quality carcases.

The increase in appetite is also witnessing factory agents drop down in their normal range, active for lots weighing 45kg to 47kg. Prices are dependent on quality and range from the mid-€130s to the mid-€140s for lowland lots and back to €130 for lighter lots with poorer kill-out potential.

The lift in the trade for finished lots is also benefitting store hoggets. Lowland hoggets weighing from 38kg to 40kg are trading from €2.70/kg to €2.90/kg on average, with the best-quality lots hitting and exceeding €3/kg.

Crossbred types range from €2.50/kg to €2.70/kg, while demand for hill lambs has also received a welcome boost, although prices for light lots remain challenging.

Cull ewes

The cull ewe trade is firmer, with fleshed heavy ewes ranging from €140 to €170 and as high as €200 to €220 on rare occasions for ewes weighing upwards of 100kg.

Medium-weight ewes range from €100 to €120, with Scottish Blackface ewes and ewes lacking flesh from €1/kg to €1.20/kg on average.

Demand has lifted for ewes with lambs at foot. Single-lamb outfits range from €150 for aged, smaller-framed ewes and young lambs to €200 to €230 for younger ewes or strong lambs. Twin-lamb units range from €200 to €250 for good-quality lots and up to €300 and over for young ewes and good lambs.