Competition levels in mart sales have stepped up a notch as factory agents struggle to get their hands on their desired numbers.

Hogget entries have fallen to a tiny level, with demand solid and prices in cases rising by €2 to €3 per head in recent days.

Quality is hugely variable and this is feeding in to a big differential in prices. Fleshed hoggets from 49kg to 55kg are selling from €155 to €164 in the main. Heavier hoggets weighing in cases to in excess of 60kg are selling to €170 and higher, with more demand from farmer buyers for ewe hoggets.

This is pushing prices for top-quality lots to €180 and over on occasion. Tail-end hoggets from 42kg to 46kg are trading anywhere from €115 to €145 per head, with flesh cover and quality dictating prices paid.

The low number of hoggets is inserting more life into the trade for spring lambs. Young, well-fleshed lambs from 42kg to 44kg are selling on average from €150 to €160, with kill-out potential having the biggest bearing on prices here.


Lambs from 45kg to 48kg are trading from €155 to €167, with better-conformed lambs attracting butcher-buyer interest at the higher end of the price range while fleshed lambs in excess of 50kg are selling to €163 to €172 and a handful of lots on occasion topping this price range.

Renewed activity from buyers purchasing cull ewes for exporting live or in carcase form has underpinned a €5 to €8 increase in average prices. Fleshed lots from 95kg to 100kg and upwards are selling in a tight price range from €190 to €210, with select batches hitting €220 per head.

Ewes weighing 85kg to 90kg are trading from €155 to €185 per head for young, well-conformed types with a good kill-out potential. Prices paid for ewes around the 80kg mark are heavily influenced by quality, with more crossbred ewes in this weight range.

Prices are in the region of €120 to €140 for ewes with a medium-to-good flesh cover or poorer conformation with top-quality lowland types rising to €150 to €170. Scottish Blackface ewes continue to sell from €1/kg for poor-quality ewes to €1.30/kg to €1.45/kg for fleshed heavier ewes.