The hogget trade in marts is buoyant with prices continuing to rise on the back of another significant increase in factory hogget prices.

Hoggets weighing upwards of 50kg are selling in the main above €155/head with a percentage of well-fleshed and quality hoggets exceeding €160/head and selling in isolated cases to a top call of €165 to €168 for the best-quality lots attracting butcher and wholesale interest.

Lighter hoggets weighing 47kg to 49kg are trading anywhere from €140 to the mid €150s with flesh cover, breed and quality having a big influence on prices paid. Store hoggets have also increased in line with the increase in slaughter-fit prices.

The cull ewe trade is largely unchanged

Lowland hoggets weighing 43kg to 45kg are trading from a starting price of €130 for average-quality lots to a top of €140 to €144 for hoggets with good-scope to carry weight and already possessing a good cover of flesh.

The cull ewe trade is largely unchanged. Fleshed ewes weighing 80kg to 90kg are trading in the main from €100 to €115 with heavier lots weighing up to 100kg selling to a top of €120 to €130. There are occasional cases of ewes exceeding 100kg selling to a top of €140 to €145.

Meanwhile Scotch ewes continue to range on average from €50 to €60 for small-framed types, rising to €65 to €70 for medium-to-large ewes and a top of €75 to €80 for the best-quality types.

The trade for ewes with lambs at foot is benefiting from the increased optimism. Prices continue to vary greatly and this is driven by a massive range in the quality of lots presented.

Single-lamb lots range anywhere from €110 to €130

Twin-lamb units comprising an aged ewe with a poor mouth and young lamb are selling in the region of €170 to €200 with full mouth ewes with good lambs selling to €220 to €230.

While units with strong lambs aged a few weeks old and a large-framed ewe with a good cull value or younger ewes are rising to €250 to €270 and in isolated cases rising to €300 or over. Likewise single-lamb lots range anywhere from €110 to €130 for crossbred or small-framed ewes to a general price of €160 to €180 for quality lots and as high as €200 plus for hogget ewes.