Specialist finishers and agents handling large numbers of hoggets are now pushing returns for hoggets to €7.50/kg, with prices moving up by another 10c/kg to 20c/kg on last week’s level.

Factory agents are trying to hold returns outside of this cohort of sellers in the region of €7.25/kg to €7.35/kg, with many willing to do deals on weight or transport costs as opposed to raising prices above this level.

Producers handling small numbers and selling on a relatively infrequent basis are being offered prices in the region of €7.10/kg to €7.20/kg for quality-assured hoggets.

Strong competition

Mart managers report that they are benefiting from strong competition between factory agents, wholesalers and butchers, and that some of these producers facing challenges in negotiating the higher prices are opting to show sheep live.

The ewe trade has improved significantly in the marts, with buyers shipping ewes live or processing heavy ewes for special orders active.

On the other hand, factory quotes are slow to rise and remain in the region of €2.80/kg to €3.00/kg.

However, it is clear that agents handling large numbers are securing significantly higher returns, given their strength of purchasing in mart sales.

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Tight UK sheep supplies fuelling higher prices