Factory agents circulated a narrative at the end of last week citing that hogget prices were coming under pressure.

Some marts held on Saturday witnessed factory agents not willing to compete to the same extent, with prices as a result easing to the tune of anywhere from €5 to €8 per head or even greater in cases.

This pressure appears to have been short-lived, with mart sales held on Monday meeting a flying trade and recording every bit as strong a trade as last week.

Competition was particularly high in sales where wholesalers and butchers are active.

Top-quality, well-fleshed hoggets offered for sale in Athenry Mart on Monday and weighing in excess of 50kg ranged in general from €172 to €177, with three lots exceeding this range and selling for €178 (58.5kg), €179 (61kg) and €184 (64kg).

Hoggets lacking flesh but at a similar weight sold back to €160 per head, while hoggets weighing 47kg to 59kg sold from €160 to €169.

Standout trade

Cull ewes were also a standout trade, with a top price of €185 paid for 98kg and €180 paid for 99kg.

Significant numbers of heavy and well-conformed ewes sold from €130 to €160, with a few lots also exceeding this level excluding the high prices listed above.

Tops in Kilkenny

Kilkenny Mart also recorded a top price of €185 in the cull ewe section, while auctioneer George Candler described the trade for a small entry of over 300 head as electric.

Hoggets peaked at €181 for a pen of eight weighing 60kg, with a few lots weighing 50kg to 56kg selling from €160 to €171.

There was some excellent-quality hoggets in the lower weight bracket of 46kg to 48kg and these sold in a sharp trade from €173 to €176 or an average price of €3.60/kg to €3.80/kg.

There was a similar entry in Ennis Mart of 300 head.

Manager Martin McNamara said the good hoggets remain a great trade, with a pen of top-quality fleshed hoggets weighing 51kg the standout performer selling for €184.

There was a similarly wide variation on price depending on quality, with hoggets weighing 50kg to 56kg selling from €160 to €177.

There was a small number of spring lambs offered with the pick of these seven at 39.5kg, which sold for €154.