The sheep trade continues to build upward momentum, with demand outstripping supply and pushing prices upwards.
Agents handling significant numbers are securing another 5c/kg to 10c/kg from the market, with top prices ranging from €6.55/kg to €6.65/kg.
There are some reports of prices exceeding this level or deals including transport costs, which is adding another 10c/kg on to the price achieved.
Sellers handling smaller numbers and not trading on a regular basis are typically trading from €6.45/kg to €6.50/kg for quality assured (QA) hoggets.
Some sellers having difficulty negotiating these returns are opting to sell live and take advantage of strong competition between butchers, factory agents and wholesale buyers.
Sales held over the weekend and on Monday recorded prices that strengthened to the tune of €2 to €4 per head, with the price increase very much influenced by the quality of hoggets on offer.
Kilkenny Mart auctioneer George Candler reported an excellent trade for an entry of 350 sheep.
Prices for hoggets weighing from 50kg to 58kg were reported as ranging from €152 to €153, while lots weighing 46kg to 48kg sold from €140 to €148.
The best price per kilo of €3.15/kg was paid for a pen of quality store hoggets weighing 40kg which sold for €126.
Meanwhile, large-framed cull ewes sold from €115 to €135 on average, with a top price of €152 per head recorded.
Fermoy Mart recorded a repeat of hoggets exceeding the €160 mark again this week.
A top price of €168 was paid for a pen of top-quality Charollais ewe hoggets weighing 58.6kg, while another pen of Charollais hoggets weighing 55.6kg sold for €162.
Hoggets weighing from 50kg to 60kg recorded a fine average price of €2.78/kg, with the best price of €156 or €3.12/kg paid for well-fleshed 50kg hoggets.
The average price for hoggets weighing from 40kg to 50kg was recorded at €2.95/kg.
Meanwhile, a top of €330 was paid for a quality third- or fourth-crop Suffolk ewe with twin Charollais lambs at foot.
The trade for ewes with lambs at foot also hit the high notes in Raphoe, with ewes with twin lambs at foot selling in a price range of €200 to €320 per unit, while single-lamb lots sold from €150 to €215.
Hoggets weighing 48kg to 58kg sold from €150 to €161, with lots weighing 42kg to 47kg selling from €130 to €150.
There was an entry of 300 sheep in Ennis Mart’s sale on Monday.
The trade was described as vibrant, with hoggets weighing 50kg to 60kg averaging €2.91/kg.
Prices ranged from €150 to a top of €158 in this weight category, while the average price of €2.93/kg was recorded for hoggets weighing from 40kg to 50kg.
Cull ewes were also described as a lightning trade, with the heaviest ewes weighing 91kg or 92kg and selling for €133.
Mountbellew Mart’s sale on Saturday had an entry of some very heavy cull ewes and rams which topped the scales at in excess of 100kg and selling from €120 to over €150 per head.
Medium-weight ewes sold from €90 to €115 on average.
Hoggets were a brisk trade, with lots weighing upwards of 50kg-plus selling upwards of €145 to €147 for plainer-quality types lacking flesh, while fleshed lots weighing 52kg to 55kg sold from €150 to €158, with the latter price hit on a number of occasions.