This week’s sheep trade is getting off to a sluggish start.

The new public holiday to mark St Brigid’s Day will temper demand at the start of the week while sheep producers may also be less enticed to move sheep following another hit to base quotes.

Factories quoting on Friday and over the weekend for Tuesday’s kill have reduced base quotes by 5c/kg.

This leaves plants working on a base of €5.90/kg to €6.00/kg or a starting price of €6.10/kg on average when the respective quality assurance bonuses are taken in to account.

Farmers trading at the lower end of the market are being offered this price as a starting quote and some are having success in extracting another 5c/kg to 10c/kg from the market.

Producer groups working on the average of quotes have also seen prices ease back by 7c/kg to 10c/kg, depending on the pricing mechanism in place. This leaves most lambs traded through groups moving at a price of €6.25/kg to €6.30/kg, with some prices 5c/kg to 10c/kg higher because of conformation bonuses.

Mart trade

There were a number of sales cancelled on Saturday and Monday due to St Brigid’s Day. Marts which went ahead recorded a steady trade with little change on the previous week.

Top-quality lowland hoggets weighing from 50kg upwards traded on average from €146 to €152, with a selection of excellent-quality hoggets attracting butcher-buyer attention rising to the mid-€150s.

Plainer-quality types and those with a medium cover of flesh sold back to €140 per head while hoggets weighing 47kg to 49kg range anywhere from €135 to €145 depending on quality.