The cull ewe trade in marts held on Monday moved on another gear, with prices reported as being €5 to €10 stronger on the week.
The greatest lift was for ewes in the 80kg to 90kg weight bracket, with buyers purchasing ewes for live export dropping down in the weight bands.
In Athenry Mart on Monday, well-fleshed ewes weighing from 80kg to 85kg sold from €180 to €192/head.
Several lots of ewes weighing from 95kg to upwards of 100kg sold from €195 to a top of €230 for ewes weighing 101kg.
Lighter ewes were also a flying trade, with fleshed lots weighing 70kg to 75kg averaging around the €150 to €160/head mark.
Ennis Mart also recorded a vibrant trade for fleshed ewes. Standout prices include €226 paid for ewes weighing 97kg, €223 for top-quality ewes weighing 91kg and €214 for 108kg ewes.
Ewes weighing 91kg to 100kg averaged €2.12/kg, while ewes weighing 80kg to 90kg averaged €1.90/kg and ewes weighing 70kg to 80kg averaged €1.92/kg.
The trade for hoggets in sales on Monday was steady. A high percentage of fleshed hoggets weighing from 50kg to 56kg sold within a price range of €162 to €168, with the best-quality lots on offer and heavier hoggets selling to the mid-€170s.
Kilkenny and Fermoy
Standout prices in Kilkenny Mart include €172 paid for a batch of 15 hoggets weighing 55kg, €171 paid for 10 hoggets weighing 53kg and €170 paid for two batches of 20 and 17 hoggets weighing 56kg and 58kg respectively.
In Fermoy, good-quality butcher and wholesale-type hoggets sold from €161 to €168 for hoggets weighing 51kg to 53kg or from €3.08/kg to €3.27/kg.
Meanwhile, lighter hoggets weighing between 40kg and 48kg achieved a fine average price of €3.27/kg.
Factory price quotes are starting the week unchanged at a range of €6.80/kg to €7.00/kg.
Hoggets traded in small numbers from producers with lower negotiating power are trading from €7.00/kg to €7.15/kg.
Regular sellers and producer groups are receiving prices ranging on average from €7.20/kg to €7.30/kg, while, at the top end of the market, there are some reports of 5c/kg to 10c/kg higher being paid.
The number of spring lambs in the market is low, which is limiting price reports and not testing the market.
Quotes range from €7.50/kg to €7.65/kg, with prices of €7.70/kg to €7.80/kg reported as being paid and as high as €8/kg for E and U grading lambs.
Meanwhile, small volumes of milk lambs are trading upwards of €9/kg for lambs delivering carcases weighing in the main between 11kg and 14kg.