The sheep trade continues to perform strongly, even if there are fewer reports of the high prices paid to finishers with large numbers on hand and trading at the top end of the market.

Hogget prices range on average from €7.70/kg to €7.85/kg, with some of these deals also including allowances on transport costs.

There is still 10c/kg to 15c/kg higher being paid at the top end of the market, but the frequency of these prices has diminished compared with purchasing in advance of the start of the Ramadan festival.

Keen for hoggets

Factories remain keen for hoggets, with spring lamb numbers slow to build.

It should be noted that prices are being influenced to a greater degree by quality.

This is being influenced by tail-end supplies accounting for a greater percentage of the trade and ewe hoggets being presented in cases at excessive weights and a variable level of fat cover.

Spring lamb trade

The spring lamb trade also varies significantly between and even within flocks.

A number of factories are attempting to ease their base quotes back by 10c/kg, leaving base quotes ranging anywhere from €7.80/kg to €8/kg.

Prices range in general from €8.00/kg to €8.20/kg, with top prices of €8.30/kg to €8.40/kg paid in recent days to producers with strong relationships with factories and supplying large numbers regularly.