An increasing number of sheep producers now have a sales price figure of €7/kg in sight. Some producers trading through groups are receiving returns of €7/kg for hoggets when bonus payments on confirmation are added into the equation while specialist finishers handling large numbers are now securing similar returns either directly, or through a lower price topped up by transport costs being covered.

It is also clear that agents purchasing in mart sales are securing these prices given the strength in the trade with a return of €7/kg not capable in some cases of returning a margin and requiring a higher carcase weight limit to have any chance of breaking even or delivering a small margin.

Producers with lower negotiating power are securing returns of €6.80/kg for hoggets with a significant percentage of sheep trading in the region of €6.80/kg to €6.90/kg. Mart managers continue to report that throughput in mart sales is being buoyed by producers with lower negotiating power meeting factory resistance on price and as such opting to show hoggets in the mart.

Stagnant ewe trade

The ewe trade remains stagnant with quotes in the region of €2.70/kg to €2.80/kg and top prices ranging from €3.00/kg to €3.10/kg. Sellers handling big numbers of hoggets and trading ewes as part of the deal are in some cases securing higher.

The mart trade is running ahead of the dead trade for quality lowland ewes with a good cover of flesh. Tight-wooled lots weighing upwards of 90kg to 100kg are trading from €115 to €130 on average with the highest priced lots rising to €140.