The sheep trade continues to edge upwards, with prices increasing by anywhere from €3 to €5/head and more in cases.

Hogget entries in sales are low and quality is variable, but there are buyers keen for all types. Hoggets weighing in the region of 50kg to 55kg are selling in general from €152 upwards for hill and crossbred types to €160 to €170 for better-conformed lowland hoggets.

A selection of top-quality lots and heavier hoggets are rising in cases to €175, while prices of €175 to €190 have been reported on occasion for well-presented hoggets exhibiting good breeding potential.

Prices paid for lighter hoggets weighing 43kg to 47kg are heavily influenced by quality, with prices starting at €120 for tail-end lots requiring significant feeding and rising to €140 to €150 for lots with a nice cover of flesh and suitable for feeding on or killing.

There is also much more life in the lamb trade. Many mart managers report the keenest demand from factory agents is for well-fleshed lambs weighing 44kg to 48kg and suitable for the carcase market.

These lambs are capable of recording prices of €165 to €174/head, similar to heavier lambs weighing 50kg to 52kg.

Select lots of superior-quality and heavier lambs are exceeding this range and selling in infrequent cases to €175 to €180/head.

Lighter lambs weighing in the region of 40kg are trading anywhere from €135 to in excess of €150/head, with the kill-out potential of lambs understandably having the greatest influence on price.

The cull ewe trade is solid, with buyers purchasing ewes for exporting in live or carcase form continuing to dictate the trade.

Heavy ewes weighing upwards of 95kg to 100kg are trading in a tight price range from €185 to €210, with little deviation for well-conformed fleshed ewes. Lighter ewes weighing around 85kg range from €145 for poorer-quality lots with a lower cover of flesh to €170 to €180 for the best-quality lots.

Scottish Blackface ewes are low in number with prices continuing to range from €1/kg to €1.10/kg for ewes lacking flesh to €1.30/kg to 1.60/kg for heavier ewes.