There were just short of 600 sheep on offer in Kenmare Mart last Monday afternoon for the Kerry mart’s fortnightly sheep sale.

Demand was strongest for early lamb, with some choice lots of lowland lambs coming within touching distance of €4.50/kg and a small number made more. Demand appeared strongest for lowland ewe lambs with a group of 46kg lambs selling for €214 (4.65/kg).

Most factory and heavier store lambs, both lowland and crossbreds, sold for between €3.50/kg to €4.20/kg.

Mart manager, Dan McCarthy was otherwise engaged on Monday afternoon as he waited on the results of a re-count in his bid to return to Kerry County Council, and trade held well in his absence.

Speaking after the sale and buoyed by his election success he said:

“After a bad spring things have really started to come good. Sheep farmers seem to be happy at the moment. Prices are holding relatively good; grass is growing and lambs are thriving. If store lambs continue this way it will make it a good year.

Despite recent factory cuts, he was happy with sheep prices so far this year.

“You’d notice the quality of sheep coming out from farmers too, and more of them are starting to feed on the lambs to get them into factory weight, which is important.

“I’d be encouraging farmers to feed on any twins, I think it would pay farmers to keep them going, get them into weight quicker and get them away rather than send them to the hill.

“The finished lamb is a good trade and early lambs are paying well, even when there’s extra expense gone into them.

“If the weather comes right and there’s plenty grass then I could see a good backend for lambs, as there mightn’t be as many around as other years.”

Recent price cuts by factories impacted on trade for hoggets. At the upper end of trade for them, lowland hoggets were making up to €182/head, with lighter hill hoggets selling for between €82 to €120. Crossbred prices broke €150 on a few occasions, with some farmers choosing not to sell at those prices.

There was a selection of ewes with lambs at foot on offer too. Of these, crossbred ewes with single lambs tended to be making between €150 and €170, with more going for those with twins.

“A few of these exceeded €200, with a top price of €314 paid for a ewe with strong twins. Single ewes that were alright for breeding ranged in price from €60 to €148 with breed and condition dictating where in that range she sold from.

Sheep sales are fortnightly in Kenmare until they revert to weekly sales from 24 June.

These ewe lambs weighed 46kg and sold for €214 (€4.65/kg).
This ram lamb weighed 42kg and sold for €172(€4.10/kg).
These ram lambs weighed 37.4kg and sold for €130 (€3.48/kg).
These hogget ewes weighed 29kg and sold for €102 (€3.52/kg).
These ram lambs weighed 40kg and sold for €178 (€4.45/kg).
These ewe lambs weighed 39.7kg and sold for €174 (€3.97/kg).
These mixed lambs weighed 37.3kg and sold for €134 (€3.58/kg).
These ram lambs weighed 43.8kg and sold for €174 (€3.97/kg).
These hogget rams weighed 42kg and sold for €122 (€2.91/kg).
These hogget ewes weighed 39kg and sold for €138 (€3.53/kg).
These ram lambs weighed 48kg and sold for €180 (€3.75/kg).
These ram lambs weighed 43kg and sold for €161 (€3.74/kg).
This ewe lamb weighed 40.4kg and sold for €168 (€4.16/kg).
This ram lamb weighed 54kg and sold for €200 (€3.70/kg).
These hogget ewes weighed 56kg and sold for €182 (€3.25/kg).