The Tullow Sheep Breeders Association premier sale of ewe lambs and ewe hoggets held in Tullow Mart on Wednesday kicked the commercial female breeding sales season off in spectacular fashion.

An entry of 80 lots of hoggets recorded a super average price of €245 per head.

Remarkably, only one batch of hoggets fell below the €200 mark.

The trade was stronger by €20 to €30 per head on average with larger-framed and stronger hoggets particularly sharp.

In the region of 20% of hoggets on offer sold for upwards of €270 per head with four lots breaking the €300 mark. This included the first prizewinning batch which sold for €330 per head.

Manager Eric Driver said: “It was wonderful to see such life at the ringside today.

“The resoluteness of sheep farmers has to be commended given the challenges they are facing with weather, input costs and falling lamb prices.”

Ewe lamb prices were steady to €5 firmer on last year’s vibrant trade. Driver said that while prices were not too dissimilar, ewe lambs were on average 1kg to 2kg lighter with prices significantly higher year-on-year when this is taken in to account.

The general run of prices for stronger ewe lambs weighing 45kg to 50kg was in the region of €150 to €180 per head, while lambs weighing 40kg to 45kg sold from €130 to €160.

In the region of 10 lots of ewe lambs exceeded the €200 mark rising to a top price of €275 for prizewinning lambs weighing 50kg.

“There was a clear indication today that buying good on day one delivers when selling, with the strong cull ewe value of the Tullow ewe a big advantage to the trade,” Driver said.