While the hogget trade is flying and the spring lamb trade has started strongly, it is cull ewes that are grabbing the headlines over the last week.

All classes of ewes have experienced a major jump in price, with markets using cull ewes to compensate for tight supplies of hoggets and being in a position to offer a cheaper alternative.

Heavy fleshed ewes are also making waves, with a growing number of heavy large-framed ewes weighing upwards of 90kg to 100kg liveweight exceeding the €200 mark and selling to €230 to €260 per head.

There have also been prices recorded in excess of €300 in isolated cases over the last week, with agents purchasing ewes to fill niche carcase orders, or for exporting live driving the trade.

Factories have increased quotes, but these continue to lag well behind live prices. Many mart managers report cull ewes breaching the €2/kg mark with relative ease, with fleshed horned ewes selling anywhere from €1.30/kg to upwards of €1.80/kg.


The hogget trade continues to edge upwards. Heavy hoggets weighing 53kg to 56kg plus are typically selling in the region of €200 to €215 per head, but rising as high as €220 to €230 per head.

Hoggets weighing 47kg to 49kg are trading from the low-to-mid-€180s for hill and crossbred types, and hitting €190-€200 plus for top-quality lots.

Store hoggets are a flying trade, with prices for good-quality lots ranging anywhere from €3.50/kg to €3.80/kg and topping this on occasion.

Spring lambs are appearing in small numbers, with entries expected to jump next week. Prices reported for heavy lambs weighing 48kg to 50kg range from €220 to €245 on average, with prices hitting as high as €259 for 49kg lambs in Tullow this week.

Light lambs weighing 40kg to 42kg are trading from €180 to €210, depending on condition.

The trade for ewes with lambs at foot remains variable, affected by weather. Medium-sized aged ewes with young lambs are trading from €200 to €250 for twin lamb lots, with prices rising to €300 to €350 and even higher for large-framed ewes with strong lambs or young ewes. Likewise single lamb lots range from €150 to €250.