An analysis of mart prices from sales held in recent days shows hoggets prices steady to €2 to €3/head firmer.

The level of movement in price is largely down to the trade in the previous sale and the level of competition from butcher or wholesale buyers.

The top prices reported for well-fleshed lowland hoggets weighing 50kg to 54kg range from €147 to €155 or around €97 to €102 over the weight.

Heavier hoggets are on occasion exceeding this range, with prices at the top end of the market rising to €160 where butcher or wholesalers are driving the trade.

At the opposite end of the quality spectrum lesser-quality types or hoggets lacking flesh are trading back to the mid-to-low €140s.

Similar story

It is a similar story for hoggets weighing 47kg to 49kg, with prices ranging from €140 to €148 on average for better-quality lots and back to the mid-€130s in cases for poorly matched lots or hoggets which will struggle to achieve a good kill-out.

The recent lift in price for finished hoggets has inserted more life into the trade for store types and opened up an even wider differential between good-quality lowland hoggets and light hill hoggets.

Top-quality store hoggets are recording prices averaging from €2.80/kg to €3.10/kg, with agents willing to drop down in the weight for lighter hoggets possessing a satisfactory cover of flesh.

Mixed-quality hoggets that will require significant feeding are selling from €2.50/kg to €2.70/kg, while light Scotch hoggets continue to sell from €2/kg upwards for long-keep types.

The cull ewe trade is firm, with many mart managers reporting that the trade for heavy top-quality ewes is exceeding equivalent factory returns again.

Ewes weighing 85kg to 95kg are trading anywhere from €135 to €170, with heavier and excellent-quality ewes hitting €200/head and higher on occasion. Medium-weight ewes are trading from €100 to €125, while ewes presented with a very poor cover of flesh and Scotch ewes are trading from 90c/kg to €1.20/kg.