The sheep trade continues to defy all expectations, with spring lamb prices reaching €10/kg, a price many farmers thought they would never see. Base quotes for Thursday jumped by another 20c/kg to 30c/kg, with opening negotiations for quality assured (QA) lambs starting at €9.70/kg.

Producers with higher numbers to sell are securing 10c/kg to 20c/kg extra through producer or conformation bonuses, while at the top end of the market agents and those with sizeable volumes have secured upwards of €10/kg. Prices are running €1.50/kg higher, or the equivalent of €31.50 on a 21kg carcase.


The differential between hogget and lamb prices has narrowed to the minimum level. Hogget quotes have also increased by 10c/kg to 20c/kg on the week and are averaging upwards of €9.50/kg.

However, with a large percentage of remaining hoggets in the hands of specialist finishers and sellers with greater negotiating power, top prices are rising to €7.70/kg to €9.80/kg.

Hogget quotes are running some €2.30/kg above the corresponding period in 2023, or in excess of €50/head on a 23kg carcase. Higher prices are drawing larger numbers of ewe hoggets on to the market, with concerns rising in relation to longer-term ewe numbers. A vibrant cull ewe trade is adding to these concerns, with heavy ewes selling upwards of €200/head, or from €2/kg to €2.40/kg plus.

NI trade

The trade in Northern Ireland is also flying, with hoggets selling for £8/kg, or the equivalent of €9.33/kg, while spring lambs are trading anywhere from £8.50/kg to £8.70/kg or upwards of €10/kg at the top end of the market.

The trade is being driven by tight supplies, with production in Europe running over 5% lower year-on-year.

In contrast, Australian and New Zealand farmers continue to face huge challenges, with prices running at just €3.98/kg and €3.40/kg, respectively. Record production in Australia has left some farmers struggling to sell sheep.