The sheep trade has recorded another positive week of trading. The week started off in an excellent fashion on Monday, with agents keen to compensate for a relatively low level of lambs coming on stream over the weekend.
There were murmurs in sales on Tuesday and Wednesday that factory agents were being afforded less purchasing power and while some sales may have started with slightly less intensity, normal service soon resumed, with agents not willing to miss out on numbers.
There is a greater differential entering the trade on the back of a marked variance in the quality of lambs being presented.
Heavier fleshed lambs weighing from 47kg to 50kg and upwards are selling anywhere from €160 to the mid-€170s for select lots, with the latter prices paid where butcher or wholesale buyers have been active.
Lambs weighing 43kg to 46kg are selling from the low- to mid-€140s for poorer-quality lambs lacking flesh to €160 to €165 for lambs capable of killing full weight.
Likewise, lighter lambs weighing in the region of 40kg are trading from €130 to the mid- to high-€140s.
Hogget supplies have fallen to negligible levels in many sales, with the trade steady for factory sheep and slightly sharper if anything for ewe hoggets with breeding potential.
The general run of prices is €165 to €185 for nice-quality hoggets, with strong lots capable in isolated cases of hitting €200 and even higher.
The cull ewe trade has received another price boost in the last week for heavy fleshed ewes.
Well-conformed lowland ewes weighing upwards of 90kg and large-framed heavy ewes weighing in excess of 100kg are selling from €135 to as high as €170 to €180 for select pens of the best-quality ewes.
Lighter ewes weighing 80kg to 85kg range from €100 to €110 upwards for fleshed crossbred types, with well-bred lowland ewes rising to €130. There are very few fleshed ewes selling below €90, with the exception of Scottish Blackface ewes. Here, prices range from €1/kg to €1.20/kg for fleshed ewes.
Ewes with lambs at foot are steady. Twin lamb lots range from €200 to €250 for younger lamb lots, with top prices rising to and exceeding €300 for young ewes with strong lambs aged upwards of 10 weeks of age. Single lamb lots range from €110 to €200-plus.