Marts have recorded another positive week of trading, with average hogget prices increasing in a number of sales by in the region of €2 to €5 per head.
The latest upward movement has witnessed small numbers of excellent-quality hoggets reach and even exceed a price of €180 per head.
There is quite a bit of variation in prices paid for similar weight hoggets in some sales and this is stemming from a significant variation in the quality of sheep on offer.
Wether hoggets are becoming more variable in quality as the season progresses, while some ewe hoggets brought out by the higher prices have received little feeding and are shy on flesh cover.
Top-quality hoggets weighing 50kg to 60kg are selling in general from €170 to €178, with select lots reaching and topping €180.
Plainer-quality types, those lacking flesh and fleshed lots weighing 47kg to 50kg are trading in the main from €160 to €170. Fleshed Scottish Blackface hoggets weighing 47kg to 50kg average from €145 to €155.
The price increase is feeding down across all weight classes. Hoggets weighing 42kg to 44kg are selling anywhere from €130 to €145, with quality dictating prices paid.
Likewise, hoggets weighing 45kg to 46kg are trading in a wide range from €140 to €155 on average.
The cull ewe trade continues to strengthen. Heavy fleshed ewes weighing upwards of 90kg are selling from €125 to €150 on average, with select lots weighing in excess of 100kg selling to €150 to €160.
Ewes weighing 75kg to 85kg are trading from €115 to upwards of €130. There are very few lowland ewes selling below €90 per head, unless they are extremely short of flesh.
Scottish Blackface ewes continue to sell from €1/kg for lots with an average cover of flesh to €1.20/kg to €1.30/kg for fleshed lots.
The trade for ewes with lambs at foot has also firmed, with more customers in the market. Quality and price varies massively.
Good twin-lamb outfits range from €230 to €280, with select lots comprising young ewes or strong lambs hitting and exceeding €300.
Plainer-quality outfits with a small-framed poor-quality ewe and weak lambs are back to €160 to €170, while single-lamb lots range from €150 to €180 and over €200 for lots with young ewes or aged lambs.