Mart managers are reporting a much livelier hogget trade in recent days, with demand for top-quality hoggets required by butcher and wholesale buyers the highlight of the trade.

The best-quality hoggets weighing 49kg to 54kg on average and presented with a good covering of flesh and in uniform batches are selling from €150 to €153.

Select lots of heavier hoggets or those presented in sales with a strong butcher trade and tight supplies are exceeding this price range and selling to €160 or higher in isolated cases.

This is leaving a wide differential between these types and average-quality lots with a price differential of up to €8 to €10 evident in cases.

Large-framed ewes weighing upwards of 90kg are typically trading from €120 to €135

Factory agents are starting to compete with greater intensity and this is reducing this differential as the week progresses.

A similar story is evident for cull ewes. Large-framed ewes weighing upwards of 90kg are typically trading from €120 to €135, but there are occasional sales where buyers purchasing heavy ewes for export are active, resulting in prices reaching as high as €150 per head.

Medium-sized fleshed lowland ewes are trading from €90 to €110 on average, with crossbred and feeding ewes ranging from €70 to €90.

In contrast, poor-quality aged and broken-mouth ewes with young lambs are selling from €150 to €180

Scotch cull ewes continue to trade in the main from €45 to €55 for small-framed ewes and as high as €70 to €80 for large-framed types.

The trade for ewes with lambs at foot is hugely variable. Twin-lamb outfits are trading from €230 to €270 for fresh ewes in good condition and two good lambs at foot to in excess of €300 for hoggets with twin lambs.

In contrast, poor-quality aged and broken-mouth ewes with young lambs are selling from €150 to €180. Likewise, single-lamb lots range anywhere from €120 to in excess of €200 for young ewes and strong lambs.