Hogget prices have increased on average by €3 to €5 per head over the last week, leaving a high percentage of fleshed hoggets weighing upwards of 50kg selling in a price range of €160 to €167.
Excellent-quality lots or ewe hoggets with breeding potential and attracting strong interest from farmer buyers are selling in cases to €170 or even a few euro higher.
Hoggets weighing 50kg and upwards and lacking flesh are selling back to €155.
The higher prices on offer is leading to a sharp increase in the number of ewe hoggets of all weights being presented for sale.
Prices are very much influenced by quality and the level of finish, with some hoggets weighing well but not having received significant feeding.
This is leading to a price differential of anywhere from €5 to €8 per head or even greater for similar-weight hoggets of varying quality. Hoggets weighing 45kg to 48kg are selling on average from €145 to the mid- to high-€150s.
Store hoggets remain in demand, with hoggets weighing 40kg to 42kg selling from €110 to €125 for Scottish Blackface male lambs, with prices for tight-woolled lambs rising to €134 to €140.
The trade for ewes with lambs at foot is steady, with higher numbers appearing in some sales and met with an increase in farmer buyers.
Twin lamb units comprising a full-mouth ewe with two good lambs at foot are selling in general from €250 to €280, with select lots of young ewes and strong lambs on rare occasions hitting and exceeding €300.
Lots with young lambs are selling from €220 upwards, with poorer-quality outfits from €170 to €200.
It is a similar case with single lamb lots. Good-quality units are selling from €150 to €180 and topping €200 on occasion for young ewes, while small-framed or broken-mouth ewes with young lambs are selling on average from €120 to €140.
Cull ewe prices have firmed on the back of higher factory quotes.
Heavy ewes weighing 100kg-plus are selling from €125 to €150, medium-weight types weighing 80kg to 90kg are selling from €110 to €130 and ewes lacking flesh are selling from €60 to €80.
Fleshed Scottish Blackface ewes range from €55 to €75.