Mart managers are reporting a relatively solid trade over the last week for hoggets and spring lambs.
Prices have eased in some cases by €2 to €5 per head for certain categories of stock, with lighter spring lambs for example easing back in price, but prices for other classes have been underpinned by firm competition between buyers.
Quality is also having a major influence on price and this is particularly the case for hoggets, with a price differential of up to €10 or even greater between similar-weight hoggets of varying quality.
Spring lamb numbers are increasing slowly, but remain low overall
Fleshed hoggets weighing in excess of 50kg are selling in the main from €160 to €174.
There is an appetite for good-quality ewe hoggets and this has resulted in certain lots of excellent-quality types rising to the mid-€180s or even higher in isolated cases.
Lighter hoggets weighing 45kg to 47kg are trading anywhere from €130 for plain-quality types needing significant feeding to the low – to mid-€150 mark.
Spring lamb numbers are increasing slowly, but remain low overall.
Lighter feeding lambs weighing 37kg to 39kg range from €125 to €140
Prices for heavier factory-type lambs weighing 47kg to 50kg range from €155 to €165, with select lots of excellent-quality lambs attracting butcher attention selling to €170 and as high as €180 on occasion.
Lighter lambs weighing 40kg to 43kg are trading from €140 to €160, with the quality and kill-out potential of lambs directly influencing prices paid.
Lighter feeding lambs weighing 37kg to 39kg range from €125 to €140.
The cull ewe trade is mainly solid, although a few mart managers have reported prices easing slightly where export activity has been absent for large-framed ewes.
Ewes with lambs at foot are firm
Heavy ewes weighing in excess of 90kg continue to trade from €130 to €165 on average, with small numbers of excellent-quality ewes continuing to sell as high as €180 to €190.
Medium-weight lowland and crossbred ewes are selling from €105 to €130, with ewes with a poorer cover of flesh back to €90. Scottish Blackface ewes remain unchanged and are averaging in general from €1/kg to €1.30/kg.
Ewes with lambs at foot are firm. Twin lamb lots range from €160 to €200 for poorer-quality outfits and from €220 to €270 on average for better-quality lots. Single lamb lots range from €100 to €180.