There has been some variation in sale reports from mart managers over the last week. Some marts which experienced a significant price fall in the previous week reported prices recovering to the tune of €1 to €3 per head, while, likewise, some marts recorded the trade easing, with top prices back possibly €2 to €3 per head. The main run of sale reports pointed to a largely steady trade.

The upper price range for heavier and better-quality hoggets weighing upwards of 50kg ranged on average from €138 to €144, with prices above this level rare.

Flesh cover continues to have a massive influence on the final price, with a differential of up to €8 to €10 per head for hoggets of similar weight.

Fleshed hoggets weighing 47kg to 49kg ranged from €130 to €137, with lighter lots weighing 40kg to 42kg typically ranging from €110 to €118.

Light Cheviot and Scottish Blackface ram or wether lambs weighing 30kg to 35kg are selling from €2.10/kg to €2.30/kg on average, with better-quality crossbred and light lowland lambs rising to €2.50/kg.

Heavier lambs weighing 35kg to 38kg are meeting stronger demand, while there is a continued appetite for top-quality ewe lambs, with top prices within this weight bracket ranging from €2.80/kg to €3.00/kg.

Regional difference

There is a regional difference in the trade for heavy cull ewes.

Along the west coast and midlands, heavy ewes weighing from 90kg to upwards of 100kg are generally trading from €115 to €130, while in the east top prices are rising to €140 and even higher on rare occasion for excellent-quality types. Scotch ewes remain at a price range of €45 to €55 for medium-sized ewes with an average cover of flesh, with larger-framed ewes selling to €65 to €70.

The pick of in-lamb sales this week was a clearance sale of top-quality Cheviot ewes lambing from March to Suffolk rams. The ewes were presented in lots of 10, with the exception of one lot, and were carrying 1.6 to 1.7 lambs. Bidding was brisk, with prices ranging from a top of €340 down to €190 for four full-mouth ewes. Prices ranged in general from €240 to €300, with an average price of €276.