As discussed many times before, producers who visit Tullamore Farm or discuss its performance regularly ask about possible variation between the Mule ewes.

Some questions that arise relate to the size of ewes, both in terms of liveweight and carcase weight, and the possible effect of this on the performance of progeny.

The latter is an area we hope to be able to provide more detail on towards the end of this year.

Variation in liveweight

The variation in liveweight among ewes is something that our purchasing decisions feed in to directly.

We have been keen in recent years to continue to purchase ewes from different regions to reflect the different profile of Mule ewes from those areas, while we have also been keen to purchase ewes of different type – be that ewes with a lot of Lanark breeding in their background to whiter and browner-headed ewes.

Latest kill sheet

The latest kill sheet from 20 cull ewes slaughtered on Thursday shows the possible variation in the breed and also demonstrates that there is plenty of scope for producers to purchase ewes of varying size and type to suit their system.

The average carcase weight of 18 Mule ewes in the batch was 35.29kg, with a wide range from 25.8kg to 46.1kg.

There was one other ewe at less than 30kg carcase weight that weighed 27.3kg, while there was five ewes with a carcase weight in excess of 40kg.

Average prices

The average price received for the ewes traded through the Offaly Quality Lamb Producer Group was €123.03 per head at a price of €3.50/kg.

Two ewes exceeded the maximum carcase weight limit of 45kg and grossed a maximum price of €157.50.

All ewes in the batch graded R, with the fat score ranging from 3 to 5.

The other two ewes in the batch were two 2020-born Texel-cross hoggets that contracted mastitis and were lucky to survive.

These two ewes averaged 21.85kg carcase weight, were paid at €3/kg due to a fat score of 2 and grossed €65.82.