Breeding sheep boom over as falls of €50-100/hd predicted
Prices for breeding sheep could fall by as much as €50-100/hd this year compared to last, mart managers have predicted.
As the pedigree breeding sheep sales get under way in earnest in the next fortnight, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that last year's record prices will be matched.
Rising concentrate prices, a difficult summer and recent factory price cuts have concentrated the minds of farmer buyers, and prices for hogget ewes, store lambs and some early rams have all fallen compared to the same period in 2011.
Ballinasloe Mart manager Martin Costello said prices for hogget ewes had fallen €50/hd compared to last year, with top prices down from €200/hd in 2011 to €155/hd this year.
"It's weather-induced," he maintained. "Grass supply is scarce and the money supply is as scarce as the grass.
"Farmers have seen the factories cut prices significantly in recent weeks and they don't want to work for nothing."
Store lamb prices at the mart are running €6/hd behind last year at around €85 for the best on offer.
Tullow Mart manager John Murphy said hogget ewe prices were down €20-25/hd on last year, with top prices of around €175-182/hd this year.