Good quality lamb performs well at Athenry
One of the few, if not the only, marts back in operation yesterday was Athenry. Good quality heavy lamb from 45-59kg was making €60-67 over the €1/kg, with lighter and plainer types selling for €45-58 over the weight. Well-fleshed ewes sold from €80-107 each.
The great thing about the 2011 sheep trade, according to Tullow Mart manager John Murphy, was that the lamb trade remained strong right into the month of June. Other years have seen good prices around Easter-time last for only two-to-three weeks.
He added that 2010 had been a good year, and with two consecutive positive years under their belts, sheep farmers had a renewed sense of energy.
Continuing excellent prices for cull ewes have removed a lot of older and troublesome ewes from the system. The hogget trade at Tullow hit a high in March, with prices of more than €70 paid.
New-season lambs began well and remained strong. With it being a great grass growing year and cattle prices so high, many farmers bought store lambs, with the 35-37kg lamb making from €80-87/hd.
Breeding ewe sales began perhaps too strongly, with ewe hoggets making up to €250. By September, prices, while still very good, had returned to more realistic levels. As a result of the strong lamb trade in 2010 and 2011, there was no oversupply of ewe hoggets for breeding and this helped to maintain prices.