Price drop inevitably hampers the trade
The mart trade for sheep and especially lambs came under pressure throughout the past week as the drop in factory quotes and prices had the inevitable knock-on effect.
Lambs generally sold for €60-70 over the €/kg. While cull ewes prices also slipped, well-fleshed types continued to make up to €130/hd. Demand for ewe hoggets and breeding ewes with lambs at foot remained strong, with top prices of €194 and €300 respectively.
At Athenry yesterday, nice-quality, fleshy lambs of 45-51kg sold for €64-74 over the €/kg, while those weighing 37-44kg made €50-60 over. It was a similar story in Fermoy, but the exception was a top-quality pen of 48kg lambs that were bought by a local butcher for €129, or €81 over the weight.
Mountbellew Mart had a smaller number of sheep on offer compared to the previous week and spring lambs met an easier trade but ewe hoggets, cull ewes and ewes with lambs at foot remained steady. Best price for the lambs was €125 for 53kg (€72 over). Lambs weighing upwards of 45kg made €60-70 over the weight, while lambs below this weight sold for up to €60 over. Suffolk cross ewe hoggets weighing 54kg made €194, while 43kg crossbreds made €140. Prices ranged from €87-128 for the cull ewes.
Prices at Baltinglass Mart were down by €3-€5/hd, where 38-42kg lambs sold for €97-105 each and 45-50kg lots made €105-118. Stores made up to €85/hd. Cull ewes ranged from €75-€110. Three- and four-year-old ewes with twins at foot sold for €200-245/unit, while ewes with single lambs made €130-180.
Kilkenny Mart had a sharper sale compared to the previous week and trade was good for meal-fed lambs with good flesh. Butcher types over 50kg made €2-2.10/kg, while the factory lambs sold for €1.95-2.12/kg. Stores ran from €1.70-2.03/kg. Heavy cull ewes sold to a top price of €115/hd, while thinner lots made upwards of €30/hd. Keen farmer interest saw ewe hoggets make €125-178/hd and two- to four-year-old ewes sold for €115-152 each. A few breeding rams made €150-350 each.
At Maam Cross, sheep prices held firm with good demand.
Buyers for the upcoming store trade are urging farmers to have their lambs started on meal, vaccinated and castrated as this greatly reduces stress.