Ram buyers wary of peak market prices
SHEEP farmers are reluctant to pay over the odds for rams, despite the buoyant trade for breeding ewes.
Prices for pedigree breeding rams are running €100/hd lower than last year in some areas.
Although the positive market for lambs is boosting the trade for breeding ewes at the mart shows and sales, breeders are showing more caution with expenditure on rams, with fewer prepared to buy at the top end of the trade this year.
As the breeding sales get into full swing, the average being paid for pedigree Charollais rams is reckoned to be down by around €100/hd on last year in the Leinster area, while the trade for Suffolks in Munster is holding closer to the price range from 12 months ago.
Belclare rams sold for €300-870/hd, with an average of €480/hd at the show and sale in Kilkenny mart last week.
Shearling rams sold for between €300/hd and €500/hd, averaging €440 on the day.
Mart managers are reporting an overall strong trade for breeding ewes, with producers showing more confidence this year because of an improved lamb market. Lambs are currently returning around €1/kg more than the same time last year.
Tullow Mart manager John Murphy said the trade was generally good for both the pedigree and commercial breeding stock.