Our main party in Government may have had their plans for a celebratory party scuppered last week, but the party seems to just roll on for sheep farmers, with the current strong hogget trade added to by Moyvalley looking for and offering €7/kg for suitable spring lambs.
They are also looking for light hoggets that will kill out at 14-18kg for the Swedish market. They are quoting 530c/kg for those types and killing them tomorrow.
Staying with Moyvalley, a 5c/kg increase to their hogget quote sees them do a Rory McIlroy on it and hold onto the number one spot with their all-in quote of 540c/kg for the ordinary hoggets.
Kepak Athleague is more or less sharing this space with them,as the 10c/kg jump from last week's quote brings them up to a base of 535c/kg plus the bonus.
Hacketstown are unchanged on 520c/kg plus 5c/kg. Both ICM plants have risen by 5c/kg to join Dawn Ballyhaunis on a base of 515c/kg plus 6c/kg, while, unusually enough, Kildare Chilling are tailing the field with their 510c/kg plus the two bonuses of 6c/kg and 5c/kg.
All in all, a very positive week for sheep producers.
Needless to say, the prices are being helped greatly by the scarce supplies and this is also helping to get over the fact that there is a very mixed quality of hoggets being offered.
Almost all factories are complaining about the amount of overweight stock being offered for slaughter.
Commenting on the trade, IFA's James Murphy said that feeders were expecting a price rise at the moment given that numbers remained tight and the price in Northern Ireland had moved up to 5.55-5.65/kg.
He added that €7/kg is the benchmark for the new season lambs.
Kildare and Kepak Hacketstown remain on a quote of €3/kg for the cull ewes. The two ICMs and Dawn Ballyhaunis are offering 290c/kg, with 280c/kg being quoted by Kepak Athleague. Prices generally vary from €3-3.20/kg.
The latest figures from Bord Bia show that the trade in Britain has remained strong as tighter availability helped to keep a solid base to the trade. By the weekend, old season lambs at the livemarket prices across Britain were making the equivalent of €5.50/kg.
In France, there was little change in trade, with Irish grade 1 lamb reportedly making €5.57-5.67/kg inclusive of VAT by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, the livestock survey from last December showed an increase of more than 4pc in the sheep breeding flock at 2.52m head.
Supplies at export meat plants to date are running 5pc higher at 276,400hd as increased numbers were carried forward into this year.
Irish sheep prices are more than 7pc higher than they were 12 months ago at €4.90 excluding VAT.