| 1.8°C Dublin

Numbers to set trade say marts

Icy road conditions have delayed the restart of some sheep marts this week.

As the marts get ready to re-open after the New Year, mart managers are in agreement that numbers will be crucial to prices for the coming season.

A constant decline in sheep numbers in the west has led to severe shortages of stock.

Joe Wynne, manager of Headford mart, said with stock numbers falling by as much as 10pc each year, the effects are impacting on prices.

"Sheep numbers are scarce here and in other parts of the west," Mr Wynne said.

"As a result, prices will be good especially after the recent lift.

"Farmers who bought store lambs last year were making from €30-40/hd on them, so this year that trade will probably remain strong again."

Tullow mart manager John Murphy predicted that prices would be better than last year. However, he said he would be slightly worried that too steep a hike in prices might lead to consumer resistance.

"I think it will be all about numbers for the coming year and there will be a reasonably strong trade. The numbers are just not there and there will be a strong trade for spring lamb this season," he said.

Irish Independent