Sheep flock to rise as prices increase
The national sheep flock is set to continue its upward trend this year as farmer demand for breeding ewes and rams soars.
Price increases of up to €100/hd were recorded at the first of the pedigree sheep sales at Tullow Mart at the weekend, where the average price for Charollais rams was €780/hd.
With 183 sheep on offer, there was an 86pc clearance rate for the males on offer, while all the females were sold, making an average price for ewes of €572/hd.
Top price on the day was €3,900 for a hogget ram owned by Eddie O'Gorman, from Ballyporeen, Co Tipperary. Mr O'Gorman also had the supreme champion ram lamb.
Judge Drew Cowan was so impressed with the ram lamb that he bought it for himself at a price of €3,100.
Commercial farmers played a major part in the sale, including one buyer who bought seven of the ewes on offer. This demand from outside the usual pedigree circle points to a growing demand for breeding stock in mainstream commercial flocks.
Bord Bia and CSO figures shows that ewe lamb retention rose by 14-15pc last year after several years when the national sheep flock was in freefall.
Average sheep prices to date this year are running 11pc or 50c/kg higher than last year.