Demand for lamb in the run up to Easter remained very strong last week, with shelves and fridges in most supermarkets and butcher shops quickly being cleared out.
The good news is that the mart trade for sheep has begun extremely strong with Raphoe, Athenry and Fermoy marts reporting no dampening of demand for spring lambs yesterday.
Quality lots of this season's lambs sold for more than €100 and, in some cases, up to €106 with the €1/kg, while most well-fleshed 45-50kg stock sold for €95-105 over.
Demand for cull ewes and ewes with lambs at foot has also remained very keen.
Trade was brisk at Raphoe Mart yesterday. A number of lots of spring lambs made more than €100 over the weight. The top price early in the day was €106, with €148 paid for a pen of 42kg lambs. Another lot weighing 50kg sold for €155, while a lot of 48kg lambs made €152.
Enniscorthy Mart had more than 2,000 sheep for sale this week, with a trade similar to the previous week. Factory and butcher hoggets sold for €125-142/hd, or €78-88 over their weight. Store hoggets made €65-82 over in a price range of €90-124 each.
Top prices of up to €150/hd were paid for ewe hoggets for breeding. Spring lambs sold for €84-96 over the weight, or €118-146/hd. Ewes with twin lambs at foot sold from €165 up to a top price of €265/hd, while ewes with single lambs sold for €140-210/unit. Heavy, well-fleshed cull ewes made €90-144/hd. Lighter lots for feeding sold for €40-85/hd.
Lambs made up to €101 over their weight at Athenry Mart yesterday, where the top price was €147 for a pen of 46kg lambs. Nice quality lots freely made €92-100 over the €/kg, while plainer lots weighing 42-48kg sold for €80-90 over.
The number of hoggets on offer was limited and they sold for €45-65 over the weight.
Fermoy had a similar trade to Athenry for the lambs, with a top price of €101 over the weight. The general run of prices for good lambs was €90-100 over the weight, while hoggets made €73-83 over the €/kg.