This prompted New Ross auctioneer Jim Bushe to wonder if supplies of heavy lambs were starting to dry up in the Cork area.
It's a good question, one that will be answered over the next few weeks. Bord Bia Figures show that as of the week ending March 9, slaughterings at export plants for the year are back 11.6pc on the same period in 2018 - 368,167 as opposed to 416,607.
That's a difference of 48,440, or around seven days' kill.
Which means factories are holding their kill lines in check to some degree. I reported as much a month ago when I was told that factories were going to cut their cloth to suit their measure given how far away Easter and Ramadan were.
Those Bord Bia figures also show that the overall kill to March 9 of cast ewes stands 0.9pc above this time last year at 77,005 as opposed to 76,292.
As to Brexit and all those threats of tariffs, last week was the first time we actually saw some real progress, as we now know that Britain has no issue with throwing Ireland upon the political bargaining table and hoping that by threatening European car makers with punitive import duties, Europe would sacrifice Irish food production in a trade-off.
But BMW own Mini and Rolls Royce - if it choses to streamline its operation after Brexit their UK production plants might be closed.
Now that's leverage.
Strong demand, especially for heavier butcher-type lambs. The general run of butchers saw prices varying from €110-136/hd, with that top call going to a batch weighing 56kg. Other prices included a selection of weights from 52-57kg, all of which achieved €132/hd. Lighter lambs from 32-42kg sold from €76-88/hd. Cast ewes made from €70-123/hd.
2 New Ross
Jim Bushe reported a “good turnout, especially of heavier 56kg+ hoggets, with prices running from €123-125/kg in general”. Prices for hoggets from 51-53kg ran from €125-127/hd with that top call of €127 going to a batch at 52kg. Cast ewes went on very well, with prices ranging from €70-123/hd.
3 Maam Cross
Prices for lambs saw a max of €85/hd paid for a batch of 12 black-face ewe lambs, with an overall average of €64-85/hd. Hoggets averaged €69/hd to a max of €80/hd in the case of a batch of seven black-face wethers. Scanned in-lamb ewes sold from €92-120/hd. A nice turnout saw a texel cull setting the bar at €72/hd off a base of €56/hd.
Numbers were back on the previous week’s offering which resulted in the trade for ewes with lambs at foot meeting a very strong trades. Hoggets however, were largely unchanged. Sample prices saw four ewe hoggets at 55kg make €125/hd, with a further 19 ewes at 41.8kg making €100/hd. Seven wethers at 62kg sold for €122/hd, with five at 37kg making €85/hd. Stag ewes saw good demand for heavier/fleshy types, with prices ranging from €75-118/hd. On the breeding side, top call of €250 went to a first-crop ewe with twins at foot, with three second-crop ewes with twins at foot also in the money at €246/hd. Five third crop ewes with 10 lambs at foot sold for €200/hd.
Trade here saw improvement across almost the entire spectrumwith light and forward stores reported as being better by between €2-5/hd while among the hoggets heavier lots were better by €1-3/hd. Hoggets in the 55-60kg bracket ranged from €120-124/hd, with those from €45-55kg averaging €100-118/hd. Lighter lots sold from €62-110/hd. Cast ewes made €60-125/hd. Among the breeding sheep, ewes in lamb made up to €150/hd, while ewes with lambs at foot averaged €140-195/hd.
Numbers remained small here. Sample prices from the sheets saw store lambs making €70-104/hd with heavier types making up to €123/hd. Fat ewes sold saw their price range from a low of €85/hd to a top of €110/hd. On the breeding side, ewes in lamb sold from €135-170/hd.