Ringside: Trade is steady despite March's 'skinning' days
There's a story in Irish folklore about an old, brown-striped cow that boasted that the harsh weather of March could not kill her. March took exception to this claim and, borrowing three days from April, renewed the assault with added fury. Savage rain, hail, snow gales and cold poured down on the boastful cow.
She duly succumbed and died and ever since the first three days of April have become known as 'Laethanta na Riabhaiche' in the west: the borrowed or skinning days.
Having survived the snow and frosts of March, the first few days of April this year will have further tested the endurance of many young lambs and ewes about to lamb.
Baltinglass Mart manager Joe Kinsella told me that while Hurricane Emma had presented very serious problems to sheep men, the lighter fall of snow that appeared 10 days later probably did more harm.
"It came just at the wrong time," Joe said. "It probably did more harm to young lambs and ewes about to lamb than Storm Emma."
On the prices front, the sheep trade is actually in a good place despite some of the major players deciding to pull their prices for hogget over the weekend by 10c/kg. Kepak Athleague drop back to €5.80+5c/kg bonus payment. Kildare Chilling, despite dropping back to €5.90/kg plus bonuses, are still tussling with Moyvalley who are on €6.00/kg for hogget.
The two ICMs and Dawn Ballyhaunis remain on last week's opening quote of €5.80 plus various bonuses.
On the cull ewe side, the only movement saw Dawn Ballyhaunis ease back its ewe quote to a straight €3.00/kg from last week's €3.10/kg.