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Steady as she goes for lamb and hogget price

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Eddie O'Connell, Kilcommon and Garret Kennedy, Rearcross, Co Tipperary, are pictured watching the trade at Nenagh Mart. Photo: Martin Ryan.

Eddie O'Connell, Kilcommon and Garret Kennedy, Rearcross, Co Tipperary, are pictured watching the trade at Nenagh Mart. Photo: Martin Ryan.

Eddie O'Connell, Kilcommon and Garret Kennedy, Rearcross, Co Tipperary, are pictured watching the trade at Nenagh Mart. Photo: Martin Ryan.

If no news is good news then all is well as far as the sheep trade is concerned. In the main there is little or no change to the trade for new season lambs and hoggets.

The only blight on the sheet is that Kildare Chilling were not quoting for the lambs when contacted yesterday morning and the ICM plants were back on the ewe quote by 10c/kg when compared to last week. So this all means that all the plants are offering a base of 560c/kg for the hoggets with Moyvalley not quoting. Farmers with numbers have been negotiating prices of between 600-610c/kg.

Apart from Moyvalley who remain on an all-in 630c/kg for the spring lamb, the rest continue to quote a base of 620c/kg with the ICM plants offering a 10c/kg quality assurance bonus.

This compares to a 6c/kg U grade bonus from the others. Factories are expecting that supplies will increase significantly this week with recent weather conditions very conducive to lamb thrive.

Commenting on the trade overall, the IFA sheep chairman John Lynskey said that farmers were securing prices of €6/kg and higher for hoggets this week and tops of between 640-660c/kg for spring lambs. He urged farmers to bargain hard on price and carcase weight in order to maximise the value of their stock. An extra half kilo can be worth up to €3 on the hogget and €3.25 on the lambs.

Kildare continue to lead the way on the cull ewes with their quote of 270c/kg. Dawn Ballyhaunis continue to quote 260c/kg while both ICMs have fallen back to join Kepak Athleague on a quote of 250c/kg. Actual prices of 280-300c/kg have been reported. I have heard of some very under fleshed ewes being brought in for killing. Every side loses when this happens so try to ensure that they are suitable for slaughter before you decide to off-load them.

Bord Bia reported a firm trade despite plentiful supplies being available. Trade in our key exports markets is being helped by a combination of tight supplies and steady demand.

Base quotes for hoggets were making around €5.60-5.70/kg. New season spring lamb was generally making around €6.20/kg. Prices paid for cull ewes continued to make between €2.50-2.60/kg. Cumulative supplies are back around 19pc on 2013 levels to around 565,000 head.

In Britain, trade has edged upwards in response to tight supplies and solid demand from the French market.

Marts

The mart trade was reasonably firm over the past week for sheep, and this trend was continued at yesterday's sales. Spring lambs were in good demand at Athenry Mart with the nicely fleshed lambs making from €74-98 with the €/kg.

Fit hoggets generally sold for €60-74 with their weight. Down in Fermoy lightning damage delayed the sale, but the trade for the good lambs was also charged, with a number of lots making between €100-105 over the €/kg. Top price over the weight was paid for 47kg lambs which sold for €152. The majority made from €75-90 over the weight. Hoggets were selling for €90-138.

Mountbellew had a large number of cull ewes and they made up to €105 for the better lots. Lighter lots made from €70 upward. Ewe hoggets made up to €89 over the weight, with a tops of €144 paid for 55kg.

An increased number of ewes with lambs at foot were on offer with strong demand for most lots. Four young ewes with seven lambs sold for €224. Five first crops with twin lambs made €215. Five second crops with 10 lambs sold for €221. Older ewes with lambs at foot made from €150 upward.

Heavy hoggets in Baltinglass made from €120-132/hd. The 40-45kg hoggets were making from €95-112, with ewe hoggets peaking at €120.

The sheep trade was very strong at Dowra Mart on Saturday last. Ewes with lambs at foot were very much in demand. Young ewes with pairs made from €170-230 each while older ewes with pairs were making from €130-170. Young ewes with singles sold for €120-185. Older types with singles made from €70-110.

Carnew had a big entry of 1,600 sheep on offer and reported an improvement in the hogget trade by €3/hd. Butcher and factory types were selling for €118-139/hd. Stores made from €80-115. Spring lambs ranged in price from €116-135. Cull ewes met with steady demand and prices were similar to the previous week at €45-118.

Sheep numbers in Ennis were back on the previous week but trade was strong. Spring lambs made up to €144 and ewes with lambs at foot topped out at €265.

Blackface ewes with a lamb or lambs at foot in Maam Cross sold for €48-107. Hoggets made up to €105. Cross bred lambs mainly sold for €30-68 with a top price of €86.

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