A strong entry of cull ewes and a vibrant trade dominated Tuesday’s sale in Blessington Mart.

The standout prices of €200 to €250 were paid for heavy ewes weighing from 90kg to upwards of 100kg, but the trade for lighter ewes was equally impressive.

Heavy lowland ewes and Cheviot ewes with a good cover of flesh sold in the main from €2.15/kg to €2.30/kg, with a few pens of excellent-quality lots generating extra competition and driving prices to upwards of €2.40/kg.

Lighter well-fleshed Cheviot ewes and crossbred ewes sold from €2/kg to €2.15/kg, while lots with an average cover of flesh sold from €1.60/kg to €1.80/kg.

Ram trade

There was very few plainer-quality ewes sold below a price point of €1.50/kg.

The trade for rams was also firmer, with prices averaging from €1.50/kg to €1.80/kg.

A number of factors have underpinned strong entries of cull ewes in recent weeks.

Blessington Mart manager John Doyle comments that the vibrant mart trade where prices are running ahead of equivalent deadweight returns is encouraging more farmers to take advantage of the keen appetite and favorable prices.

The high prices are also encouraging farmers to draft any problem ewes quickly and this is evident in sales of individual ewes, while the challenging spring is also witnessing cull ewes moving faster and is a good aid in generating cashflow.

Hoggets and lambs

Hogget numbers continue on their seasonal decline, with small entries of spring lambs not compensating for falling numbers.

Fleshed hoggets weighing in excess of 50kg sold from €200 to €220, depending on condition, with heavier lots rising to €230/head.

Store hoggets weighing from 44kg to 46kg sold from €155 to €180 depending on quality and flesh cover, with agents keen for any slaughter-fit hoggets irrespective of weight.

Good-quality spring lambs weighing upwards of 45kg sold from €200 to €220, with heavier lambs selling up to €230/head.

Plainer-quality lambs sold back to €190/head, with lighter lots ranging from €130 to €170 with the weight.

There was more demand for ewes with lambs at foot. Prices for single lamb lots ranged in the main from €150 to €200 for aged and crossbred ewes, rising to €250 for younger ewes with a lamb at foot and topping as high as €300/head for young ewes and quality lambs.

In pictures

This batch of four mixed-quality cull ewes weighing 58.5kg sold for €98 each (€1.68/kg).

This batch of Texel-cross and Charollais-cross well-fleshed cull ewes weighing 95.1kg sold for €218 each (€2.29/kg).

This batch of 10 quality Texel-cross and Charollais-cross cull ewes weighing 89.5kg sold for €198 each (€2.21/kg).

This mixed-breed batch of 10 heavily fleshed cull ewes weighing 103.2kg topped the sale at €248 each (€2.40/kg).

This batch of five lighter and fleshed Cheviot cull ewes weighing 68.4kg sold for €144 each (€2.11/kg).

This group of three Suffolk-cross weighing 80kg sold for €174 (€2.18/kg).

Weighing an average of 55.7kg these three Cheviot ewe hoggets sold for €220 each (€3.95/kg).

These three large-framed Lleyn cull ewes weighing 94.7kg sold for €214 each (€2.26/kg).

This fleshed Lleyn ram weighing 113kg sold for €184 (€1.62/kg).

This batch of five Cheviot cull ewes weighing 88.8kg sold for €204 each (€2.30/kg).

This top-quality Charollais-cross ram weighing 104kg sold for €192 (€1.85/kg).

This Cheviot ewe weighing 63kg sold for €132 (€2.10/kg).

This individual Cheviot cull ewe weighing 80kg sold for €158 (€1.98/kg).

This Cheviot cull ewe with an average cover of flesh and weighing 82kg sold for €152 (€1.85/kg).

This Cheviot-cross ewe hogget weighing 51kg sold for €202 (€3.96/kg).

This Cheviot-cross ewe hogget weighing 51kg sold for €202 (€3.96/kg).

Weighing an average of 52kg these two crossbred ewes sold for €96 each (€1.84/kg).

These mixed-breed cull ewes weighing 93.7kg sold for €208 (€2.22/kg).

This single Suffolk ewe hogget weighing 58kg sold for €192 (€3.31/kg).