There were 2,700 sheep on offer at Kenmare Co-operative Mart’s weekly sheep sale on Monday last and heavier store lambs were most in demand.
They made up the bulk of what was on offer and those over 35kg sold well.
Lowland lambs were making around €2.60/kg to €2.70/kg and crossbreds were about 20c to 30c/kg back from these, with a similar drop in price per kg for hill lambs.
Where trade got sticky was for the lighter lambs, especially hill lambs under 25kg.
On a per-kilo basis, light lowland lambs were similar to their heavier comrades, but small hill lambs were doing well to make €2/kg.
They were few in number but lowland ewes topped the trade for cull ewes.
Heavy ewes sold well and mountain ewes in good condition were making over €1/kg, but, similar to the lambs, prices for light hill ewes struggled to break into that price bracket and generally made between €5 and €7 under the €/kg.
Speaking after the sale, mart manager Dan McCarthy was content with how the heavier lamb were selling, but he had concerns over lighter hill lambs.
“The wet summer and the dry spring and lambs didn’t do as well this year as other years,” he said.
“Everyone is saying their lambs are back maybe 2kg on what they were the same time last year.
“Lucky enough, there’s plenty men to buy the good lamb, but the smaller Scotch lambs, I’ve been saying it for a good few years, we’re in trouble with them. It’s very hard to get them sold.”
Trade over the last while has been similar enough to this week’s sale he added and while numbers may be back overall, there have been large numbers of sheep traded through the ring every week.
“Things are tipping away good enough.
“Our numbers would be down a bit on last year, but I suppose the farmer is producing less and have less sheep, but we still have big numbers.
“We’re still selling between 2,500 and 3,500 sheep every week, so it’s a lot of sheep to shift.
Dan also said that buyers were likely to pay a little more for castrated rams and those with shorter tails.
“The ram lamb with the long tail is a tougher trade too. Buyers prefer the short tails and don’t they want them nice with a long tail because when they go into grass with it, if they get scoury or anything, the tail is a big disadvantage to them.”