The sheep trade is resuming after the Easter break on a solid footing.

Base quotes for hoggets are in the region of €8.50/kg to €8.60/kg or an opening quote of €8.70/kg for quality assured (QA) hoggets.

Regular sellers and those trading through groups are securing returns of €8.80/kg to €8.90/kg, while, at the top end of the market, prices are rising to and exceeding €9/kg.

Factories have been quiet in the spring lamb trade up to now, with only the two Irish Country Meats plants active in offering a base quote of €9/kg plus 20c/kg QA payment.

The pre-Easter trade was dominated by butcher and wholesale buyers, with prices significantly higher than equivalent factory returns.

As such, producers will be keen to see how the trade resumes this week and ascertain whether butchers and wholesalers continue to exhibit a keen appetite.

Firm ewe trade

Cull ewe quotes edged upwards last week by 10c/kg to 20c/kg, leaving the main export-orientated plants working off a quote of €3.70/kg to €3.80/kg for ewes.

Plants or abattoirs specialising in the ewe trade continue to pay upwards of €4/kg, with Ballon Meats offering such an opening quote for good-quality ewes.

Northern trade

The trade in Northern Ireland also remains unchanged, despite factories chancing their arm and reducing hogget quotes by 10p/kg last week.

Base quotes are in the region of £6.90/kg or the equivalent of €8.06/kg at an exchange rate of 85.6p to the euro.

A high percentage of hoggets continue to trade upwards of £7/kg (€8.18/kg), with prices at the top end of the market trending 10p/kg to 15p/kg higher.

*Another price update will be carried online on Tuesday after factories resume processing.