The sheep trade continues to gain upward momentum, despite buying for recent religious festivals ceasing.

Reports indicate that supplies are considerably tighter and with factories anxious for stock, prices have increased again.

Kildare Chilling continues to set the pace in terms of upwards movement in quotes. The plant is not processing on Tuesday, but its base quotes for Wednesday have increased by 10c/kg to 20c/kg.

Hoggets are quoted at a base of €9.10/kg plus the plant's 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) bonus, while spring lamb is now quoted at €9.40/kg plus 10c/kg QA to a 0.5kg higher carcase weight limit of 20.5kg.

Other plants are reported as also increasing quotes by 10c/kg to 20c/kg, but opening prices are still lagging behind Kildare Chilling’s quote.


Hoggets are trading from €9.20/kg to €9.40/kg, with some reports starting to emerge of €9.50/kg being paid for very large batches traded by specialist finishers or regular sellers with excellent bargaining power.

It is a similar situation on the lamb front, with a high percentage trading from €9.50/kg to €9.60/kg, but up to €9.80/kg and higher has been paid when producer or conformation bonuses have been taken into account.

Mart trade

The tightness in supplies is evident in mart throughput, with mart reports from Monday all pointing to smaller entries of sheep.

Good-quality hoggets weighing from 50kg upwards are selling in the main from €200 to €220 for lowland types, with select lots exceeding this range and rising to €230/head.

Throughput is being helped by higher than normal entries of ewe hoggets.

Spring lamb numbers appearing in sales are also running behind the norm for the time of year. Kilkenny Mart auctioneer George Candler reports lambs weighing from 42kg to 45kg selling average from €185 to €195, with top prices hitting €200.

Heavier lambs presented for sale in Ennis Mart in Co Clare pushed top prices for lambs weighing 47kg to 51kg to €215 to €224, with a top price of €229 paid for seven excellent-quality lambs weighing 43.5kg.

The mart reported that butcher buyers were much more active this week for lambs.

Cull ewe trade

The cull ewe trade is also edging upwards, with factory quotes rising in cases by another 10c/kg.

Good-quality ewes weighing over 35kg are now quoted an opening price of €4/kg, with prices ranging from €4.20/kg to €4.40/kg in plants or abattoirs specialising in the ewe trade.