Prices continue to creep in as supplies run low

Last week I reported that factories were urging farmers not to stick with lamb when they were being offered €8/kg and there was no major event on the horizon to raise prices.

A sheep farmer called me Tuesday morning and wanted to know why I’m not campaigning for higher prices as supplies are running low.

My motto has always been, if your sheep are fit, do your research, get the best price you can, and try not to give the factories free meat.

My caller is right about the numbers, however, as Hogget supplies are running out fast.

However, there still has to be a stock worth killing as Dawn cites Ballyhaunis Hogget at €7.10 +10c/kg quality assurance after leaving her Hogget price box empty last week.

Either that or at €7.10/kg their markets can handle it more easily than lamb at €7.90/kg.

Kildare Chilling raised their offer for Hogget by 10 cents/kg to €7.20 + 10 cents/kg quality assurance, while the ICM mills decided not to bid. They may want to see if the numbers in their areas are as low as reported.

The feeling on the ground is that numbers are tight on all fronts.

Department figures for the week ended May 8 show the total number of sheep killed up to that date increased 17 percent to 946,340 compared to the same period for 2021. This week’s kill is 47,423, up 2,488 from the same week 12 months ago.

With kill numbers still high, a definite element of additional competition is creeping into the trade as factories struggle to supply the market despite claiming that supply and market demand are in balance.

Why else would the ICM-Werke increase their offer on feathers by 5ct/kg to €7.95 + 10ct/kg and Kildare add 10ct/kg to €8.10 + 10ct/kg along with their increased offer for hogget?

However, club sheep prices remain stable with both Dawn and Kildare remaining at €3.70/kg and the two ICM mills at €3.80/kg.

IFA Sheep Chair Kevin Comiskey said the reduction in stocks of hoggets has underpinned the spring lamb trade as mills are actively scrambling for supplies.

He said that good quality hoggets fetch €7.50/kg and as the numbers go down the demand for spring lamb is increasing at all factories.

Mr Comiskey said the number of spring lambs available is extremely tight, down almost 10,000 from last year’s level, pushing factories to offer bids for weights up to 20.5kg with prices at €8.40/kg.

He insisted spring lamb prices need to keep rising to reflect input costs to sheep farms and factories need to be more flexible on weight.

He added that demand for mace sheep is also very strong, with factories paying prices of €4.00/kg and up. He urged farmers to hard sell while moving hoggets and lambs as they get fit.

Around the markets


A smaller sell-off than last, with average spring lamb prices up €5/h.

Samples included 44.8 kg at €174/hr, 42 kg at €163/hr, 50 kg at €172/hr and 48 kg at 173 €/h

James Cooney noted that the Hogget numbers quickly dried up. A 50kg Charolais was selling for up to €170/hour while a 60kg Mountain Cross Suffolk was selling for €165/hour.

In the culled ewes, the top call saw at 101 kg earns €213/h while the general run brings in €165-175/h.


Heavy hoggets and spring lambs both improved by €5-7/hour: feathers brought €110-122/hour over €/kg or €155-169/hour.

Heavy Hoggets sell for $100-116/hour to $150-167/hour.

Heavy culling sheep fetched €170-210/hour, lighter lots €100-166/hour.

Ewes with lambs on foot made €160-250/unit.


Lambs frolic near Eastersnow, Co Roscommon. Photo: Gerry Faughnan


A larger sale, with an increased number of stags and ewes with lambs on foot.

Stags stayed firm at €150-200/hd while second crop ewes were at €402 for a Texel cross with twins on foot.

Ewes from the third harvest with twins at foot were sold for €320/head. sold, while single-headed one-year-old ewes average €185/head.

On the spring lamb side, four at 47.2 kg made €176/h, ten at 48 kg made €175/h on average, while thirteen at 42 kg made €160/h.

Among the Hoggets, five 63 kg ewes earned €186/h, four 55 kg ewes averaged €174/h and five 52 kg ewes earned €175/h.

balting glass

Larger numbers of spring lambs and ewes with lambs on foot met a steady trade.

Two batches of eleven lambs and hoggets of 51-55kg cost an average of €168/hd.

The price range between lambs and hoggets was considerable at times, with various batches of 55kg selling from €158/hour back to €125/hour.

Among the lighter lambs, ten at 38 kg fetched €112/h while two at 37 kg slipped to €88/h.

Ewes with lambs on foot are sold for €145-260 each.


350 sheep were offered at yesterday’s auction with George Candler reporting a firm deal in lamb while numbers of hoggets continue to dwindle.

On the butcher side, prices ranged from €165 to €184/h or €3.25 to €3.77/kg, with factory outlet lamb ranging from €3.75 to €3.90/kg, giving a total price range of €145 to €166 €/h results.

Trade in culled ewes peaked at €274/hd.


A turnout of over 600 sheep saws remained largely stable yesterday.

Although the sale wasn’t over when we went to press, a asking price of €184 for 57kg of feathers showed a strong appetite.

Other prices available were 40kg springs at €152-153/h, 45-47kg at €165-170/h.

The Hogget numbers were back: some batches of 50-56kg were selling for €168-174/hour, with 44kg fetching €144/hour.

Top call on the cast ewe side saw 178 kg make 218 €/h, with 160 kg 190 €/h. Prices continue to creep in as supplies run low

Fry Electronics Team

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