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Diary: More per lamb this year than those 10kgs+ heavier last year

In this week’s Farmer’s Diary, Clodagh Hughes discusses selling ewe lambs at Kingscourt Mart, comparing 2021 sheep prices with last year and tupping season.

I have said it many times; how each farming week, each farming day, can be different.

Also, I have acknowledged that I am guilty of investing a little too much of myself emotionally at times.

This can lead to higher levels of disappointment and frustration at my own actions or mistakes I have made throughout the farming year and, indeed, in life itself.

None more so than this year, as you have all been kind enough to listen to me rant and rave each week… it is a form of therapy for me!

To sheep farming news; After picking myself up and giving myself a good old dusting off after the last few crappy weeks, this week started on a positive note after a trip to mart with some ewe lambs.

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I knew they were light in weight, but they had good conformation and fat cover, which is what the buyer looks for.

2021 sheep prices

Moreover, I was delighted with the prices I got on the night, and just to put this in perspective: I am getting more money per lamb this year than I did for lambs that were 10kgs plus heavier this time last year!

Now, I need to clarify one thing; this does not mean that prices are brilliant this year, more so that prices were dire last year and frankly an insult to any sheep farmer.

Throughout 2021, the value of sheep has held pretty well. I hope it continues as I still have a good bunch of spring-born lambs to sell, and we need money to feed our animals, pay the bills and improve our working and personal lives.

There is a misconception among some folk that all farmers are loaded.

This is simply not true. For example, when the hammer went down on my lambs at the mart on Monday night, I already had that money spent on the upcoming winter feed, a bill I owe at my vets, and that is not leaving me with much to go mad with!

Still, it is great to get that cheque in the post as you feel some validation for all the hard graft and worrying.

Mart trips

I want to give a shout out to all the crew at Kingscourt Mart, Co. Cavan, Lauren, Martin, Patrick and Nigel, the auctioneer (who always looks after me), to name but a few.

I was very nervous when I went to my first mart a few years ago, but the guys are so helpful, and the craic is good.

It is also the best place to meet and chat with more experienced sheep farmers. Also, I have gained invaluable advice and support from them.

Absolutely no issue with being female. There are always a few women about buying and selling as well. I think they are delighted to have us ringside!

Finally, for this week, folks, I introduced my ram to my breeding ewes. To say he hit the ground running would be an understatement!

It is only day three, and already he has serviced a number of them…keep ‘er lit, Mr Woody.

Further reading:

Read more of Clodagh’s diary entries.

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