Anyone selling prime hoggets this week should heed the advice of auctioneers and not be tempted to hold back anything that is clearly ready to sell in the hope of an improving price.


A New Year “wobble” – particularly for home-trade hoggets – caught a few out who had held on to sheep before Christmas expecting to hit a rising market after the holiday.


Although the price of top quality export hoggets looked to be getting back on track at many markets last week – and even the home-kill sheep seemed more settled on price – buyers are still operating with care. News that New Zealand lamb is now appearing on the shelves – even though there were suggestions before Christmas that supplies would be tight – means UK lamb consumers have a cheaper option.


Yes, supplies of prime hoggets will get tighter as we move through the late winter and into early spring – and auctioneers report stores are getting harder to find in big numbers – but the advice is the same as it always was “sell them when they are ready”.


With all the hype there’s been about a boom-time for the spring hogget trade it’s easy to think that the later they are sold the more money they will make. But while there’s continued confidence in a sustained export demand, it will be for hoggets that fit the spec.