525c/kg base but bargain for 545c
Despite our Tanaiste not being willing to "give an inch" over the Irish embassy in the Vatican, there must still be someone in a high place praying for Irish sheep farmers. Quotes are solid, prices are high and the weather throughout the winter has been extremely mild.
Any slight change to the quotes is positive, with Kepak Athleague being the only plant to differ on its base figure when compared to this day last week. The 5c/kg increase brings the plant up to a base of 525c/kg plus the bonus and leaves it on a par with Kildare Chilling for the quality assured lambs.
The Lilywhite plant remains on 520c/kg plus 6c/kg plus 5c/kg. Moyvalley, however, still retains top spot with its all-in 535c/kg quote. Elsewhere, the two ICMs, Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kepak Hacketstown show no change to the 520c/kg base quote plus the bonus. Despite the quotes remaining strong, it is still imperative that you bargain before you agree to sell as processors are willing to pay well above those quotes.
The IFA's James Murphy said that farmers were securing 535-545c/kg for their lambs. The difference between securing the 545c/kg and selling at the quote plus the bonus of 525c/kg is worth €4.70/lamb on a 23.5kg carcass.
Kildare continues to lead the way on cull ewe quotes with its 320c/kg. Dawn and both ICM plants remain on 300c/kg while Kepak Athleague has risen by 10c/kg to join Hacketstown on 290c/kg. It is still worth figuring out whether the mart is a better bet for your ewes, especially if they are not fully finished. Both the store and fat ewe trades remain extremely strong at the marts.
The sheep trade eased slightly last week, according to An Bord Bia, as stronger sheep supplies affected trade. Market developments on the main export markets were largely unchanged.
Quotes for lambs by the end of the week were making up to €5.25/kg as some slight increase in supplies more than matched demand levels. Similarly, the cull ewe trade eased with quotes now generally making €2.90/kg, which still reflects strong demand for mutton.
In Britain, trade remained steady as supplies continued to be tight. To date this year, supplies are still back 7pc on the same period last year. By the weekend, livemarket prices across Britain were the equivalent of €5.49/kg for lambs.