Three of the seven sheep plants remain on last week's base quote of 480c/kg plus 6c/kg bonus. These factories were the two ICM plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis.
Kepak Hacketstown's quote of 480c/kg plus 6c/kg was for yesterday only, while the 480c/kg from Moyvalley is an all-inclusive figure and represents a 5c/kg drop when compared to last Tuesday.
A similar reduction from Kildare Chilling leaves it offering 475c/kg plus the 5c/kg QA bonus on top of the U grade 5c/kg bonus. Kepak Athleague remains on 474c/kg plus 6c/kg.
IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said factories were paying up to €5/kg to 21kg to good sellers.
He added that with production costs rising by the week, it was imperative that factories gave producers every encouragement possible to finish their lambs rather than sell them as stores.
A few farmers were apprehensive about feeding lambs in case the factories drop the price.
This was probably in response to my advice last week to feed some extra meal to raise the fat score from two to three, as plants were complaining about the increase in the number of lambs killing out at the lower fat score.
Supplies of finished lambs are tight both here and in the UK and as a result, word from France yesterday morning was that prices in Rungis had lifted by 20c/kg which reflects a price range including VAT of 547-568c/kg.
Meanwhile, the sheep trade showed little change again last week, according to An Bord Bia. As sheep supplies remain strong, trade continued to be helped by strong domestic consumption, combined with favourable exchange rate movement. Quotes for lambs by the end of the weekend were still up to €4.90/kg. Demand for cull ewes remained strong, with quotes up to €2.30/kg.
With the main breeding season fast approaching, demand for strong ewe lambs, hoggets and aged ewes is increasing. The past week saw hoggets sell up to €173.
Most of the aged breeding ewes made between €90-140. Fat cull ewes were making from €90-115. Most factories are trying to buy cull ewes at 230c/kg to 40kg which has resulted in very few farmers getting over €90 for their ewes at the meat plants.
However, export-market buyers at the marts are able to pay well in excess of this for the heavy ewes. Finished lambs were selling for €50-60 over the weight.
Most of the breeding rams were being bought at prices of €300-600.
A big sale of 600 sheep took place in Fermoy yesterday. The good butcher and factory lambs were making from €50-62 with their weight with a top price of €114 paid for a pen weighing 52kg. At Athenry Mart, the heavier types sold for €50-59 over the €/kg.
Dowra Mart had 2,700 sheep on offer last Saturday. Store lambs met an improved trade with more farmer customers in attendance.
Trade in Enniscorthy was steady. Butcher lambs were selling in a price range of €102-110 or €52-60 with their weight. Factory lots sold for €92-100 or €50-56 over. Ewe lamb prices ran from €100-118. A full yard of sheep at Maam Cross saw prices continuing to run a tad behind last year's levels.
The main feature at Mountbellew mart was the large number of cull ewe's on offer. The heaviest of them sold up to €119. Store lots made €60-80. Trade for the lambs was steady. Baltinglass reported bigger numbers and a firm trade. The 45-50kg lambs were selling for €90-103, while the lighter lots made from €70-90.
Factory and butcher lambs were making from €50-60 over the €/kg at Ballymote mart. Stores made from €30-52.50 over. Cull ewes sold for €50-75/hd. A bigger entry of 3,100 sheep at Carnew Mart met with an improved trade as lamb prices were up by €2-3/hd. Butcher and factory types sold for €95-110. Store prices ranged from €62-91.
Mayo/Sligo Mart had 1,800 sheep for sale. Factory and butcher lambs sold for €1.90-2.10/kg.
Stores made from €30-73.