Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 25 June 2017

Low supply levels prompt quote rises

Joe Healy

For the moment at least, the lamb trade looks to be as solid as the Leinster rugby defence against Saracens at the weekend. Yes, everyone is keeping an eye on the movement of the sterling but, despite this, lamb quotes have strengthened since last Tuesday.

Kildare, by virtue of its extra quality assurance top-up of 5c/kg on top of its 6c/kg bonus for the U grades, is leading the way on a base of 424c/kg.

Both Kepak plants are matching this base with their 425c/kg plus 5c/kg quotes. Dawn Ballyhaunis is offering 422c/kg plus the bonus, while a base of 420c/kg plus 6c/kg is being quoted by the two ICMs. Moyvalley's all-in quote of 420c/kg leaves them bottom.

Some of the factory men are anxious to point out to farmers to keep an eye on weights as quite a few overweight lambs are being offered for slaughter and are causing problems. It is in the farmers' interest to keep moving the lambs at the correct time as they are only losing money by putting on extra kilos.

The IFA's James Murphy said that factories have had to pay well above their quotes to get supplies, with 330-340c/kg widely available. He added that the live trade was getting active and prices of €45 over the weight were being paid.

I spoke to David Garavelli, of TLT, yesterday and he told me that they are active in the marts buying lambs of 42-50kg -- and paying €45-46 over for them. Any lambs weighing more than 45kg must be full ram lambs as anything else is too fat. They are also in the market for heavy ewes -- and paying €85-100/hd.

The Kepaks and Dawn Ballyhaunis are offering 420c/kg for the lighter lambs.

Quotes for the cull ewes show no change, with Kildare also setting the pace here at 260c/kg. Both ICM factories and Kepak Hacketstown are at 250c/kg. Kepak Athleague is on 240c/kg, Dawn is offering an unchanged 220c/kg, while Moyvalley is not quoting for cull ewes.

The latest figures from Bord Bia show that on a year-to-date basis, supplies remain 13pc lower than last year -- at just under 1.64m head.

The weakening of sterling continues to make British lamb more competitive as supplies tighten. Towards the weekend, the average new season SQQ live mart price in England and Wales stood at the equivalent of 403c/kg including VAT.

Their lamb sales continue to suffer from consumers switching away from more expensive proteins. Lamb sales fell by 5pc for the latest monthly period to £44.1m (close to €50m). This was despite a 10pc rise in average prices to £7.59/kg (€8.65/kg). Demand for most lamb cuts fell, with leg joints showing a drop of 16pc in sales.

In France, the combination of sterling and strikes made trade difficult for Irish lamb. Improved trade is expected as the Eid al-Adha festival approaches.

Irish Independent