New year gloom as lamb prices slump
Irish International soccer player Jonathan Walters and our lamb producers experienced similar heartache over the weekend.
While poor old Walters was scoring two own goals and missing a penalty in Saturday's Premiership outing for Stoke City, farmers selling lambs were being quoted 90c/kg less than what they were offered this time last year.
In many cases the carcase weight is also 0.5kg less. When all this is added up, the farmer on a quote of a base 510c/kg last January to 23kg was ending up on a price of €117.30.
Today that same factory is quoting a base of 420c/kg to 22.5kg reflecting a price of €94.50. This is a reduction of almost €23 per lamb.
And the cut in prices could even be greater as farmers are finding it difficult to get factories to go above 435c/kg, whereas lamb producers were negotiating prices of as high 535-540c/kg 12 months ago.
I should point out that this slump is not all the factories' fault. The markets are not good and prices in Britain and France are not giving us any cause for optimism.
In any case, the only plant to retain its quote at last week's level is Moyvalley where an all-in 440c/kg is available. The ICMs and Kepak Athleague have reduced their base by 9c/kg to 425c/kg plus the bonus for U grades. A drop of 10c/kg leaves Kildare on 420c/kg plus the 5c/kg bonus for QA lambs on top of the normal 5c/kg. Kepak Hacketstown's 420c/kg plus 5c/kg reflects a 15c/kg reduction, while an all-in quote of 425c/kg from Dawn Ballyhaunis is 13c/kg below the level they were at last week.
IFA's James Murphy said that with feeders already losing money, factories needed to stabilise prices and to pass back the maximum from the markets and also to move weights up to 23kg.