Returns hit as factory quotes for lamb dip under €5/kg
Great expectations. While Italy's were well and truly dashed in the final on Sunday night, the table attached will also dampen the expectations of sheep farmers, especially those who listened to the positive outlook presented at the marketing seminar last Saturday at Sheep 2012.
While they may have been talking more long term, for the average farmer the future is the next batch of lambs to be sold.
Unfortunately, today is the first time in a month that all plants are quoting less than the €5/kg threshold. However, the quotes are still much better than the 480-485c/kg being offered four weeks ago.
One young full-time sheep farmer told me on Saturday that his "line in the sand" was a minimum of €100/hd and he didn't care if this was achieved by selling at €5/kg to 20kg or €4.80 to 21kg.
Readers of this column will have often been reminded of the need to bargain on carcase weight as much as price/kg. An extra half kg is worth between 11-12c/kg at current prices.
Farmers do, however, need to concentrate more on what the markets require and sell at, or reasonably close to, the weights suitable.
Kepak's Jonathan Forbes said that in the January to May period this year 38pc of their lambs and hoggets were over-weight with carcases of more than 23kg too heavy for their retail customers.
During the same period 30pc were either too fat or too thin, with 16pc failing on both carcase weight and fat score.