Ringside: Bounce has failed to materialise as quotes remain static all round
They say that no news is good news, but zero changes to the lamb or hogget quotes will not be regarded as good news by sheep farmers. They had hoped for a bounce as hoggets dry up and cold weather dampens supplies.
At least quotes have held at last week's levels, given that they fell 70c/kg or €14/lamb over the previous two weeks.
Quotes from the main players are at a base of €5.80/kg plus the bonus. The two ICM plants and Kildare Chilling are offering a Quality Assurance (QA) top up of 10c/kg, while the QA bonus from Kepak Athleague is 6c/kg. Moyvalley are offering an all-in quote of €5.90/kg. While most of the plants are trying to buy at the quoted figures, some tougher sellers are holding out for the €6/kg.
It is clear that the plants are anxious to move on from the hoggets at this stage. Quality is extremely mixed and numbers are small. Base quotes remain at €5.20/kg plus the bonuses, which is along the lines of the lambs.
The IFA's John Lynskey said that factories will be anxious for numbers as some of the big retailers switch to new season lamb this week. He added that a tops of €6.20/kg has been paid for lambs with hoggets making from €5.30-5.50/kg.
The ICSA claimed that "over-zealous Department officials" are downgrading hoggets to ewe-status in meat plants, with potential losses to farmers of up to €50-60/head.
This is happening where hoggets' mouths are being examined and those animals found breaking teeth are classified as ewes.
A 20c/kg drop to the cull ewe quotes from the ICMs moves them back in line with Kepak and Kildare on a figure of €2.80/kg, with the latter continuing to pay a 10c/kg bonus for QA ewes. Three weeks ago they were almost all on a base of €3.30/kg.