Ringside: Improving weather and labelling changes give fresh fillip to the trade
The past week has been positive one for sheep men. The milder weather has helped thrive while the introduction of the new labelling on product coming from Northern Ireland since last Wednesday is also a positive. Southern plants might not be as anxious for product from the north when they are required to state where the animal was born and reared, as well as where it was processed.
If the improvement we have seen in the weather over the past few days continues, it will undoubtedly help to increase the numbers of spring lamb becoming fit for slaughter. Factory sources are freely admitting that supplies so far are tight and of very mixed quality, with more winter lambs than spring stock.
But this will change rapidly from now on. The quotes remain at the €6.50/kg plus the bonus, which is 10c/kg for quality assured (QA) lambs in the two ICMs and Kildare Chilling, while Kepak Athleague are giving 6c/kg for QA lambs. The €7/kg from Moyvalley is an all-in price. Dawn Ballyhaunis were not offering a quote when contacted. Despite the smaller numbers on offer, word is that they are still adequate as demand from the marketplace is not overly strong.
The quotes for the hoggets are back by 5-10c/kg. Kildare, while back by 5c/kg are still setting the pace with a base of €5.80/kg plus the QA top-up of 10c/kg. Both ICM plants are back by 10c/kg to a base of €5.70/kg plus the 10 c/kg QA bonus. Kepak are also on the €5.70/kg and are paying another 6c/kg for QA hoggets. The €5.80/kg from Moyvalley is all-in. If you are selling, as usual it pays to bargain as prices of up to €6.10/kg are pretty common with €6.20/kg also being mentioned for this week.
Farmers need to keep an eye on their hoggets as they get into the last of them. Some of the hoggets are getting overweight and over-fat as other jobs such as fertiliser spreading gets priority. If your hoggets are on the heavy side, then the mart is probably a better option as butcher buying has continued strongly throughout the season.
No change to the quotes for the cull ewes has Kildare leading the way here by virtue of their 10c/kg bonus on QA ewes on top of their €3.30/kg base offer. The ICMs are also quoting €3.30/kg with Kepak remaining on €3.20/kg. Farmers with numbers are quite easily securing prices of €3.50/kg and more.
Easter may be over but if anything, the trade for the spring lamb was improved at Athenry mart yesterday with a top price of €111 over the €/kg achieved when a pen of quality lambs weighing 46kg sold for €157. A number of other pens made from €100-110 with their weight. A smaller turnout of hoggets saw prices generally range from €75-95 over the weight. Cull ewes made from €125-158. Down in Fermoy, the new season lambs were making from €85-95 over their weight, while hoggets sold for €75-89 over. Prices for cull ewes varied from €80-150.