Ringside: Lamb supplies just about keeping up with demand
There is very little separating all the sheep processors on base quotes, with differentials on price coming in the form of the bonuses paid.
As you will see from the table, the base quotes for each of the categories show very little change from last week with all of the plants remaining on €5.80/kg for the spring lambs, €5.20/kg for the hoggets and €2.90/kg for the ewes.
The latter does include a bit of positive movement from Kepak Athleague and Kildare Chilling where a 10c/kg rise brings both in line with the two ICM plants on €2.90/kg. Prices being paid are generally at a minimum of €3/kg.
When the quality assurance (QA) top-up of 10c/kg on offer from Kildare is taken into account, the "Lilywhite" plant takes pole position. The ICMs and Kildare continue to operate a 10c/kg QA top-up for the lambs and the hoggets, while Kepak are on a 6c/kg QA bonus. Moyvalley's €5.80/kg is an all-inclusive figure.
Reading between the lines there is no oversupply of lambs at the moment, with numbers being offered for slaughter just proving adequate, at best, to satisfy demand.
Farmers selling are very reluctant to accept less than the €6/kg, with a range from this up to €6.10/kg being the norm. If your lambs are heavy and have the potential to kill out well, then the mart is probably a better option as you will more than likely be leaving a kilo or two to the factory for nothing once they reach the carcass cut-off weight. Demand for these well fleshed heavy lambs is strong at the marts.
Hogget supplies continue to dwindle and quality remains very mixed. Sellers with good bundles of quality hoggets have been negotiating prices of €5.50-5.60/kg.
The sheep trade in France was described as relatively quiet due to the recent bank holiday with promotions mainly centred on forequarter lamb. The price for Grade 1 Irish lamb was making €6.25kg (DW incl VAT) in the early part of the week.