Sector's recovery continues as sheep quotes remain high
If only we could believe that our economy would follow the path of our sheep sector, then we might be able to maintain some optimism for the future.
Like our country's present financial woes, sheep farmers have for many years suffered losses and hardship and disillusionment. Thankfully, over the past 12 months, prices have improved dramatically from the low point they were at as we moved towards the final quarter of last year and have remained strong throughout this year. Back around that time, predicting a good year ahead for sheep producers would have sounded as credible as predicting a female president in Brazil.
Allied to the strong trade, the Minister of Agriculture's recent announcement of the €8m for sheep fencing and mobile handling equipment, and the confirmation that the €10/ewe payment will happen on December 8, will only further enhance what has been a very good year for a sector that has suffered more than its fair share of disappointing seasons.
The lamb quotes show very little change from last week apart from Moyvalley improving their all-in base by 5c/kg to 425c/kg.
However, this only serves to bring them in line with the two ICM plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis, where a base of 420c/kg plus the 6c/kg leaves them at 426c/kg for the better type lambs.
Both Kepak plants remain on 425c/kg plus the bonus, but the quality assurance of 5c/kg on top of Kildare Chilling's improvement of 4c/kg to a base of 424c/kg plus the 6c/kg keeps the Lilywhites in poll position with a total of 435c/kg for suitable stock.
The only complaint from the factories is that quite a number of the lambs offered are over-weight. If you have heavy lambs, the mart is the best place to go. Quite a few of the plants are also anxious for light, fleshy lambs and are generally offering the same base quote for them as they are offering for the heavier lambs.
A robust domestic market, combined with tight supplies, is driving on the lamb trade, according to the IFA's James Murphy, with factories paying up to 445c/kg to 23kg for good lambs this week. He added that the live trade also continues at pace, with prices of €50 over the weight being paid.