Business Farming

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Sheep - improved cull ewe quotes are one bright spot

Joe Healy

Published 26/08/2014 | 00:00

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David Boal with his champion hoggets at the Raphoe mart show and sale on Monday
David Boal with his champion hoggets at the Raphoe mart show and sale on Monday

According to recent reports our discretionary spending has risen with Irish consumers splashing out again on travel, luxury cars and wining and dining.

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However, I think it's fair to assume the mart or the factory is as far as many sheep producers are travelling these days. Selling at 445-460c/kg rules out jet-lag and sunburn. And it would also be easy to count the number of 141 or 142 BMWs or Mercs hitched to trailers in the factory car parks as well.

Still, farmers are grateful for small mercies and this comes in the form of no negative movement to the lamb quotes over the past week while the cull ewe quotes have improved by 10c/kg in some plants.

Apart from Moyvalley's all-in quote of 450c/kg, the rest remain on a base quote of 440c/kg with the various bonuses on top of this. The bonus from the ICM plants is a 10c/kg quality assurance (QA) top-up as is the 6c/kg from Kepak Athleague. Kildare Chilling continue to offer a 5c/kg U grade bonus as well as their top-up of 5c/kg for QA lambs while the extra 6c/kg from Dawn Ballyhaunis is for good lambs grading U.

Factory sources have urged farmers to make sure their lambs were suitably fit for slaughter as quite a few are killing out poorly. They are also advising farmers to feed some meal to resolve this problem. 
Commenting on the trade, the IFA's John Lynskey urged farmers to maximise the value of their stock as some farmers had negotiated prices of 460-465c/kg, while a tops of 470c/kg to 22kg has also been got. He added that the factory price in Britain including VAT is the equivalent of €4.99/kg.

The mart trade has continued strongly for the well fleshed lots of cull ewes and you will notice from the table that four of the six plants quoting for ewes have risen their figure by 10c/kg.

Kildare have moved up to 250c/kg and continue with their trial of paying 6c/kg extra for quality assured ewes. The criteria for 'home-grown' and 'QA' are causing some teething problems especially the home-grown part as many farmers will have bought in some replacements every year.

Over the past week deals of up to €2.70/kg have been done. There are issues around some under-fleshed ewes being offered for slaughter. This doesn't need to happen as the store cull trade in the marts is good.

Meanwhie, a big sale of lambs in Athenry yesterday saw ewe lambs sell to a tops of €111 for 52kg. Wether lambs made from €40-51 over the weight. Lighter lots sold for €30-38 over. Kilkenny reported a steady trade with the butcher lambs selling at €97-110 or €47-52 with the €/kg. Factory types were making from €38-50 over at prices of €80-100. Store prices ran from €68-78/hd. Fit lambs in Fermoy made from €44-50 with their weight.

Ewe hoggets just fell shy of the €200 mark at Tullow mart with a top price of €195. Most of them traded between €140-170. First crops sold to €165 while as the ewes got older prices fell from this back towards a bottom of €95. Demand was lively especially for the well-presented quality lots.

Store lambs and factory lambs were a similar trade to the previous week in Mountbellew. Good demand was reported for quality lots of ewe lambs with prices running from €100-120. They are holding a Breeding Sheep Show & Sale next Saturday, August 30.

Carnew had 2,500 sheep on offer. Trade was steady with best demand for quality fleshed lambs and ewe lambs. Butcher and factory lots were selling at prices of €85-102.

Store over 35kg made from €67-81 while lighter lots sold from €58-75.

Maam Cross Mart held its Annual Mule ewe lamb show and sale on Saturday. The majority of them sold between €92-98/hd but the top pen made up to €148. Blackface mountain ewes suitable for breeding were making from €38-75/hd. The hoggets made up to €156. Cross-bred lambs sold for €56-82. Black-face mountain lambs ranged from €21-52.

Carnew had 2,500 sheep on offer. Trade was steady with best demand for quality fleshed lambs and ewe lambs. Butcher and factory lots were selling at prices of €85 - 102. Store over 35kg made from €67-81 while lighter lots sold from €58-75. Ewe lambs were making from €75-112. Cull ewes ranged from €48-110. In the breeding section the hogget ewes were making from €130-175. Aged ewes varied from €100-140.

Lambs fit for the butcher were selling for €95-100 in Enniscorthy. This reflected a range of €48-51 over the €/kg. Factory types sold for €88-94 or €45-50 over. Store prices ran from €60-80. Ewe lambs made from €85-100 or up to a tops of €62 with the weight. Heavy cull ewes made from €85-110/hd.

Maam Cross Mart held its Annual Mule ewe lamb show and sale on Saturday. The majority of them sold between €92-98/hd but the top pen made up to €148. Blackface mountain ewes suitable for breeding were making from €38-75/hd. The hoggets made up to €156. Cross-bred lambs sold for €56-82. Black-face mountain lambs ranged from €21-52.

Factory lambs at Mayo/Sligo mart generally made from €2.00-2.12/kg. Stores made up to €2.23/kg. Cull ewes hit a high of €144. Breeding rams made from €200-395.

There was a very big sale of sheep at Ennis mart. Trade was strong with butcher lambs making up to €112 or €2.33/kg while ewe lambs were highly sought after and made up to €141.

jhealy@independent.ie

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