Sheep - improved cull ewe quotes are one bright spot
According to recent reports our discretionary spending has risen with Irish consumers splashing out again on travel, luxury cars and wining and dining.
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.