Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 24 June 2017

Lamb prices: Quotes fall 5c/kg in some quarters

Martin Coughlan

Martin Coughlan

John Brooks of the ICSA issued a rallying cry of “Make Sheep Prices Great Again” at his association’s protest outside the ICM plant in Navan last week, but instead some plants dropped their official quotes for lamb by 5c/kg yesterday.

Chief among these was Kepak Athleague who yesterday moved back to €4.60 base plus a 5c/kg bonus from last week’s €4.65/kg quote.

A bit like the Roscommon football team who blew an eight-point lead in the last six minutes against Mayo at the weekend, Kepak have now handed Kildare Chilling the bragging rights and Kildare assume the mantle of this week’s best payers with no reduction in their price from last week’s quote of €4.60/kg and 10c/kg bonus.

The ICM group who bore the brunt of the ICSA protest on Friday were not able to officially quote yesterday morning, and it was a similar situation in relation to Dawn Ballyhaunis, although Ballyhaunis were able to quote €2.50/kg for ewe.

So what’s going on with prices?

The IFA and ICSA are in agreement that the price for sheep remains as it has for the last couple of weeks at between €4.75-4.80/kg, with deals being done up to 23kgs, according to IFA’s John Lynskey.

The price of ewes continues to be in the €2.65-2.75/kg region, despite official quotes remaining around €2.50/kg.

The factories, while complaining of tougher trading conditions due to a surplus of UK lamb coming on the market, still killed more sheep in the week ending January 16 than in the same week last year.

The figure was 54,000hd, which was “up significantly on the corresponding week in 2016,” according to Bord Bia.

That 54,000hd figure is made up of 46,000 hoggets and 8,000 adult sheep. In Northern Ireland, the Livestock and Meat Commission’s report on the performance of the Northern sheep sector contains the following analysis: “RoI continues to act as an important outlet for the NI sheep sector with 28,697 sheep exported from NI to ROI for direct slaughter during December 2016.

Decrease “ In the same period in 2015 however a total of 32,274 sheep made the journey from NI to ROI for direct slaughter which accounts for an 11.1 per cent decrease year on year.”

This is interesting on many levels when you realise that lamb slaughtering in the North also declined in the month of December by 11.3pc.

So with the overall number exported to the South declining and their own domestic slaughtering figures also down, in theory if we can get sterling to stay stable or strengthen against the euro post-Brexit, Northern Irish lamb should not present too much of a problem in the market place.

However, should English or Scottish lamb start appearing in the North, to make up their fall off in numbers, how long before it might make its way South?

It may not be enough to just to “make sheep prices great again”; we may also have to build a wall!

Indo Farming