Sheep prices sliding further as more plants stop quoting
The situation as of yesterday morning in relation to factory prices for hogget/lamb was that the downward pressure of recent weeks continues.
Having surrendered their lead over Kildare Chilling last week, Kepak Athleague have held last week’s price of €4.60/kg plus 5c/kg bonus.
I can’t say if they are in front, behind or the same as Kildare Chilling on price this week because Kildare were not in a position to quote officially yesterday. More on this issue later.
The two ICM plants are both at €4.50/kg plus bonuses of 10c/kg which leaves Dawn Ballyhaunis second in the table of highest base prices at €4.55/kg.
Moving to ewe prices, Dawn Ballyhaunis move back from last week’s base of €2.50/kg to €2.45 this week with the two ICM plants on €2.50/kg. Kepak remain slightly ahead at €2.50/kg plus their 5c/kg bonus.
All the plants are on message as regards “difficult trading conditions” and I believe them. However, they have not gone away, orders have to be filled, and sheep have to be found to fill those orders.
The issue is that at a time when prices might realistically be expected to improve, Bord Bia figures show that 8,000 more sheep went through last week than the same week last year and it is these additional numbers that are keeping a lid on the price. Another issue is quality, and it’s one that factories go on about endlessly at times. There is a problem when a mart manager says to me that he is now seeing lambs that are just too heavy and “slobbery”. “You put a 57kg lambs up on the scales and butchers won’t look at them,” this man said.
Following the inability of both ICM plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis to make official hogget /lamb quotes available last week, and with Kildare Chilling unable to do so this week, IFA sheep chairman John Lynskey was fierce in his criticism.