Strong trade aided by tighter supplies
It's a bit of a cliche that is often bandied about but good things come to those who wait. While Enda is probably the best example of it, it could also be applied to the farmers that stuck with the sheep through some trying years when there was little or no profit being made from them.
Thankfully, since October 2009, all has changed. Increased activity on the live exports at that time created a lot of competition and the trade hasn't looked back. A reducing breeding flock leading to less supplies and a strong cull ewe trade has all helped.
Quotes for this year's lambs are 40-50c/kg ahead of where they were in the second week of March last year. With reports doing the rounds yesterday suggesting that 440-450c/kg was to be got in the east of the country, the top prices at the moment are up by more at 60-70c/kg.
However, the top quote comes from the west, where Kepak Athleague is offering a base of 510c/kg plus the bonus. This is an improvement of 20c/kg over the course of the week. Moyvalley is on an all-in figure of 510c/kg. Kildare Chilling's base is 500c/kg, with its two bonuses adding another 11c/kg onto this. The rest are quoting 500c/kg plus the bonus.
The IFA's James Murphy said that factories were finding it difficult to secure adequate numbers from tight supplies and were having to pay well above the quoted figures, with 530-540c/kg freely available.
Both Kepak plants are killing a few new-season lambs and are paying 600c/kg for them.
Kildare is top for cull ewes at €3/kg. The two ICMs are at 290c/kg. Kepak Hacketstown is offering 285c/kg while the western plants are on 280c/kg.
Bord Bia said that there was a further lift in trade last week as ongoing, tight Irish and UK supplies continued to help. Quotes for lambs made around €5.10/kg for most of the week.