Farm Ireland

Friday 19 January 2018

10c/kg lift brings base to 450c/kg but market is still lack lustre

Joe Healy

Sheep farmers would settle for a lot less than the type of top-up available at the Central Remedial Clinic. At the same time, they expect more than the movement, albeit positive, that took place over the past week.

Lambs being slaughtered at the moment have been around for most of the year and have cost quite a bit to carry through to December. As I said, there is a bit of a price lift but to soft sellers it is minimal.

On the other hand, the hard sellers are doing alright when they bargain on price and weight. Almost all the plants are showing a rise of 10c/kg. This leaves them on a base of 450c/kg plus the bonus.

Kepak Athleague have increased by 5c/kg but this also leaves them on the 450c/kg base as they were leading the way last week at 445c/kg. For the 12th week out of the last 13, Moyvalley are offering an all-in quote of 450c/kg.

This, in a way, sums up the lack of movement to the factory trade in the past three months. They're anxious for stock and make no secret of the fact that numbers have significantly tightened in recent days.

Farmers are easily securing carcass weights of 22.5kg minimum, with many negotiating prices of 470-475c/kg.

Sellers need to ensure their lambs are suitably finished to maximise value. It is difficult enough to turn a profit but selling lambs that are not fit is guaranteed to result in losses.

Trade for the cull ewes shows very little change, with the ICMs and Kildare Chilling continuing to quote 200c/kg, while both Kepaks and Dawn Ballyhaunis are offering 190c/kg. Prices of 220-230c/kg are commonplace.

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Sheep supplies continue to be around 9pc higher compared to this time last year at 2.37m head. Trade across Britain eased as supply exceeded demand.


The mart trade was slightly improved during the past week and showed further positive signs yesterday as the Christmas trade was kicking in to boost demand for fleshed lambs, while the mild weather proves positive for the stores.

A high of €60 over the weight was paid at Athenry Mart when 52kg sold for €112. The nicely finished lambs weighing in excess of 46kg were selling for €44-60 with the €/1kg. Lighter types were making €30-45 over the weight. Fit lambs in Fermoy sold for €48-59 with their weight.

Fleshed lambs in Kilkenny were up by between €1-3/hd, with the over 50kg types selling for €40-58 with the weight in a price range of €98-110. Lambs of 45-50kg sold for €40-58 over.

Sheep numbers were smaller at Dowra Mart last Friday. Trade was livelier than previous weeks with the best of the store lambs making €60-85. The lighter stores sold for €35-60. Heavier ewes fit for slaughter were making €55-75.

There was strong demand for the 3,000 head on offer at Carnew Mart. Butcher and factory lambs sold at prices ranging from €92 to €110/hd. Stores made €65-90. Cull ewes moved at €45-90

Backface ewes with mixed mouths and suitable for breeding sold for €21-58 in Maam Cross. Ewe hoggets made up to €73. Crossbred lambs were selling for €30-68 in the main, with the tops peaking at €86. Blackface wether and ram lambs were selling for €18-44. Breeding rams ranged from €45 to €125.

Baltinglass Mart reported an improved trade all round. The 40-50 kg lambs made €75-102. Lambs between 35kg and 40kg made €66-75 while cull ewes made up to €72.50.

The number of sheep on offer in Mountbellew was smaller than normal. Demand for heavy fleshy lambs and stores was brisk. The fit lambs were making €45-51 over the weight, with 49kg making €100. Store lambs generally sold for €65-89/hd.

Cull ewes met with a full clearance. Heavier lots were a strong trade and made €60-80, while most of the lighter lots sold between €50 and €58.

Irish Independent