Farm Ireland

Saturday 21 April 2018

5-20c/kg hike in factory quotes


Bord Bia described the sheep trade as stronger over the past week
Bord Bia described the sheep trade as stronger over the past week

Joe Healy

The West is well and truly awake this week. In an effort to ensure Connacht's rugby players don't take all the plaudits after their historic win in Toulouse, Kepak Athleague has increased its base quote by 10c/kg to 460c/kg plus the bonus of 5c/kg. This leaves the plant on the top base quote of all plants offering a base quote and bonus.

Moyvalley's all-in quote of 470c/kg reflects an increase of 20c/kg over the past week or €4.40-4.60/lamb.

Elsewhere, other plants have moved upwards by 5c/kg. This keeps Kildare Chilling up towards the top with its quality assurance bonus, on top of the 5c/kg for U grades, putting it on 465c/kg for suitable stock. The ICM plants, Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kepak Hacketstown are all offering 455c/kg plus the bonus and the quote from Hacketstown was for yesterday only.

Beware, however, that actual prices are well ahead of the quotes and most lambs are commanding prices of between 470-480c/kg. Processors are anxious for stock and it is a sellers' market as the demand for the Christmas trade is strong.

IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said numbers had tightened and there was strong competition between the plants for stock. He said farmers had been paid €4.75-4.80/kg for lambs, with some top prices of €4.90 paid. There was no change to the quotes for cull ewes, the ICM plants, Kildare Chilling and Kepak Hacketstown all offering 200c/kg and 190c/kg being quoted in the two western plants. Again, as with the lambs, much more is being paid when sellers bargain hard.

Bord Bia described the sheep trade as stronger over the past week as good domestic demand and tighter supplies helped demand.

Trade is also being helped by some increase in demand across key export markets in the run up to the Christmas period.

Quotes for lamb increased further during the week to a base price of €4.50/kg, with reports suggesting €4.60/kg and more was more freely available as the week progressed.

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Year to date, sheep supplies are running almost 9pc higher compared to the corresponding period last year.

Trade across Britain picked up during the week, despite stronger numbers going through live markets. By the weekend, new season lamb at live markets across England and Wales was making the equivalent of €4.93/kg including VAT.

In France, trade picked up as buying improved in advance of the Christmas period. Irish Grade 1 lambs are now making €4.77kg including VAT.

Meanwhile, an Bord Bia reports that the explosive growth of China's middle class fuelled demand for a protein-rich diet of red meats. China has developed an insatiable appetite for sheep meat, and even though China boasts the biggest sheep flock in the world, demand has outpaced domestic supplies, with imports reportedly growing five-fold since 2010.


The sheep marts enjoyed a positive week with good demand and improved prices for most categories. With the factories anxious for fleshed lambs in the run up to Christmas and supplies tightening, the rising prices in the plants are having a knock-on affect at the marts.

Factory agents were reported as very keen to snap up suitable stock while butchers were willing to pay up to and over €60 with the €/kg for heavy lambs.

As has been the case for a while now, the continuing mild weather has helped to keep a strong demand for store lambs with farmers especially keen for quality forward stores and willing to pay between €70-88 for those types.

Lighter stores made from €45-65. Heavy cull ewes sold up to €90/hd while ewes for further feeding generally sold between €40-60.

The top price in Athenry Mart yesterday up to the point when I contacted them was €115 for a pen of butcher lambs weighing 52kg. Lambs of 50kg had sold for €110.

It was a similar story in Fermoy where 51kg were the tops half way through the sale at €110 or €59 over the €/kg. The majority of the lambs over 48kg were making upwards of €50 with the weight.

Kilkenny Mart said trade was slightly better with lambs selling to a top call of €110. The lambs over 50kg were moving at €50-55 with the weight.

Baltinglass had a small sale but reported a much improved trade especially for the stores which were up by €5-8/hd and generally selling for €55-85.

Lambs of 40-50kg were making from €94-107.

The sheep trade was steady at Dowra Mart with the best of the store lambs making from €65-85. The lighter lots made from €40-65. Ewe lambs fit for breeding were selling for €75-95.

Carnew had 2,550 on offer and reported an improved trade especially for butcher and factory lambs with prices up by €3-5/hd at €95-112 reflecting €48-57 over the weight. Stores made from €65-90 or €36-50 over the €/kg.

The larger number of sheep on offer in Mountbellew met with increased demand for factory and butcher lambs and the stronger stores which sold from €70-88. Fleshy lambs were making from €48-58 over the €/kg with €109 paid for 51kg. Prices for the cull ewes ran from €55-90.

Fat lambs at Mayo/Sligo Mart were selling up to €110/hd.

Irish Independent