60c/kg leap is biggest weekly rise in 13 years

Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea celebrates his side's victory with goalkeeper Darragh Egan
Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea celebrates his side's victory with goalkeeper Darragh Egan

Joe Healy

The jump at the final whistle by Tipperary's hurling manager Éamon O'Shea last Sunday is probably the nearest thing to the leap that quotes and prices for hoggets have taken over the past week.

It was as much relief as joy for the Premier man, and it is a similar story for hard pressed sheep farmers who are finally being rewarded for the expense and effort incurred by carrying hoggets over the winter and up to now.

Despite the quotes rising substantially, the fact that some larger finishers have negotiated deals of up to €6/kg and to 24kg over the past couple of days shows what can be done and paid when numbers tighten.

One man I spoke to said that one month ago he failed to get the factory to pay him €5/kg. Now, only four weeks later, they can pay €6/kg.

Probably not since the FMD crisis have we seen an increase of between 40-60c/kg over a seven-day period, but that is what has occurred since this day last week.

Moyvalley's all-in quote of 580c/kg represents a 60c/kg jump that is worth between €13 and €14/lamb, while a 40c/kg improvement elsewhere leaves the rest on a base of 560c/kg plus the bonus.

When the bonus is added on, the ICM plants, by virtue of their 10c/kg top up for QA stock, lead the way along with Kildare Chilling, where the 5c/kg for QA stock comes on top of their 5c/kg for U grades. Both western processors remain on the 6c/kg bonus for U grades.

The IFA's John Lynskey urged farmers to ensure they maximise the value of their hoggets as very tight supplies had left the processors in a difficult position to secure adequate supplies.

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With a trickle of spring lambs coming out, prices mentioned as paid vary from €6-6.50/kg. Most plants have killed a few, but only Kepak Athleague were actually giving an official quote which is 620c/kg.

The cull ewes have also enjoyed a positive week, with a 10-30c/kg rise evident around the various plants. Both ICMs, Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kildare Chilling, are now up at a quote of 250c/kg, while Kepak Athleague are offering 230c/kg. Actual prices being got appear to vary from 270c/kg to 300c/kg.

Bord Bia in its latest market update that tight British supplies had helped the trade, while, on the continent, trade has remained steady. Cumulative supplies are back 10pc on 2013 figures to 446,751 head.


Good things come to those who wait and this is definitely true for farmers selling sheep at the moment. Prices have rocketed, with yesterday's sales recording prices of up to €151 or €91 with the €/kg. This high price was paid in Fermoy for 60kg, but a lot of the well fleshed, heavy hoggets were making from €75-91 with their weight. Lighter lots sold for €60-75 over. Cull ewes ranged from €54-109, while ewes with single lambs at foot made from €130-205. Cull ewes in Athenry made from €72-120.

Carnew had 1,800 sheep on offer and reported a big increase in price, with the heavy sheep up by €10-13/hd and hitting a high of €140. They made from €75-85 with their weight, while the stores sold for €50-75 over. Ewes with a lamb or lambs at foot ranged from €110-227.

The sheep trade at Dowra Mart last Saturday was much improved from the previous week, with the top pens of hoggets making from €90 to a top price of €135 and the lighter pens for feeding making from €55-85 each.

In Tullow, the sheep trade strengthened, but numbers remain tight. Prices were improved by €3-4/hd. Well fleshed hoggets were making from €116-132. Forward store hoggets over 38kg were selling from €88-105, while lighter hoggets sold from €75-90.

Fleshed lambs at Mayo/Sligo mart were making from €2.10-2.40/kg.

Blackface ewes in-lamb at Maam Cross were selling for €45-102. Wether hoggets were making from €45-73 with the wether and ram lambs moving at €35-58/hd.

Baltinglass enjoyed an improved trade overall with heavy hoggets up by €2-5/hd and selling for €125-138. Ewes with lambs at foot and stag ewes all met with a lively trade at Mountbellew Mart.

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