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€6/kg dream for hoggets on hold as quote slips

Many of the jumps proved just a tad too high for a number of horses in Saturday's Grand National and the same can be said for the even money €6/kg quote that farmers had hoped for and expected might be in line for the hoggets this week.

After continuous weekly increases from 460c/kg in the middle of February up to last week's 580c/kg, the odds on a €6/kg base quote had shortened significantly. Unfortunately, as with those fallers on Saturday, the dream is at best on hold as the one plant – Moyvalley – that was actually offering €6 this day last week slipped back to 580c/kg today.

The rest of the plants retain last week's base figure of 580c/kg plus the various bonuses. For the ICM plants the bonus is 10c/kg for Quality Assured stock. In Kildare it's 5c/kg for U grades plus 5c/kg for the QA stock, while over in the West both plants are offering a 6c/kg bonus for U grades. The good news is that very few hoggets are selling for less than €6/kg with factories accepting it as a minimum that farmers will accept.

It is a similar story for the new season lambs with the only downward movement coming from Moyvalley. A 10c/kg move south sees them offer an all-in quote of 630c/kg.

The 640c/kg plus the two 5c/kg bonuses from Kildare Chilling is the highest figure, but is only to 19kg carcase weight while 20kg seems to be the cut off elsewhere with the base quote unchanged at 620c/kg plus the bonuses. The extra kg is worth €6.20/lamb before the bonus while the extra 20c/kg on the base quote is only worth €4 at most.

So unless you can negotiate on weight then you need to balance it out on an increased price. IFA National Sheep Chairman John Lynskey said the sheep trade remains stable with hoggets making €6.00-6.20/kg and good solid demand. He said there were very few spring lambs available with factories offering €6.40-6.50/kg.

The cull ewes show no change with the 270c/kg from Kildare leading the way. Dawn Ballyhaunis have reduced their quote by 10c/kg and join the two ICM plants who are unchanged on 260c/kg with Kepak Athleague offering 250c/kg. Farmers with numbers are refusing to sell below €3/kg.

An Bord Bia reported that the sheep trade remained strong in the past week as stable demand coupled with tight supply continued to drive prices. Trade in our key export markets remains steady with tight supplies in the UK helping trade.

Base quotes for hoggets increased to around €5.80/kg. New season spring lamb was making €6.20-6.30/kg. Prices paid for cull ewes increased on the previous week and cumulative supplies to date this year are back 13pc to around 512,600 head.

In the UK, trade showed little change with supplies remaining relatively tight.

The Livestock and Meat Commission said the deadweight sheep trade was strong over the past week in Northern Ireland with high prices in the marts driving up factory quotes.

Factories opened the week quoting 460p/kg, but as the week went on some plants raised their quotes to 470-480p/kg and higher to secure supply. Factory throughput in NI is under pressure with the hogget kill down by 25pc (-1,500hd).

The ewe kill has also come under pressure. The week before last saw over 7,000 sheep exported from NI to ROI.

Marts

The sheep trade at the marts was strong during the week as expected. However, yesterday's reports were a little mixed with Fermoy describing their sale as extremely lively while Athenry and Kilkenny saw prices probably just not as strong as the previous sale.

The best of the hoggets in Fermoy hit the €100 over the €/kg when 52kg sold for €152. Having said that, €75-90 over the weight was buying the majority of the fleshed hoggets. Spring lambs of 48-49kg were making from €145-149/kg when contacted. The new season lamb in Athenry was selling for €120-148 while the good hoggets were making from €65-85 with the weight.

The trade was back by up to €10/hd in Kilkenny. Prices for the over 50kg hoggets were ranging from €85-140 or €43-80 over the weight. The 40-50kg lots sold for €44-92 with the weight.

A bigger entry of 2,800 sheep at Carnew Mart met a very strong trade with heavy hoggets making up to €146 and generally commanding from €77-88 with the €/kg. Stores made from €55-80 over in a price range from €78-120.

Heavy cull ewes were up by €10/hd and selling for €95-128. Prices for ewes with a lamb or lambs at foot were improved by up to €20/hd. Ewes with single lambs were selling for €120-185 while those with twin lambs made from €150-220.

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Trade was stable in Enniscorthy. Prices for new season lambs varied from €120-135 or €90-95 over the €/kg. Store hoggets were making from €100-120. Light cull ewes made from €50-80/hd while the fleshier lots sold for €100-120/hd.

Mountbellew had increased numbers of sheep on offer. Hoggets met with a firm trade with prices ranging from €90-141 with this top price paid for 14 ewe hoggets.

Ewes with lambs at foot met with a brisk trade with prices up by as much as €25 in many cases. Ewes with single lambs at foot ranged from €90-144. Younger ewes with twin lambs at foot sold from €135-230. Cull ewes made from €70 to €133.

Good demand for ewes with a single lamb at foot resulted in prices of up to €150 at Baltinglass mart. Hoggets weighing between 50-55kg sold for €115-145.

Well fleshed heavy hoggets at Tuam Mart were making from €2.00-2.74/kg with 52kg topping out at €144. Cull ewes sold for €70-100.

Up in Mayo/Sligo Mart the hoggets were selling for €2.40-2.75/kg while ewes with lambs at foot ranged from €200-302.

The sheep trade was very lively at Dowra Mart with the heavy cull ewes making from €80-120. Lighter ewes made from €45-75 each. Ewes with a single lamb at foot ranged from €80-130 while ewes with pairs made from €130-180 each.

Black face ewes in lamb were selling for €45-102 at Maam Cross. Wether hoggets were making €45-89.

Cross bred lambs traded at €30-68 in the main with the tops making up to €80. Black face wether and ram lambs sold for €35-98.


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