Farm Ireland

Tuesday 24 April 2018

All plants move to 440c/kg base quote

Joe Healy

Thankfully the sheep trade more reflects our soccer players than our rugby lads at the moment. And mirroring the flag last Friday night which read "North men South men, comrades all", the factories appear to have a similar lamb base quote everywhere.

While there is a long way to go, it seems that a step in the right direction has at least been taken. Tightening supplies are definitely helping the trade, which is also being helped by firm to strengthening demand in Britain and France.

All the plants have now moved up to a base of 440c/kg. This means that a 5c/kg rise has occurred in the two Kepak's, Dawn Ballyhaunis and both ICM factories to move in line with Kildare Chilling at 440c/kg. All continue to offer the bonus of 5-6c/kg for U grading lambs. However, Kildare still set the pace by virtue of its extra 5c/kg bonus for quality assured (QA) stock. Its neighbours in Moyvalley continue to quote an all-in figure of 450c/kg.

Factories are anxious for well finished lambs as numbers are slackening off. Farmers should ensure that the lambs they are selling over the next few weeks are fed adequately and are suitable for slaughter before they decide to sell. Do not sell under fleshed lambs. Factories don't want them and penalties will ensure that you lose money.

It should pay to keep them an extra while on meal to get them fit. If you have nicely fleshed QA lambs to sell you are in a good position to bargain hard on both weight and price as competition grows between the processors for good stock.

The IFA's James Murphy said that farmers needed to ensure they maximised the value of their lambs. He added that many farmers were securing prices in excess of 460c/kg with the odd strong seller negotiating prices of up to 470c/kg to 23kg.

A farmer securing this is getting a gross price of €108, while a soft seller accepting the quote of 440c/kg plus the bonus to 22kg might be only getting a gross price €98/hd or €10 less per lamb.

The two ICM plants and Kildare continue to lead the way on the cull ewes with quotes of 200c/kg. Dawn is offering 190c/kg while both Kepak's remain on 180c/kg.

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The sheep trade was described as steady by Bord Bia, despite some increase in sheep supplies being marketed. Strong demand and some fall in supplies across our key export countries have helped to maintain trade.

Quotes for lamb remain unchanged at €4.35-4.45/kg, with more available for select lots. Prices paid for culled ewes have firmed, with general quotes making €1.80/kg.

To date this year, sheep supplies at meat export plants are running around 9pc or 187,600 head higher at 2.25m head.

Trade across Britain firmed during the past week, on the back of some favourable exchange movement as supply and demand levels remained evenly matched.


Sheep numbers started to dwindle and prices remained firm last week. Yesterday's sales indicate that this week's trade has gotten off to a lively start. A top price of €64 over the weight was paid for butcher lambs in Fermoy Mart when €113 was given for a pen of butcher lambs weighing 49kg. Buyers in Athenry went to €62 over the €/kg for ewe lambs, paying €115/hd for ewe lambs weighing 53kg each.

The fleshed heavy lambs in Athenry generally sold for €44-54 over the weight with lighter types making from €35-43 over. In Fermoy, many of the heavier types made €50-61 with their weight. Lambs weighing 33-45kg sold for €33-47 over the weight, with a top price of €54 over paid for a 42kg lamb.

A small sale in Kilkenny resulted in good heavy lambs selling for prices of €97-109 or €47-55 with the weight. Lots of 40-50kg made €40-49 over at prices of €80-97/hd.

Carnew described the trade as strong for the 2,500 sheep on offer. Butcher and factory lambs sold at prices of €88-112. Stores made from €55-88/hd.

There was an improved trade for store lambs and cull ewes for a smaller number of lots on offer at Baltinglass Mart. Light store lambs up to 35kg made €55-75. Cull ewes made €45-75 and breeding ewes sold for €85-115. Sheep numbers were up from the previous week at Dowra Mart and prices also improved, with store lambs making €60-86 each. Ewe lambs fit for breeding sold for €80-95. Lighter ewe lambs made €45-75 each.

Mountbellew reported a smaller number of sheep on offer to the previous week. Prices for factory lambs and heavier lambs were steady but stores met a slightly easier trade and sold for €62-84. Breeding rams made up to €250. First crop breeding ewes made up to €105 each. Second crop ewes reached €100, while older lots made up to €75.

At Mayo/Sligo Mart, fleshed lambs peaked at €106/hd. A sluggish trade for breeding ewes resulted in a top price of just €95/hd. Blackface mountain ewes with mixed mouths and suitable for breeding sold for €21-58 over in Maam Cross. Blackface wether and ram lambs made €18-44. Breeding rams generally sold for €65-100 with up to €265 paid for quality rams. Heavy lambs in Tuam hit a high of €118 or €2.08/kg. Lambs under 50kg topped out at €109 or €2.20/kg. Cull ewes made €50-90/hd.

Irish Independent