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Bargain on price and weight to balance latest cuts by factories

Lamb producers need to avoid the complacent mood that overcame the Kerry footballers in Sunday's All- Ireland final and resulted in Dublin's historic win.

The "never let up 'til it's over" attitudeneeds to be remembered by farmers when selling stock.

As the ram goes out with the ewes, farmers are sometimes overcome by a desire to clear lambs off farms.

This can lead to selling unfinished lambs to the factory, easy selling and farmers who are willing to take whatever is on offer.


If you don't want to go down the meal feeding route and have lighter type lambs, then sell at the mart where the store trade remains brisk.

When selling to the processor, always bargain on price and weight. If you fail on one, the chances are that there might be some give on the other.

An extra half kilo on carcass weight is worth €2.20-2.25/lamb or 10c/kg.

As you will see from the table, the quotes have dropped by 5-10c/kg and all bar one of the plants are on a base quote of 440c/kg plus the bonus.

The quality assured bonus of 5c/kg available from Kildare Chilling moves them up in line with the all-in quote of 450c/kg from Moyvalley meats.

Selling at those prices to 22kg will leave most lambs falling short of the magic €100/hd figure. A price of 455c/kg is required at this weight to meet the target.

IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said farmers were angry over the price cuts because production costs had risen rapidly this year.

He added that factories were paying 460-465c/kg for lambs, with producer groups securing up to 470c/kg. Supplies are expected to be tighter this week as farmers visit the Ploughing Championships in Athy.

Quotes for cull ewes have also fallen, with a number of plants cutting their quotes by 5c/kg.

ICM Navan, Kepak Hackets-town and Kildare Chilling are offering 265c/kg but the western plants are unchanged at 250c/kg. ICM Camolin and Moyvalley are not quoting.

Bord Bia reported an easing of the sheep trade over the past week, reflecting slower demand on both domestic and overseas markets.

Quotes for spring lambs for most of the week were around €4.50/kg. The cull trade remained firm with prices ranging between €2.50-2.70/kg.

On a year-to-date basis, sheep supplies are running almost 2pc higher than the corresponding period last year.

In the UK, trade eased as larger volumes of lamb emerged onto the market.

By the weekend, live market prices fell by around 15c/kg to €4.42/kg inclusive of VAT for new season lambs.

In France, with supplies from the UK remaining strong and demand reportedly weakening for imported product due to French lamb promotions. Prices for limited volumes of Irish grade 1 spring lamb averaged €4.76/kg including VAT.

In Northern Ireland, breeding ewe numbers have increased by 2pc to 894,000 head, reflecting the strong prices evident to date this year.

Hogget supplies may begin to gradually pick up as we enter autumn, as the number of sheep aged under one year is 3pc higher at 958,000 head.


There are no signs of any immediate recovery in UK meat consumption and retail lamb sales. Consumption was running 19pc lower than 2010 up to early August, although average retail prices over the period were 19pc higher.

All lamb cuts recorded a fall in the volume of sales during the period, with leg roasting joints, which typically account for around 28pc of sales, experiencing a 30pc off in sales.

Closer to home,the recent retirement of fellow Galwayman Professor Frank Crosby is a loss not to be underestimated to the Irish sheep industry.

Professor Crosby worked tirelessly for the good of the whole industry throughout his tenure, having been head of sheep at UCD for the past 30 years.

Indo Farming