Bargaining rife as quotes unchanged

Joe Healy

The factory trade for sheep appears to be as steady as Ulster's progress through to the Heineken Cup rugby semi-finals.

Despite some predictions last week that the quotes for lambs would drop at a similar pace to Rory McIlroy at the Masters last Saturday, quotes have generally held and, as you will see from the table, all of the plants apart from Dawn Ballyhaunis have retained the status quo.

Kildare, by virtue of its extra bonus for the quality assured stock are top for the new season lambs at a base quote of 650c/kg plus 6c/kg and the 5c/kg quality assurance figure.

The ICM and Kepak factories are offering 650c/kg plus 6c/kg and 5c/kg bonuses respectively. Dawn Ballyhaunis has dropped its base quote by 10c/kg to 640c/kg plus 6c/kg.

Farmers are bargaining for prices well in excess of those figures, with up to 670c/kg being secured in places.

Lamb producers should also keep an eye on the mart trade as this may often be a better option, especially for the heavier type lamb. It is vital that farmers keep a good eye on their lambs and sell them as they come fit.

There is definitely no need for a play-off or penalty shootout to decide who takes the prize for the top hogget quote.

An unchanged all-in 550c/kg leaves a clear gap between Moyvalley Meats and the rest of the plants, where 530c/kg plus the bonus is the offer from most of the rest. The exception is Dawn, whose 425c/kg plus the bonus has it propping up the table.

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Commenting on the trade, IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said that hoggets were making up to 560c/kg, with spring lambs commanding 660-670c/kg. He added that butchers and retailers reported a strong Easter trade and that quality stock continues to make a premium at the marts.

Cull ewes remain at quotes of 300c/kg in most places. Proving that it is consistent above all else, Dawn's quote of 290c/kg has it looking up at the rest as far as the culls are concerned. Moyvalley is not quoting.

The trade for both old season and new season lamb in Britain eased slightly as last week progressed, reported Bord Bia.

By the weekend, old season and new season lambs at livemarkets across Britain made the equivalent of €5.70/kg and €6.90/kg respectively.

In France, trade picked up as demand strengthened due to some late purchasing of lamb for Easter. Limited numbers of Irish grade 1 lamb reportedly made €6.20-6.52/kg by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, in the marts, ewes with twin lambs at foot were probably the best sellers. Quality ewes made up to and over €300/unit. The best of the new season lambs made €125-145/hd.

Most of the good quality lambs sold for €80-100 over the weight, while top quality types made in excess of the €100 over mark.

Hoggets sold for €60-75 with their weight, with nice ewe lamb selling for up to €140.

Trade for the cull ewes remained strong as heavier lots made up to €143.

A smaller than usual sale at Athenry Mart yesterday saw spring lambs sell for €85-104 over the €1/kg.

The hoggets made €60-76 with their weight. Ewe lambs sold up to €139, while those with lambs at foot made €200 to €250.

In Fermoy, nicely finished new season lambs sold for €120-141.

Hoggets made €60-74 with the €1/kg. The general run of cull ewes sold for €68-132. Ewes with a lamb or lambs at foot made €182-230/unit.

Spring lambs sold up to €128/hd at Baltinglass Mart. Hoggets weighing 50-60kg made €120-130/hd.

Ewe hoggets made €120-138/hd, while ewes with lambs at foot sold for €130-270/hd.

Carrigallen Mart had a good trade for its increased numbers of sheep. Heavy butcher lambs made €125-132/hd. Factory hoggets sold for €112-125/hd.

Store lambs made €70-101/hd.

The top spring lamb price at Tuam Mart was €145 for 49kg. Cull ewes also peaked at €145/hd. Ewes with a lamb at foot made up to €155/hd.

Up in Raphoe, new season lambs made €80-113 over their weight. Well-fleshed hoggets sold for €50-91 over the €1/kg.

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