Bartering beats sluggish demand
Unlike Westlife, the lamb trade isn't exactly on fire at the moment. But the good news is, despite a few of the plants attempting to pull the quotes, supplies remain scarce and factories are willing to pay more than they are quoting.
This only happens if the farmer is prepared to bargain and haggle on price and weight. If they are not, they should be prepared to receive as low as 490c/kg, plus the bonus, if they sell to the likes of Dawn Ballyhaunis.
Compare this 496c/kg all-in price for 20.5kg to the farmer that told me he had negotiated a price of 515c/kg to 21kg. That's worth an extra €100 over 15 lambs. These aren't exaggerated figures since rumour had it that some farmers were getting up to 520c/kg. The west is the poor relation today with the quote from Kepak Athleague only 4c/kg ahead of Dawn at 494c/kg plus 6c/kg. Kepak Hacketstown offer a similar quote. Elsewhere, last week's even money of a base €5/kg plus the bonus is maintained in Kildare Chilling and the two ICMs, while Moyvalley continues to quote an all-in €5/kg. The IFA's sheep chairman, James Murphy said there was more bite to the trade this week with factories actively ringing around looking for lambs and paying between 510-520c/kg up to 21kg in most cases.
The ewe quotes are steady. Both ICM plants, Dawn and Kepak Hacketstown share the lead on 230c/kg. Kepak Athleague and Kildare are offering 220c/kg
Bord Bia report that the sheep trade remains steady over the past week despite some increase in supplies. Exchange rates continue to boost the competitiveness of Irish lamb relative to Britain on export markets.
Slaughterings for the month of May were up 18.2pc at 223,900 head with the period from Jan-May 2012 showing an overall increase of 7.6pc.
Weekly sheep supplies for the week ending June 16 were 5,300 head higher compared to the previous week, and 1,100 head lower than the corresponding week last year at 46,600 head.
By the weekend, new season lambs at live markets across Britain were making the equivalent of €5.63/kg.