Farm Ireland

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Blow for suppliers as prices plummet

Joe Healy

Richard Bruton and, indeed, the Fine Gael party, the French soccer squad, Dublin and Limerick hurlers, and sheep farmers have all endured similar weeks.

From the latter's point of view, the quotes have hit freefall, with drops of 30-40c/kg evident across all plants. Added to this, quite a number of them were only quoting for yesterday, which is either a sign of the prospects for the remainder of the week or that supplies have proved very difficult to procure over the weekend.

As you will see from the table, most of the plants are as close to each other as Galway and Offaly last Sunday. Moyvalley's all-in figure of 470c/kg is as good as it gets but was for yesterday only. Also for yesterday only was ICM Camolin's and Kepak Athleague's base of 460c/kg plus 6c/kg bonus.

Thereafter, Kildare Chilling, Kepak Hacketstown and Dawn Ballyhaunis are all quoting 460c/kg plus the bonus for today.

This is a disappointing reduction so soon in the year given that the sheep trade had continued so positively since last October. There is a feeling among farmers out there, though, that it could be a case of the factories chancing their arm and resisting to a certain degree, given that there are no huge numbers coming out.

For the week ending June 12, sheep supplies at the factories were down 17,700 on the same week last year at only 35,500hd. To date this year, the kill is down 163,000hd with lambs back 134,000hd.

This feeling gains credence when most plants are actually paying well above the quotes, with the drop mentioned above as good as cancelled out by the time farmers have finished bargaining.

IFA national sheep committee chairman James Murphy said factories are having to pay significantly above quoted prices to get lambs. He said lambs remain very scarce with factories paying 20c/kg to 30c/kg above quoted prices to procure supplies, with €4.80 to €5/kg being paid.

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He added that an abundant supply of grass had led to a strong store trade and unfinished lighter lambs should be sold in the mart. He said there was also a strong butcher trade in the marts for heavier lambs.

The cull ewe has remained pretty steady in a quote range of 220-260c/kg. Kildare continues to set the pace here followed by Kepak Hacketstown and Dawn Ballyhaunis, where 250c/kg is on offer. Both ICMs and Kepak Athleague are quoting 240c/kg, while 220c/kg is on offer from Moyvalley Meats.

The lamb trade eased during the week, according to Bord Bia, in response to lower demand, even though supplies remain relatively tight. Quotes for spring lambs came under some pressure this week, with quotes in the region of 470c/kg to 475c/kg reported. The cull ewe trade remains firm with quotes of 240-250c/kg reported.

In the UK, the live market trade eased as the week progressed following a week of high disposals. The average new season SQQ price in England and Wales finished the week at the equivalent of 456c/kg including VAT.

In France, Grade 1 Irish spring lamb delivered to Paris was generally making 515c/kg including VAT at the beginning of the week. As the week progressed, prices came under some pressure as a greater availability of French Lacuane lamb and Spanish and UK lamb emerged.

Irish Independent

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