Cuts being felt across board as lamb quotes slashed by 30c/kg
While it was a clever sideline cut that led to a heartbreaking one-point defeat for Tipperary in last Sunday's hurling league final, it is a cut of a different type and magnitude that has led to heartbreak and disappointment amongst sheep farmers this week.
All the categories have experienced this cut with quotes for lambs cut by up to 30c/kg, hoggets by 10c/kg and cull ewes by anything between 10-30c/kg.
Almost all the plants have come under the even money in one clear swoop with a base of 590c/kg being quoted for the spring lambs by Dawn Ballyhaunis, Kepak Athleague and both ICMs.
Kildare Chilling, like last week, were not quoting for the lambs when contacted yesterday morning. Their neighbours Moyvalley Meats were offering an all-in quote of 600c/kg. When the bonuses are included it leaves the two ICM plants top by virtue of their 10c/kg top-up for quality assured stock.
Both western plants are on a 6c/kg bonus for U grades. The base figures are identical to where they were at this time last year.
Farmers I spoke to yesterday morning were refusing to sell below 620c/kg and were quietly confident they would secure it for killing today. Supplies, while plentiful over the past week, seemed to have tightened significantly by yesterday and the colder and wetter weather this week will probably lead to further tightening of numbers.
The hoggets, despite being 30-40c/kg ahead of where they were on the first Tuesday in May 2013, are back 10c/kg on last week with all the major players offering a base of 550c/kg plus the various bonuses, which are similar to the bonuses on offer for the lambs. Kildare Chilling are continuing with their 5c/kg quality assurance (QA) payment on top of the 5c/kg for Us.
Commenting on the trade, the IFA's John Lynskey said that factories were having to pay 620-640c/kg including bonuses to get spring lambs and between 580-600c/kg for hoggets. He added that with supplies from the North tightening, factories were finding it difficult to get adequate supplies of hoggets.