Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Demand beating supply as producers take gold

Joe Healy

The Irish men's U23 cross-country runners are not the only ones on a golden streak at the moment because the good fortune also continues for our lamb producers.

Yes, of course, the improvement to most of the road conditions has resulted in more lambs coming out but demand from factories and butchers shows no signs of easing. Base quotes from the plants are actually up by 10c/kg in all of the plants.

Moyvalley's all-in 480c/kg keeps them in pole position, even though when Kildare Chilling's quality assurance bonus of 5c/kg and the U grade bonus of 6c/kg are added to its base of 470c/kg, it more or less leaves the plant neck and neck with its neighbours. The ICMs, Kepak's and Dawn Ballyhaunis are all quoting 470c/kg plus the bonus. Most of the factory sources are freely admitting that while they need to be buying at less than €5/kg, farmers are flatly refusing to sell below this figure.

Some farmers with numbers are pushing hard for €5/kg to 23kg. Others are settling for it to 22.5kg. Several of those who are selling at the moment bought store lambs earlier on and had to pay well for them and now have to clear a minimum of €110/lamb to make it a worthwhile exercise. They can't afford to, or won't, sell for less.

The mart trade is also helping to keep the trade up as butchers are reported to be extremely active around the country.

The IFA's James Murphy said that supplies remain tight and this, coupled with a strong demand, meant factories were paying up to €5/kg in order to encourage farmers to sell their stock.

Quotes for cull ewes have also increased, with a number of the plants up by as much as 20c/kg since last week. Those include the two ICMs and Dawn Ballyhaunis. They are now on 280c/kg and join Kildare at the top of the table. Kepak Hacketstown is unchanged at 270c/kg while Athleague remains on 260c/kg. Prices of up to €3/kg and more are being reported.

The sheep trade improved last week, according to An Bord Bia, as supplies remained very scarce. Quotes for lambs started the week at around 460c/kg, with reports of considerably more being available. The light lamb trade continued to benefit from stronger demand with quotes making up to 460c/kg.

Also Read

In the UK, a slight weakening in sterling, combined with tighter supplies, helped prices during the week. Towards the end of the week, prices reached the equivalent of 463c/kg deadweight including VAT.

In France, volumes of market lamb increased towards the weekend after disruptions as a result of the severe weather. Grade 1 Irish lambs delivered to Rungis, Paris, were around 505c/kg for much of the week.

Irish Independent