Easter push edges quotes up to 650c/kg

Joe Healy

Plenty of customers and good demand has resulted in another rise in sheep prices. Having said that, some of the factory men were anxious to point out that this is the week for peak prices for lambs, and particularly the first few days of the week, as processors secure adequate supplies to satisfy the Easter trade.

Moyvalley, despite being the only plant to remain at last week's level of 650c/kg, is still sharing the top of the table with Kildare, which has a base quote of 639 plus 5c/kg quality assurance on top of the normal 6c/kg bonus. This base is an improvement of 14c/kg -- or €3/lamb -- since this day last week.

Dawn Ballyhaunis and the two ICMs have upped quotes by 15c/kg to 640c/kg plus 6c/kg, while the Kepak plants are quoting 630c/kg plus the bonus.

Kildare is offering the top price for hoggets with its quote of 574c/kg plus 6c/kg plus 5c/kg. Moyvalley is unchanged at an all-in 580c/kg. The ICM plants and Dawn are at the same level of 570c/kg plus the bonus, while the two Kepak plants are quoting 560c/kg plus 5c/kg.

If farmers are selling at what they are being quoted, they are losing a lot of money as prices being paid to hard sellers are well in excess of the quoted figures.

The IFA's James Murphy said spring lambs were making 660-680c/kg to 21kg, while 615-620c/kg was being paid for hoggets.

Kildare has made it a clean sweep over all the categories by also paying the top price for cull ewes with its quote of 330c/kg. Both ICM plants and Kepak Hacketstown are offering 310c/kg. The western plants are on 300c/kg. Again, a bit of bargaining could pay off here, as up to 350c/kg has been paid.

Meanwhile, Bord Bia reported that the trade remained firm over the past week, helped by a build-up in demand in advance of Easter, while supplies remain tight. Quotes for hoggets stood at around €5.90/kg, while quotes for spring lamb were generally around €6.40/kg. With manufacturing demand showing little signs of easing, the cull ewe trade remained strong as quotes remained unchanged at €3/kg.

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In Britain, the hogget trade eased slightly in response to stronger supplies of spring lamb emerging onto the market. The live market prices made the equivalent of €6/kg deadweight including VAT by the weekend. Despite spring lamb supplies strengthening, prices were around €6.90/kg by the weekend.

In France, some promotional activity helped maintain demand for sheepmeat. This, combined with tight supplies of Irish product, has improved prices for Irish grade 1 hoggets to €6.31/kg inclusive of VAT.

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