Farm Ireland

Saturday 18 November 2017

Ewe trade needs an end to hoggets

Weight and technique could prove to be the big difference between Leinster and Ulster next Saturday.

At the moment, weight and more especially the farmers' ability to get an extra 0.5-1kg from the factories is the difference between getting a reasonable or a borderline price.

I am aware of a few lamb producers holding out for and getting paid up to 21kg over the past week. At €5.60/kg, this obviously is worth an extra €5.60/lamb. But if you wanted to make this up on price alone on a 20kg carcass, you would need to bargain for an extra 28c/kg. Not many farmers successfully get the processors to up their price by this much.

While there are still a few hoggets being offered, the fact is that they are coming to an end, even though what is being slaughtered is extremely mixed.

Quotes for the hoggets range from a low of 420c/kg base plus 6c/kg in Dawn Ballyhaunis up to 450c/kg in Moyvalley. The Kepaks' quote of 430c/kg plus the bonus was for yesterday only. Kildare are offering 425c/kg plus the 6c/kg and 5c/kg bonuses.

Even though they are killing a few, the ICMs are not quoting for today. It is important for farmers to sell on the last of their hoggets at this stage. If you have hoggets and ewes, sell the hoggets first. They are hindering the cull ewe trade. If they were gone out of the system, the trade would recover some of the ground it has lost over the past few weeks.

The two ICM plants lead the way on the quotes for the spring lambs, with their base of 560c/kg plus the 6c/kg bonus. This unchanged figure from last week has them 10c/kg ahead of Dawn Ballyhaunis and Kildare Chilling, but the latter makes up some of the slack by virtue of their extra 5c/kg quality assurance bonus.

Again, as with the hoggets, the quotes from the Kepak plants were for yesterday only. Moyvalley are the only plant to show an improvement from last week with the 5c/kg increase bringing them up to an all-in 555c/kg.

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The cull ewe quotes are in the 250-260c/kg bracket.

Kildare and Dawn are on the higher figure with the ICMs and Kepaks offering 250c/kg.


The story from the marts over the past few days is that ewe hoggets made up to €150, cull ewes for killing sold from €100-120, ewes with a lamb or lambs at foot sold from €150-€285 with nicely fleshed lambs generally making €60-75 over the weight.

Well fleshed lambs were selling at Fermoy Mart yesterday, with a lot of the over 48kg types making from €68-82 with the €1/kg. The 40-48kg lambs were selling for €60-70 over their weight. At Athenry Mart, prices for the good lambs ranged from €62 to €72 over the €1/kg.

Spring lambs made from €100 to €112 at Baltinglass Mart, while the wether hoggets sold up to €85. Ewes with lambs at foot made up to €230.

The sheep trade was quieter on Saturday at Dowra Mart. There were big numbers of ewes with lambs at foot on offer.

The best of the young ewes with pairs made from €180 to €250, while hoggets and young ewes with singles made €150-200 each.

Up in Raphoe the fleshed lambs were selling for €58-76 over their weight, with the stores moving at €48-67 over. Cull ewes ranged from €70 to €123. Prices for ewes with a single lamb at foot ran from €114 to €168, while the ewes with a pair of lambs sold for €154-285/unit.

Ewes with lambs at foot topped out at €245 in Tuam Mart where the best of the cull ewes sold to €105. Good spring lambs were selling for €60-70 with the €1/kg.

Trade was reported as being back by €3-4/hd for New Season lambs at Enniscorthy Mart. Generally they sold for €65-70 over the weight in a price range of €108-116. Hogget prices ran from €90-€110 or €45-55 with the €1/kg. Ewe hoggets made €130-150. Light cull ewes for further feeding were selling for €40-77 each, while heavier types made from €90 to €115. Yearlings with a single lamb at foot sold for €170-215.

Sheep numbers are beginning to drop off at Mayo-Sligo Mart but trade remains steady. Breeding ewes were making €90-124. Culls sold from €38-€110, while ewes with twin lambs-at-foot made up to €200.

Indo Farming