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.