Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Extra 5-10c/kg on lamb quotes

Joe Healy

LAMBS are like the Kilkenny hurlers in that they continue to improve as the year progresses.

Quotes may not have risen by the amounts that the Cats are beating opponents by, but there is still a noticeable 5-10c/kg increase from last week.

Better still, from a farmer's point of view, is that the continuing tight supplies mean that the factories are having to pay well above the quoted figures to get anywhere near adequate numbers. Up to 470c/kg has been paid to farmers so far this week.

The quotes range from 440c/kg plus the bonus in Dawn Ballyhaunis, the Kepak and ICM plants, up to an all-in quote of 455c/kg on offer from Moyvalley Meats. Kildare Chilling is quoting a base of 450c/kg plus the 6c/kg for the U grades plus 5c/kg for quality-assured lambs.

Farmers need to be aware that the ball is in their court at the moment and there is plenty of room to negotiate on price and carcass weight. While the plants will talk about weights of 21.5kg, most are freely paying to 22kg. Based on prices being paid, this extra kilogramme is worth €2.30/lamb. Kildare and Hacketstown remain tops for the cull ewes with a quote of 250c/kg. Thereafter, there is very little change, with both of the Kepak and ICM plants on 240c/kg. Dawn Ballyhaunis is offering 220c/kg while Moyvalley is not quoting for the ewes.

Bord Bia reported that the lamb trade picked up slightly this week as ongoing tight supplies helped trade. Quotes for lambs by the end of the week were around 445c/kg with reports of more being available for better quality animals. The cull ewe trade remains steady with quotes in the range of 230-240c/kg.

In the UK, the live market trade strengthened significantly as the week progressed, reflecting some weakening in supplies as exchange rates remain largely unchanged. The average new season SQQ price in England and Wales stood at the equivalent of 467c/kg including VAT by the weekend.

In France, quotes for Grade 1 Irish spring lamb delivered to Paris stood at around 465c/kg including VAT with demand improving as the Ramadan festival begins this week.

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Further afield, the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) said the outlook for the global lamb market is expected to remain bright. New Zealand lamb prices since the start of the year have increased by almost 37pc to €2.97/kg.

The latest revised estimate is for New Zealand lamb production for the remainder of the 2009-10 marketing season to the end of September, to fall in the region of 5pc to 21.5m head. The key driver behind this revision is the expansion in the dairy herd at the expense of the breeding ewe flock. The final breeding ewe numbers released by Statistics NZ for June 30, 2009, show a 480,000hd decrease on the previous estimate at 22.17m head. More evidence of a slowdown in lamb output is the drop of 10pc recorded in the number of lambs born. New Zealand sheepmeat exports for the first half of the year are up 1pc to 234,800t.

Irish Independent