Farm Ireland

Thursday 19 April 2018

Factories may be more willing to move on weights than prices


Joe Healy

Trying to gauge the lamb trade on a bank holiday Monday morning is like trying to predict whose names will be on our presidential ballot papers -- difficult. However, it helps that quotes and prices have remained pretty steady throughout the past month, after the freefall during June.

Looking at the table, you will see that quotes from two of the plants are down, one has moved upwards and the rest remain similar to last week.

Kepak Hacketstown has moved up 5c/kg to a base quote of 475c/kg plus the bonus to leave it at the top of the table. Kepak Athleague has dropped its quote by 5c/kg to 470c/kg plus the bonus, thereby joining the ICM plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis.


However the big crash was with Moyvalley Meats, where a 15c/kg (or up to €3.30/lamb) reduction sees it fall to an all-in quote of 470c/kg. The difference brings the plant from top of the pile last week to bottom of the pile this week.

The 5c/kg quality assurance bonus and the normal 6c/kg bonus keeps Kildare Chilling towards the top of the rankings when added to its 470c/kg base.

With the Ramadan festival starting yesterday, most factory sources were saying that they had killed large numbers last week and were expecting a similar story this week, even though it is a four-day week.

From talking to farmers recently, I have noticed a huge variation in carcass payment weights, with some farmers only getting paid to 21.5kg, while others are bargaining for up to 23kg.

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The moral of the story is that while some plants might be reluctant to give much by way of a price increase, they may be more willing to move on weights. Taking an extra kilo at a price of 480c/kg, this would be equivalent to a price difference of up to 22c/kg over a 22kg carcass.

Reacting to the trade, IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said farmers were negotiating prices of 480-490c/kg and, in some cases, above this for better quality lots.

He said it was important that lambs continued to thrive at the moment: "Many farmers are weaning around this time and if lambs are not ready for sale, they need to be kept going on good-quality grass with some meal probably worthwhile also."

The cull ewe trade shows Kepak Hacketstown leading the way on 275c/kg, reflecting an increase of 15c/kg since this day last week.

Kildare and the two ICM plants are offering 270c/kg and 250c/kg is being quoted by the two western factories. Moyvalley remain on a low 220c/kg.

If you have a number of ewes to sell, get a few quotes and bargain as the processors are willing to pay well in excess of what they are quoting.

With good grass growth, there is no excuse for selling underfleshed ewes and losing money on them.

If you have to sell and your stock are not fit for slaughter, then sell them at the mart where the trade for store cull ewes continues to be very strong.

Just don't bring those thinner types to the factory.

The Suffolk society, celebrating their 125th anniversary this year, is holding its annual show and sale at Roscrea mart on Friday and Saturday.

Indo Farming