Factories willing to pay well above base quotes to close deals
Brendan Behan once said that "he was a drinker with a writing problem". Sheep producers have often had very good reason to say that "they are farmers with an income and profit problem".
Thankfully however, the positivity of 2014 is continuing to date this year. Demand is strong and factories are keen for supplies and willing to pay well above the base quotes if it means closing the deal.
As you will see from the table there is little or no change to the base quotes apart from Moyvalley meats where a 10c/kg rise moves them up to an all-in quote of €5.40/kg. The rest remain on €5.20/kg plus the bonuses.
The two ICM plants are offering a 10c/kg quality assurance top-up while Kildare are offering 5c/kg for U grades and a further 5c/kg for QA lambs.
The 6c/kg bonus from Kepak is also for QA stock. Dawn Ballyhaunis have become extremely media-shy and have only quoted once since last October.
Farmers selling are quite easily securing prices above €5.50 with factories also proving to be flexible on weights.
Some sellers have got paid to 24kg. Do your own maths and know your lambs to help you decide on how a higher price/kg to 23 kg might fare against a slightly lower price to 24kg. Each kg is worth at least €5.50 whereas you would need an extra 23-24c/kg on price to make up this figure. The 24kg though appears to be as good as it gets leaving you at a gross price of €132-133.
If you think your lambs are heavier and worth more than this, then the mart is a strong alternative with butcher demand remaining very strong. There are rumours of up to €5.60 being negotiated at one or two plants, but as yet this price is definitely not widespread.