It seems we need the Munster forwards to push the lamb quotes up to acceptable levels. Most of the plants are remaining steadfast at 620c/kg, with one plant dropping to 600c/kg and another not quoting.
Moyvalley has lifted some of the gloom with an all-in quote of 650c/kg. Neighbouring Kildare Chilling has dropped to 600c/kg, while the ICMs and the Kepak plants are offering a base of 620c/kg plus the bonus.
Dawn were not in a position to quote when contacted yesterday morning.
Farmers selling are extremely anxious to negotiate higher prices. The harsh weather over the past few months has increased the production cost of new season lamb. The trade for heavy lambs remained strong, driven by butcher demand in the marts.
Three plants have upped their quotes for the hoggets.
Dawn Ballyhaunis has improved by 4c/kg to an all-in quote of 529c/kg. Both Kepak plants are up by 5c/kg to a base of 525c/kg plus the bonus.
The ICMs and Kildare offered a base of 520c/kg plus the bonus for the U grades, with Kildare paying the extra 5c/kg for quality assured (QA) hoggets. Moyvalley offered 530c/kg all-in.
IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said that despite some negative pressure from the factories, they had to pay 550c/kg to get hoggets and 650c/kg for new season lambs. He added that factories had to act responsibly and accept that this spring was the most expensive feeding period on record for farmers.
Quotes for cull ewes are unchanged from last week, with the ICM plants, Dawn, Kildare and Kepak Hacketstown all offering 230c/kg.
Due to the lack of feed on farms, more ewes than normal are being off-loaded at the moment. This is playing into the processors' hands and, as a result, 240c/kg was the highest quote received.
Meanwhile, Bord Bia described the sheep trade as steady, with demand remaining broadly stable across the key export markets following the Easter period.
Quotes for hoggets were €5.20-5.30/kg. Prices paid for limited supplies of spring lamb were €6.20/kg, with more being paid in places. Trade in Britain firmed again during the past week reflecting strong demand for relatively tight supplies. Old season lamb at live markets across England and Wales made €5.66/kg dw, while new season lamb made €6.93/kg.
Market demand remains solid in France following the Easter period. The Irish Grade 1 lamb price was €5.66/kg.
The sheep trade was relatively unchanged at the marts around the country over the past week. Numbers of new season lambs are increasing and nicely fleshed types generally commanded prices of €120-140. Most of the fleshed hoggets sold for between €100 and €125. Fat cull ewes made around €100, with some making up to €125. Ewes with a single or twin lambs at foot made anything from €115 to €215.
Fermoy Mart yesterday posted some of the better prices, with a top price of €143 for 47kg, equating to €96 over the €/kg. Hoggets were making from €60-77 over the weight as prices for nicely fleshed lots ran from €110-132. At Athenry Mart fit spring lambs were making anything from €70-85 over the €1/kg. Lighter types were selling for €50-65 over.
Mountbellew Mart had large numbers were on offer and trade was steady. New season lambs are still scarce and the few presented for sale made €122-133. First crop ewes with twin lambs at foot made up to €170. Older ewes with single lambs moved for €115.
There were no changes to the trade in Enniscorthy. Butcher hoggets were selling for prices of €115-125 or €65-75 over the €1/kg. Factory types moved at €100-114 or €64-72 with their weight. Stores sold at prices of €70-81. Spring lambs made up to €125.
Carnew had 1,200 sheep on offer. Trade and prices were firm. Butcher and factory hoggets sold in a price-range of €113-129. Store hogget's ranged from €65 to €108.
Cull ewes traded at €55-103, while ewes with lambs at foot made €120-215/unit.
The sheep trade was slightly back on the previous week at Dowra Mart. Ewes with single lambs made €80-140. Ewes with pairs sold for €120-200 each. Cull ewes for feeding sold from €35-60, while heavier ewes made €60-90 each.
Butcher hoggets in Tuam sold for €2.20-2.50/kg or from €110-130/hd. Cull ewes sold up to €120.
Heavy lambs made up to €112 at Baltinglass Mart.