Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Good times return as quotes up 5-10c/kg across the board

Joe Healy

The good times returned for former Eurovision winner Niamh Kavanagh on Friday when she took maximum votes for her song, It's for You, to qualify for this year's contest in Norway.

Well, I think it is fair to say that the good times returned for sheep farmers last November when a surge in live exports created strong competition in the market place and prices began to rise steadily almost every week.

Yes, there was the odd blip along the way with last week being a case in point. However, the good times are back, with every plant increasing their quotes by 5-10c/kg. Let's hope that neither the lambs nor Niamh meet the same fate as our previous Eurovision turkeys.

As for today, Kildare is getting the "douze points" with its top quote of 470c/kg plus the 6c/kg bonus for the better grades. Moyvalley's 470c/kg is an all-inclusive quote. The Kepak and ICM plants are offering 465c/kg plus the bonus while Dawn Ballyhaunis is the "Dustin" this week with its 460c/kg plus 6c/kg.

Kepak Athleague was anxious to let farmers know they will be buying the lighter milk lamb next week. This is a short-lived market in the run-up to Easter for lambs killing out from 9-12kg carcass weight. They are not sure of the price yet but last year those lambs opened at 650c/kg so it may be attractive to some farmers with old ewes where grass is extremely tight. This ewe could then be sold off while the trade is still strong.

With the trade very steady and with 480c/kg being freely paid on carcasses of 22.5-23kg IFA's James Murphy said that some outlets were paying in excess of this in order to get adequate supplies. He added that ewes were making up to 280c/kg.

On quotes, Kildare is tops again with 260c/kg being offered. Both Kepaks are next on 250c/kg. The two ICMs are quoting an unchanged 240c/kg while in keeping with their position on the lamb table, Dawn Ballyhaunis is propping up the ewe quotes also with its 220c/kg.

Bord Bia reported that the sheep trade remained steady on the Irish market as continuing tight supplies and a stable domestic market help offset lower volumes of lamb being exported. Quotes for lambs at export meat plants have risen slightly to 465c/kg while trade for cull ewes has firmed with quotes in the region of 240c/kg to 250c/kg being reported this week, reflecting a strong manufacturing demand for mutton.

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For the week ending February 27, total sheep supplies at export meat plants reached 31,000 head, some 5,600 head below the same week in 2009.

In the UK, trade at the live markets remained relatively steady this week due mainly to tight supplies. By the end of the week, the average old-season SQQ price stood at the equivalent of 466c/kg including VAT in England and Wales, despite sterling strengthening slightly.

Irish Independent