Farm Ireland

Thursday 14 December 2017

Hogget quotes hit €5/kg mark

Caitriona Murphy and Joe Healy

Factory lamb prices rose for the seventh week in a row this week, with an increase of 20-30c/kg in quotes yesterday morning.

Factories are now officially quoting base prices of around €5/kg for old season lamb but are paying up to 50c/kg more to farmers in order to secure scarce supplies.

The first new season lambs to be killed in 2013 were reported to have been killed at a quote of €6/kg.

Strong domestic demand is driving demand for hoggets and lambs, with wholesalers and factories competing for the limited numbers on offer.

However, despite the increases of recent weeks, quotes are still 15-40c/kg behind last year. Base quotes of 515-540c/kg were on offer from factories for the same week in 2012.

IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said strong demand and scarcity in sheep numbers should lift the market further. He added new season lamb quotes of €6/kg would not be attractive to early lamb producers.

"This has been one of the highest cost years ever for farmers involved in early lamb production," said Mr Murphy.

"If hoggets are making 550c/kg today, then new season lamb should be making 650c/kg at a minimum."

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Meanwhile, rising factory prices for cattle are having a knock-on effect at the marts. Price rises of €20-50/hd were reported by marts in the past week.

Cattle ready or almost ready for the factory were in strongest demand, with buyers active for quality steers under 500kg and heifers over 500kg.

Irish Independent