Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Hoggets in demand as quotes rise 10-15c/kg

Joe Healy

Sheep farmers can be added to a list that includes the Irish rugby team, Irish horses and jockeys and the Clarinbridge hurlers -- it has been a great week for them all.

One success after another and with a further improvement to lamb quotes of 10-15c/kg, the man selling hoggets at the moment is probably the happiest of all mentioned above.

Retaining the top spot, a 10c/kg rise leaves Moyvalley Meats on an all-in quote of 550c/kg. Both Kepak plants are up by 15c/kg to a base of 535c/kg plus the bonus. For suitable stock, Kildare Chilling's 530c/kg plus the 5c/kg quality assurance on top of their normal 6c/kg bonus has them more or less equal to the Kepak plants. The two ICMs and Dawn Ballyhaunis are quoting 530c/kg plus 6c/kg.

While 23kg carcass weight is the official line, farmers are negotiating higher weights. Some of the factory men were anxious to point out that the quality of quite a few hoggets being offered left a lot to be desired and urged farmers to feed a bit more in order to get a proper finish to their stock.

Kildare, the ICMs and the Kepaks are all on an unchanged €6/kg for the new-season lamb, with 19kg the cut-off point.

Commenting on the trade, the IFA's James Murphy said that tight supplies had pushed prices up to 560c/kg, with young lamb prices having moved up to 620-630c/kg.

The cull ewe trade has also improved with half the plants upping their quotes to €3/kg. Included here are Kildare and both Kepak factories, while Dawn and the two ICMs are quoting 290c/kg.

The overall trade is continuing to benefit from tight Irish and British supplies combined with some improvement in demand across export markets, according to Bord Bia.

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Quotes for hoggets increased by around 10c to €5.30/kg for most of the week, while quotes for limited volumes of spring lamb appearing on the market were still generally around €6/kg. Elsewhere, strong manufacturing demand continues to maintain the cull ewe trade, with quotes of €2.80/kg still reported.


In Britain, the hogget trade strengthened further in response to tight supplies, despite the ongoing strengthening of sterling against the euro.

The livemarket prices were making the equivalent of €5.40/kg deadweight including VAT by the weekend, while limited volumes of spring lamb emerging on the market were making €6.25/kg.

In France, demand for lamb continues to improve. This, combined with tight supplies of Irish and British product, helped improve prices of Irish grade 1 lamb delivered to Paris by 30c -- to €5.90/kg -- for most of the week.

Irish shoppers traded-up to more premium meats over Christmas as sales of lamb increased by 15pc, according to Kantar World panel data for December.

This indicates that shoppers are willing to trade-up for particular occasions or to treat themselves.

Elsewhere, the results of the December British livestock survey released by Defra -- Britain's Department of Agriculture -- showed stability within their sheep flock.

British sheep numbers were largely unchanged in December at 21.3m head, while the breeding flock was stable at 13.86m head. The number of 'other sheep' was 1pc lower at 7.43m head as stronger prices and a lower lamb crop last year affected availability.

Indo Farming