Farm Ireland

Sunday 18 February 2018

Home trade helps to keep floor on prices despite slow demand

Joe Healy

If no news is good news, then the story on the sheep this week is acceptable as there is little or no change to the quotes across the board. The only movement in the spring lambs comes from Moyvalley where the quote has increased by 10c/kg to leave their all-in figure at 540c/kg. This is the best price available.

Thereafter, all of the rest are quoting a base of 530c/kg plus the bonus. ICM Camolin's quote was for yesterday only as they are not killing again until Thursday.

All of the plants agree that supplies remain tight, but that it is still sufficient for the relatively sluggish market they are selling into -- strong competition from French and Spanish milk lambs is keeping the Irish lamb price in check.

The expectation among a few of the plants is that if the weather heats up, as expected, it may lead to increased numbers of lambs coming out and this, in their opinion, may negatively affect prices. Having said that, many farmers are bargaining for -- and getting -- up to 550c/kg to 21kg, and more in some cases for their lambs.

IFA national sheep chairman James Murphy said lamb prices remain strong as factories are paying €5.50/kg up to 21kg.

He said supplies are tight, with the kill to date down 141,000hd compared to last year. He added that choice lots of spring lambs are meeting a very strong trade in the marts, with butchers and wholesalers offering up to the equivalent of €5.60-5.70/kg.


Supplies of hoggets are tightening, with the quality very mixed. Kepak Athleague are paying best with their base of 490c/kg plus the bonus. Kildare and the two ICM plants are next on 480c/kg plus 6c/kg. Moyvalley are offering 480c/kg all-in, while Kepak Hacketstown and Dawn Ballyhaunis are bottom of the pile quoting a base 470c/kg plus the bonus. As with the lambs, some farmers selling hoggets are bargaining for and getting 510-515c/kg for their stock. There is a big difference between 470c/kg and 510c/kg. Put this 40c/kg over 23kg and you are losing more than €9/lamb compared to your fellow farmer who has bargained to maximise his price.

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Cull ewe quotes range from a high of 260c/kg in Kildare down to the 220c/kg being offered by Moyvalley and Dawn Ballyhaunis. Kepak Hacketstown are quoting 240c/kg, with the rest on 230c/kg.

In Britain, the live market trade eased slightly due to sterling strengthening somewhat, making lamb exports slightly less competitive. This, combined with supplies increasing marginally as the week progressed, left the average new season SQQ price at the equivalent of 597c/kg including VAT in England and Wales.

In France, the lamb trade remained steady as tight British supplies have helped maintain prices. Limited volumes of Irish spring lamb on the market 579-590c/kg for Grade 1 carcasses delivered to Paris, Bord Bia reported.

Irish Independent