Farm Ireland

Monday 18 December 2017

Lamb price 20c/kg over factory quotes

Good news on the sheep front, as quotes rise despite a huge reluctance from all the plants.

More importantly is the fact that the figures you see on the table are more or less irrelevant if you are selling lambs.

Prices of up to 550c/kg are being successfully negotiated by individuals, 20/kg over quoted prices.

However, from a producer group point of view it is a different story and at the moment these groups are feeling very hard done by and adamant that they are being hammered by the decision of factories to keep their quotes so low.

This in turn means that the bonus they are on as a group still falls short of the prices many other farmers working on their own are securing.

Kildare Chilling top the list today. Their 10c/kg lift since last Tuesday pushes them up to a base of 530c/kg plus the two 5c/kg bonuses for quality assured (QA) stock and U grades. Most of the rest are quoting 525c/kg plus the bonus, with Kepak Hacketstown's quote being for yesterday only. Moyvalley's 525c/kg is an all-in figure.

Again, I will reiterate the need for farmers to keep their lambs thriving and moved on when fit and at the proper weight.

If they go over weight the mart is the best option as there is no point killing a lamb with a carcass weight of 23-24kg and not getting a cent for the extra weight above 21-21.5kg.

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Wholesaler and butcher buying is strong at the marts for this type of lamb.

Commenting on the trade, the IFA's James Murphy said that lamb prices had improved on the back of tight supplies and strong competition from live buying. He said that factories were paying 550c/kg to 21.5kg, while the live buyers were paying 250c/kg liveweight.

The few remaining hoggets coming out are extremely mixed in weight and quality. Kepak Athleague are the only processor offering a quote and show no change to their recent quote of 460c/kg plus 5c/kg .

Kildare are also tops for the cull ewes despite no change to their quote of 200c/kg. The ICM plants, Kepak Athleague and Dawn Ballyhaunis remain on a quote of 190c/kg.

The lamb trade in Britain improved during the week, reflecting some recovery in export demand, coupled with some favourable exchange rate movement.

By the weekend, new season lamb at live markets across England and Wales were making the equivalent of around €6.20/kg deadweight.

In France, trade improved slightly due to some weakening in French Lacaune lamb supplies.

Demand for Irish product over the coming weeks is expected to strengthen as the Ramadan period approaches next month.


Meanwhile in the marts, the buying for live export has really been a welcome boost to the lamb trade.

The timing was perfect and it has helped to counteract the attempts by the factories to pull quotes and prices at the beginning of the month.

Almost all marts reported an improvement to trade over the past week, with lamb prices up by a range from €1-10/hd.

Lively buying by a live exporter in Athenry yesterday, mainly for lambs between 40-45kg, helped put a floor under the trade overall with the nicely done lamb making from €60-71 over their weight.

Down in Fermoy, it was the butchers that were driving the trade, with the well fleshed lambs from 44-57kg making between €55-76 with the €1/kg.

Lambs were up by €3/hd in Kilkenny yesterday, where 650 of the 800 sheep on offer were lambs. The heavy lambs over 50kg topped out at €135 and in general sold for €56-78 with their weight in a price range of €110-135. Lambs between 40-50kg made €54-73 over the weight, selling for €95-120.

Prices were up by €5-10/hd for the 1,000 sheep on offer at Carnew Mart. Butcher and factory lambs ranged from €100 to €123 or €60-75 over the weight. Stores sold for €77-98 or €45-60 over the weight.

The sheep trade was stronger at Dowra Mart on Saturday last, with the factory and butcher lambs making from €90 to €119 each, while the store lambs made €55-85.

The best pens of hogget ewes were selling from €80 to €105, while lighter hoggets sold for €60-80. Feeding ewes were making €35-55. Young ewes with twin lambs at foot made from €150 to €200, while ewes with singles made €120-180.

Factory and butcher type lambs on offer at Ballymote Mart ranged in price from €55 to €67 with the €1/kg.

Spring lambs were up by €1-3/hd at Baltinglass Mart selling for €103-115/hd. Store lambs made from €50-80/hd. Ewes with lambs at foot were selling from €105 to €150.

Mountbellew reported large numbers of sheep on offer. Cull ewes met with a brisk trade and ranged from €60 to €117.

Lambs also met with a strong trade, with prices up well on the previous week and making in excess of €2.65/kg.

Irish Independent