Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Lamb prices rise 5c/kg but French market still subdued

Joe Healy

If our rugby defence had been as steady in New Zealand as the lamb prices have proved over the past week, then we wouldn't have leaked three soft tries against the Welsh.

The good news for sheep farmers is that three of the processors have increased their quotes by 5c/kg, with the rest retaining the status quo since this day last week.

Moyvalley and Kildare Chilling are still top of the pile, with Moyvalley on an all-in quote of 450c/kg and its neighbour offering a base quote of 440c/kg plus a 6c/kg bonus for better lambs, as well as the 5c/kg for quality assured stock.

Thereafter, the rest of the plants are quoting a 440c/kg base price plus the bonus.

The two ICM plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis increased their quotes by the aforementioned 5c/kg to bring them up into line with the others.


Word from the factories is that despite an unexcited market, supplies are reasonably tight and this, allied to a steady domestic trade, is helping to keep prices pretty firm.

A number of the factory buyers mentioned an obvious lack of thrive in some lambs recently, with farmers reluctant to feed meal regardless of weather conditions.

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My advice to farmers is to ensure that lambs keep thriving. At this stage, that necessitates meal being introduced into the diet. It helps get lambs fit for slaughter faster, as well as improving the kill-out percentage. When selling, shop around for the best prices and be careful of any reductions suggested for carcass weights and/or sheared lambs.

IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said that a tightening of lamb numbers being offered last week meant factories were willing to pay up to 460c/kg to get supplies.

When bonuses were taken into account, some producer groups were getting much more, he added.

Kildare and Kepak Hacketstown lead the way on cull ewe prices, with their 265c/kg quotes. The ICM plants are on 260c/kg, while the two western plants are quoting an unchanged 250c/kg.


The sheep trade remained largely unchanged last week, according to Bord Bia, as tightening supplies were sufficient to match both domestic and overseas demand levels. Large UK volumes continue to dominate the French market.

Quotes for lambs for most of the week were up to €4.45kg. The cull trade recovered somewhat, with prices typically at €2.60-2.65/kg in response to tighter supplies.

Sheep supplies to date are running 2pc higher than the corresponding period last year.

In the UK, some further strengthening in the euro against the pound helped stabilise trade, despite strong volumes combined with a subdued market demand in France.

By the weekend, the live market prices were unchanged at the equivalent of €4.47/kg including VAT for lambs.

In France, prices for limited volumes of Irish grade 1 lamb were still making up to €4.68/kg inclusive of VAT by the end of the week, despite supplies from the UK remaining strong.

Indo Farming