While there is great joy in Kilkenny at the birth of a twin girl almost 3 months after her sister, it is a different story for sheep farmers selling cull ewes. The past 12 weeks has seen the quote drop by as much as 20pc.
Spring lamb is also very disappointing, with the processors succeeding in their quest to pull the quotes below the already low €6/kg. Moyvalley are the only plant to keep their heads above the €6/kg with their all-in figure of 605c/kg. This still reflects a fall of 15c/kg over the week. The ICMs, Kepaks and Dawn Ballyhaunis are all back 10c/kg to a base quote of 590c/kg plus the bonus for U grades. Kildare Chilling were not in a position to give me a quote for the lambs but I did hear prices of 610c/kg mentioned. In relation to the hoggets, a price of up to 550c/kg was mentioned for the Lily-White plant even though their quote was 520c/kg plus the two 5c/kg bonuses for U grades and quality assured stock.
Commenting on the trade, the IFA sheep chairman, James Murphy said that with the hoggets disappearing fast, factories needed to make the changeover to spring lamb.
Mr Murphy also said that the price range of 605-620c/kg being paid for this year's lambs was totally inadequate.
As already mentioned, the cull ewe trade is poor with very little factory interest. The plants that are quoting, namely Dawn, the ICMs, Kepak Hacketstown and Kildare Chilling are all on 200c/kg, or almost €1/kg behind last years level for the corresponding week.
Quotes for hoggets by the end of the week were still making from €5.20-5.30/kg. Prices paid for limited supplies of spring lamb were €6.00/kg, with more being reportedly paid in places. Cull ewes were generally making around €2.00/kg.
Trade across Britain remained solid, despite demand on overseas markets being somewhat slow.
In France, trade is reasonable despite poor weather.
Most of the fit new season lambs are selling between €100-125. The best quality lambs are making from €125-150. Prices of €90-115 are buying most of the hoggets, and it is taking a good cull ewe to hit up towards the €100 mark.
Despite quotes and prices being sluggish in the factories, the mart trade for nicely finished lambs remains pretty strong with some very good prices were paid yesterday.
Fermoy was the pick of the bunch with a tops of €101 over the weight when €147 was paid for 46kg. Top price was €151 for 53kg.
The best price over the weight at Athenry Mart was €80 when 45kg sold for €125. The top price was €127 for 50kg. There were1,100 sheep on offer at Carnew Mart where a good strong trade was reported for all classes. Spring lambs sold from €110-123 each. Butcher and factory hogget prices varied from €110-126. Stores ranged from €65-105. Cull ewes sold from €45-100.
The number of sheep on offer at Mountbellew Mart were similar to the previous week. Spring lambs met with good demand, as did ewe hoggets and quality lots of fleshed hoggets. Ewes with lambs at foot were back a tad and selling from €110-145. The quality pens of new season lambs were selling from €110-128 or from €65-78 over the weight. Prices for the cull ewes ranged from €40-84.
Spring lambs at Baltinglass Mart sold from €95-120. Fit hoggets made from €80-105, while stores were selling from €50-75.
The sheep trade was quieter at Dowra Mart on Saturday with the best of the hoggets making from €90-115 each.
The lighter feeding lots made from €55-75. Ewes with single lambs at foot sold from €75-135 while ewes with pairs made from €100-180 each.
At Tuam Mart the hoggets between 44-56kg ranged from €1.96-2.65/kg.
Up in Ballina, the spring lamb sold from €100-116. Cull ewes for slaughter made up to €108 with feeders selling back to as low as €40. A few pens of ewes with twin lambs at foot sold for €120-135 while lots with singles sold for €100.