Farm Ireland

Saturday 21 April 2018

Lamb quotes fall as demand is sluggish

Joe Healy

Floods, two All-Ireland final defeats, Connacht pipped by a try scored seven minutes into injury time and lamb quotes back by 10-15c/kg. Not a great week for Galway folk. It appears that all we have left to cling to is Michael D for president.

It is often said that all politicians are the same and that it doesn't matter which of them wins the election but, as far as the quotes are concerned for today, all of the factories are very definitely the same and the farmer is certainly not winning.

A base quote of 420c/kg is being offered by the two Kepaks, Dawn Ballyhaunis, Kildare Chilling and both ICM plants. All are paying a bonus for the U grades with Kildare also offering an extra 5c/kg for quality assured lambs.

Moyvalley are quoting an all-in 425c/kg. Compared with four weeks ago, those quotes have dropped by close to 30c/kg or €6.60 on a 22kg carcass. Factory sources say that demand at the moment is sluggish, with supplies more than adequate.

IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said there is strong farmer resistance to the factory price pressure with a standoff from suppliers who consider that their stock are worth 440-450c/kg.

Some farmers have got 440c/kg this week. If you are selling, remember to maximise carcass weight as well as price. An extra half kilo is worth €2.10-2.20 or 10c/kg.

Quotes for the cull ewes remain steady. Kildare and Kepak Hacketstown are tops on 250c/kg. The ICMs and Kepak Athleague are quoting 240c/kg. Dawn Ballyhaunis are offering an unchanged 220c/kg, while Moyvalley are not quoting at all.

To date, sheep supplies are back by almost 231,200 or almost 15pc on last year's levels. According to the latest figures from Bord Bia, the kill to date is 1.38m head.

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Lamb supplies in Britain have eased as the week progressed. During the early part of the week, the average new season SQQ price in England and Wales was making the equivalent of 441c/kg including VAT, before finishing up at 421c/kg including VAT, as the weak trade was not helped by large supplies emerging on the market.

In France, quotes for Grade 1 Irish spring lamb delivered to Paris were reportedly steady throughout the week, with quotes still making 445-450c/kg including VAT.

However, demand has been slow to respond to the close of Ramadan yesterday.

Elsewhere, the latest survey of the New Zealand sheep flock at the end of June shows an increase of almost 3pc on corresponding 2009 levels at 33.2m head.

The increase in numbers was attributed to increased retention of hoggets, reflecting some recovery in confidence within the sector due to stronger prices.

Hogget numbers are estimated to have increased by over 10pc to 10.1m head. However, breeding ewe numbers fell slightly to 22m head. This follows falls of 10pc and 6pc in 2008 and 2009 respectively, which indicates the sector is stabilising.

However, the flock is now at its lowest level since 1951-52. Overall lamb production is expected to fall by 3pc to 410,000t, with exports predicted to fall by almost 5pc to 310,000t.

Irish Independent