Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 February 2018

Lambs and ewes rise by 5-10c/kg

Good news on the sheep front with quotes and prices up for both the lambs and the cull ewes. Most of the plants are up by between 5c/kg and 10c/kg.

Despite no increase from Kildare Chilling their extra 5c/kg for quality assured lambs on top of the base of 480c/kg plus the 5c/kg for U grades keeps them in pole position.

Shadowing them all the way are the ICMs and Dawn Ballyhaunis. A 10c/kg increase in the ICM plants brings them up to a base of 480c/kg plus the bonus and they are paying to 21kg. Dawn's quote is for quality assured lambs to 20.5kg.

Kepak Athleague are up 4c/kg to 474c/kg plus 6c/kg, while Hacketstown's 475c/kg plus the bonus was for yesterday only. Moyvalley also shows an improvement of 5c/kg leaving them on an all-in quote of 480c/kg.

Factories are anxious for stock at the moment with Ramadan starting next Friday. Farmers need to bargain hard on price and carcase weight as there are significant variations on both between processors. Every half kg is worth between €2.45-2.50/lamb. A farmer selling at €5/lamb to 22kg is getting €11.60 more per lamb than his counterpart accepting €4.80 to 20.5/kg.

IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said that the lamb trade had improved with deals being done for €5 on weights of 21-22kg. He said the poor weather conditions were keeping supplies extremely tight. Cull ewe quotes also improved by 5-10c/kg. This leaves all of the plants offering 230c/kg apart from Moyvalley. They are not quoting for the culls.

According to Bord Bia, a drop in lamb supplies from the United Kingdom has helped drive returns here at home. Over the coming weeks, trade is likely to improve further as Ramadan approaches.

Quotes for lambs by the end of the weekend were close to €4.90/kg. Demand for cull ewes remained firm, with quotes typically from €2.20-2.30/kg.

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To date, sheep supplies are running 5pc higher at 1.03 million head compared to last year's levels.

In Britain, trade was helped by a significant rise in domestic consumption, with the latest four-week period (ending June 10) showing an increase of 11pc. This is particularly important to the trade as exports are becoming increasingly uncompetitive due to exchange rate movement.

By the weekend, new season lambs at live markets across the United Kingdom were making the equivalent of around €5.62/kg.

In France, supplies of competitively priced Spanish and Portuguese lambs on the market were limited last week, while supplies of French lacaune lambs on the market have slowedconsiderably as their season comes to an end.

This has helped keep prices relatively similar to the previous week's levels, with Irish grade 1 spring lambs reportedly making up to €5.31/kg inclusive of VAT by the end of the week.

However, demand continues to be affected by unsettled weather conditions during what is typically the 'grilling' season.


Mixed views from the sheep marts around the country over the past week. In the main, prices were probably a tad tougher than recently, with a few premises reporting that lambs were back by €2-3/hd and moving at €45-55 with their weight. But prices were significantly sharper yesterday with Kilkenny, Fermoy and Athenry all reporting livelier demand.

The best for heavy cull ewes was €120. Ewes for breeding generally sold for €90-140, with ewe hoggets making up to €150.

At Kilkenny Mart the heavy lambs were up by €2-3/hd and making between €52 and €67 with their weight. The factory lambs were improved by €4/hd in a range of €50-57 over the €1/kg.

Fermoy Mart had over 400 sheep for sale. Lambs of 46-56kg made €46-57 over the €1/kg, while lighter lots sold for €35-45 with the weight. Ewe lambs sold to a top of €140. Cull ewes made from €76 to €95 each.

Lambs in Athenry met a much improved trade with the top price over the weight of €64 being some €6/hd better than the top price over at last weeks sale. Heavier types were making from €48 to €64 over the €1/kg. Lighter lots were making €45-50 over. Cull ewes ranged from €45 to €113, while breeding ewes and lambs at foot sold to €186/unit.

Numbers at Carnew Mart were smaller with 1,500 sheep on offer. Fat lambs were easier by €2/hd. Store prices remained steady. Butcher and factory lambs sold from €88-102 or €46-52 over the weight. Store lambs ranged from €62 to €85 reflecting a price of €32-47 over the €1/kg. Cull ewes made from €65 to €112. Breeding ewes sold for €110-148 each.

Mountbellew had larger numbers of sheep for sale. Good demand resulted in an extremely brisk trade. Lambs made €45-57 over the €1/kg. Heavy cull ewes sold to a top of €120, while a small entry of breeding ewes made up to €175 for the better quality lots.

Lamb prices were easier by €2-3/hd at Baltinglass Mart where the general run of 45-50kg lots were making €95-100. Lighter types weighing 40-45kg made up to €95/hd. Ewe lambs hit a high of €104. Prices for ewe hoggets varied from €120 to €150, while older ewes suitable for breeding sold for €95-110. Cull ewes made €50-85 each.

Lambs were making from €45 to €52 over at Ballymote Mart. Top quality lots made up to €58 over. The best of the hoggets made €140. Ewes for breeding sold to €110/hd.

Indo Farming