Farm Ireland

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Limited supplies spark factory quotes increase

Joe Healy

There was good news on the double for sheep farmers, with quotes returning to the upward spiral and three of our young and upcoming sheep farmers doing what even our esteemed rugby men failed to do in Paris.

Niall Brennan, from Gurteen Agricultural College, took first prize in the European young shepherd competition held over the weekend in the French capital, while Leslie Armitage of WIT and Kildalton's Sean O'Connor took second and third prizes respectively. Congratulations to all concerned there.

Meanwhile, it has been another positive week for the lamb trade with limited supplies forcing most of the factories to increase quotes by 5c/kg in an effort to encourage farmers to sell.

Moyvalley held onto the top spot by retaining its high quote of an all-in 470c/kg. The two Kepak plants and Kildare Chilling are in hot pursuit on a base of 460c/kg plus the bonus. However, in Kildare's case, they are now also offering a quality assured bonus of another 6c/kg to qualifying and signed-up farmers, similar to what is pretty well established in the cattle. As of yet, less than 25pc of sheep farmers are involved.

Dawn Ballyhaunis and both ICMs are quoting 455c/kg plus 6c/kg. ICM Camolin's quote was for yesterday only, as they are not killing again until Thursday. Moyvalley did not kill yesterday but are back today and will kill tomorrow and Friday.

Remember that these are only quotes and your comrades around the country are successfully bargaining for much more than the figures quoted, and also increasing the carcass weights by half a kilogramme.

The cull ewe trade remains strong. Quotes vary from a high of 260c/kg in Kildare Chilling down to the 220c/kg on offer in Dawn Ballyhaunis. Kepak Athleague is quoting 240c/kg, as are the two ICMs, while an increase of 10c/kg puts Kepak Hacketstown now on 250c/kg.

Bord Bia reported that the sheep trade continued to hold up relatively well on the Irish market as tight supplies and a stable domestic market continue to help offset weaker French demand.

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Quotes for lambs at export meat plants have eased slightly to 460c/kg, while trade for cull ewes has recovered, with quotes in the order of 240c/kg being reported throughout the week.

Up to February 20, total sheep supplies at export meat plants reached 31,700/hd, some 5,800/hd below the same week last year. For January, sheep output fell by more than 21pc to 3,300 tonnes, compared to the same month last year, according to the CSO.

In the UK, trade at the live markets has eased slightly, again in response to lower demand from the French market. By the end of the week the average old season SQQ price stood at the equivalent of 463c/kg including VAT in England and Wales, despite sterling strengthening slightly.

In France, demand for lamb is seasonally quieter. Irish Grade 1 lambs delivered to Paris generally made around 495c/kg including VAT.

Irish Independent