Little optimism as quotes drop 5c/kg
Even though we are now officially on the run in to Christmas, there is little in the way of festive cheer for sheep farmers as far as the lamb trade is concerned.
Finishers with lambs to sell had hoped for a boost to the trade at this stage or, at the very least, some optimism for the coming weeks. However optimism was difficult to find among the factory agents I spoke to yesterday. While four of the factories held firm on their quotes this week, three plants cut their quotes by 5c/kg.
The good news first. Moyvalley remains on its all-in quote of 440c/kg. Both plants in the west continue to offer 434c/kg plus the bonus. Even though its quote was for yesterday only, Kepak Hacketstown remained on its quote of 435c/kg plus 5c/kg. On the flip side, you will see from the table that Kildare Chilling and the two ICM plants have pulled their base quotes by 5c/kg to 430c/kg plus the bonus and, in Kildare's case, the extra bonus for Quality Assured lambs.
IFA sheep committee chairman James Murphy said farmers were expecting an improvement to the trade, in line with increased demand in the lead up to Christmas. He said the domestic market was already undertaking strong promotions. However, he added that some farmers were bargaining successfully for prices of up to 450c/kg for their animals.
Kildare Chilling is the clear leader for cull ewe quotes and is very keen to get supplies. I've heard that if a farmer with lambs to sell can also put together a number of cull ewes, it strengthens his hand in not only getting a good price for his ewes, but also increases his bargaining power for his lambs.
For the third week in a row the factory has increased it cull ewe offer by 10c/kg. This sees it now quoting 230c/kg, 10c/kg ahead of the ICM factories and Kepak Hacketstown and Dawn Ballyhaunis, their nearest rivals all on 200c/kg.
Kepak Athleague is offering 190c/kg, which is an increase of 10c/kg from this day week.
To date, sheep supplies are running almost 11pc higher compared to last year's levels.