Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Live exporters lift trade

Joe Healy

The sheep trade has a much more positive air about it this week as factory prices stabilise and buying for the live export market has kicked off.

Nonetheless, farmers, especially those in producer groups, remain quite annoyed with the factories for the low level of quotes. This makes it difficult for producer groups to achieve acceptable prices, with individual farmers negotiating higher final prices than what groups are getting.

Thankfully, the live export trade has created a bit of competition in the past week and there is widespread speculation that there may be a second live exporter anxious to get involved in shipping lambs. The TLT group is currently paying €60-65 over the weight for ram lambs weighing 38-48kg.

Factory quotes everywhere are at a base of 520c/kg. This leaves Kildare Chilling at the top of the league by virtue of its extra quality assured bonus. Its neighbour, Moyvalley, is at the bottom as its 520c/kg is an all-inclusive figure.

Farmers are quite anxious to see all plants increase carcass weights up to 21.5kg, as is the case in Britain presently. This extra 0.5kg is worth 265-275c per lamb at current prices and there seems very little reason why it can't happen.

Farmers need to shop around and bargain hard on both price and weight as there are a few getting paid to 21.5kg.

Commenting on the trade, IFA sheep chairman James Murphy said lamb prices were solid, with prices of 440-450c/kg being paid by the factories to secure adequate numbers.

Kildare has increased its cull ewe quote to 200c/kg. The rest, apart from Moyvalley, are quoting 190c/kg. Prices of up to 220c/kg are being paid.

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Meanwhile, Bord Bia reported that after several weeks of volatility, the sheep trade settled down last week. Quotes for spring lamb were generally €5.20/kg, with more available for quality assured lamb. Prices paid for cull ewes were generally €1.80-1.90/kg.

Weekly sheep supplies for the week ending June 8 were around 4,400 head higher than the same week in 2012, at 41,300 head. To date this year, sheep supplies are running 141,600 head higher.

Trade across Britain eased slightly during the week, reflecting some increase in supplies. By the weekend, new season lamb at live markets across England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €5.71/kg deadweight.

French Lacaune lamb was making around €6.30/kg, but supplies began to tighten significantly, which should help boost demand levels for Irish product going forward.


Meanwhile, the mart trade received a timely boost last week when buying for live exporting kicked in. The TLT group is anxious to secure ram lambs of 38-48kg and is paying €60-65 over the weight for them.

While these prices are nothing to get excited about in themselves, they are creating competition in the market place.

The lamb trade was described as firm to improved at the sales in Athenry and Kilkenny yesterday. The majority of well-fleshed lambs made €60-70 with their weight. Lighter types sold for €48-60 over. Fat cull ewes sold for €80-110, while most store ewes made €50-75.

Kilkenny reported a good sale as butcher lambs sold for €115-123/hd. At Athenry mart, finished lambs met an improved trade and sold for €100-119 each.

The trade was reported as steady at Dowra Mart on Saturday. Fat lambs made €80-110 each, with the best hoggets making €75-100. Stores made €45-75 each. Better quality and younger ewes with lambs at foot sold for €140-185.

Nicely-done lambs over 40kg sold for €90-109 up in Mayo/Sligo Mart, while at Tuam Mart, finished lambs sold for €2.22-2.53/kg. The best lambs made up to €118 or €68 over their weight. Ewes with lambs at foot sold for€118-190.

Numbers were up in Baltinglass, where spring lambs hit a high price of €107/hd.

Store lambs at Raphoe Mart yesterday sold for €48-61 over the weight while factory lambs sold for €52-69 over. Butcher lambs made €40-69 with the weight.

Carnew reported smaller numbers on offer, with 1,000 sheep through the ring and trade similar to the previous week. Butcher and factory lambs sold for €95-112/hd.

Mountbellew had a larger number of sheep on offer compared to the previous week. The best sellers were cull ewes and fleshy lambs. A small turnout of hoggets sold for €98-130. Ewes with lambs at foot sold for €100-161. Cull ewes sold for €60-116.

Irish Independent

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