Farm Ireland

Monday 19 February 2018

Moyvalley leads the way as prices stay unchanged

Joe Healy

M ERYL STREEP scooped an Oscar for her portrayal of a stubborn and very 'set in her ways' Margaret Thatcher in the film The Iron Lady. But, while there are no gongs being doled out in the sheep industry, the trade is extremely set in its ways with little or no change to the quotes this week either.

Moyvalley retain top spot with their all-in 535c/kg. The supporting role is taken by Kepak Athleague on a base of 525c/kg plus the bonus.

Hacketstown are offering 520c/kg plus 5c/kg, while Kildare are quoting a base of 510c/kg plus the 6c/kg and the 5c/kg for quality assured lambs.

Dawn Ballyhaunis continue to offer 515c/kg plus 6c/kg, with 510c/kg plus the bonus to be got from the two ICM plants.

Prices well in excess of those figures are being bargained for, but the one area the processors are seemingly holding firm on is the carcass weight.

At the moment, quite a lot of overweight stock is being offered. I mention this quite often and again I will say that if your lambs are on the heavy side, then you are losing money by not selling them at the mart.

Having said that, it is in the farmer's interest to move the lambs on at the right weight in order to maximise their value.

The IFA's James Murphy said that finishers were securing 535-540c/kg and refusing to sell at or near the quoted figure. He added that strong retail promotions will help to drive the trade this week.

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The ICM plants, Dawn and Kildare continue to quote 300c/kg for the cull ewes. Both Kepaks are on 290c/kg.

In Britain, the trade lifted, reflecting tightening supplies despite some strengthening in the pound against the euro over the past week. By the weekend, livemarket prices were the equivalent of €5.35/kg (including VAT) for old-season lamb. In France, trade has eased, with limited numbers of Irish grade 1 lamb reportedly making up to €5.30/kg by the end of the week.

According to the latest December survey conducted by the CSO, sheep numbers showed further recovery last year. Numbers increased by more than 6pc to 3.32m head last December, reflecting a rise in the number of ewes retained for breeding and the retention of lambs for finishing early this year.

Most encouragingly, the number of breeding ewes rose by 2pc with the number of ewes less than two years of age increasing by more than 13pc to 519,000hd. This reflects renewed producer confidence in the sector following the higher lamb prices evident over recent years.

According to a mid-season update from Beef and Lamb New Zealand, the 2011-12 lamb crop increased by 1.6pc, equivalent to 500,000 additional head, on the previous year.

The marginal increase in the New Zealand lamb crop is down to the higher number of lambs born, as the lambing percentage rose from 111pc to 119pc.

Indo Farming