Farm Ireland

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Moyvalley striding into 2014 at 485c/kg


Thriving: Contented sheep in the Comeragh Mountains, Co Waterford over the weekend
Thriving: Contented sheep in the Comeragh Mountains, Co Waterford over the weekend

Joe Healy

In keeping with the GAA, sheep farmers are showing the black card to factories trying to buy lambs at the quoted price this week, and rightly so in my opinion.

It has been tough to hold on to and feed lambs since early December and right through the Christmas. In fairness to the processors they are pretty willing to pay well in excess of what they are quoting with anything between 20-30c/kg above the base being successfully negotiated.

Apart from Moyvalley, there has only been slight positive movement. The all-in quote from Moyvalley of 485c/kg represents a rise of 15c/kg compared to their quote before Christmas.

The only other plants to move are the two Kepak's who have increased their base by 5c/kg to 465c/kg plus the bonus of 5c/kg for the U grades. Hacketstown's quote was for yesterday only. Kildare remain on a base of 460c/kg but continue to offer the 5c/kg quality assurance bonus on top of the U grade bonus. Elsewhere, both ICM plants and Dawn Ballyhaunis are offering 460c/kg plus 6c/kg.

While hard sellers were holding out for and getting up to €5/kg immediately after the Christmas, prices of 490c/kg seem to be the tops this week in most places.

It was mentioned to me that most of the stock being offered are well-fleshed and suitable for slaughter, but that some farmers can get anxious to just clear out stock at this time of year.

This can lead to some under-finished lambs being offered for slaughter. The lambs in question are heavily penalised and leaves a situation that is no good for either the farmer or the factory.

No matter what, if you are going to the factory make sure your lambs are fit to kill. If not, then go to the mart.

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With keen demand for stores and also for fleshed lambs at the marts and numbers not overly plentiful, the marts are proving a strong trade for all sheep at the moment.

In one of his final comments as IFA sheep chairman, James Murphy said that with supplies remaining relatively tight the lamb trade is strong and factories were paying €4.90-4.95/kg to get numbers. He added that some finishers were holding out for €5/kg.

A few of the plants that were quoting 190c/kg for cull ewes have jumped by 10c/kg to join the rest and all are now on 200c/kg.

However, if you are selling good numbers of nicely fleshed stock then you are well-positioned to secure significantly more. Some farmers have bargained for and got between 230-250c/kg recently.

Bord Bia reported that the sheep trade increased over the last two weeks of 2013 due to tight domestic supplies and good market demand.

Prices for lamb over the last week of December ranged from €4.80-5.00/kg. Prices paid for cull ewes also increased with prices between €2.20-2.30/kg being quoted over the final two weeks of the year.

Sheep supplies for the last week of 2013 stood at 24,600 head, around 600 higher than the corresponding period in 2012.

The total supply for the full year was 2.6m, an 8pc increase on the 2012 figure. This was largely driven by an increase in cull ewes.

Very limited activity has been reported across Britain and Continental Europe, with trade levels expected to return to normal levels next week.


Carnew Mart had 1,100 on offer and reported a very strong trade with prices similar to the last sale before Christmas.

Butcher and factory lambs were selling for prices of €98-112 or €53-60 over their weight. Stores ranged in price from €78-96 reflecting €42-55 over the €/kg. Cull ewes sold for €35-99 each

Mountbellew's first sale of 2014 saw small sheep numbers offered for sale. Demand and trade was firm.

The top price of the day was €114 for six ewe lambs weighing 55kg.

Most of the well fleshed heavier lambs were making between €48-55 over the weight.

Prices for cull ewes ran from €60-95. Their cattle sales re-commence on Friday, January 17.

A small turnout at Maam Cross saw Blackface ewes with mixed mouths sold for €21-68 with hoggets making up to €100/hd. Cross bred lambs were generally making from €30-68.

The tops sold up to €92. Blackface wether and ram lambs made from €28-64 each. Their next sale is on Saturday, January 11 at 11am.

Dowra Mart described the sheep trade as stronger than before the Christmas break with the best of the store lambs making up to €90 each while the lighter pens made from €50-70.

The warm cull ewes were making from €50-80. Thinner types and horned cull ewes sold for €30-50/hd.

Irish Independent