Farm Ireland

Saturday 20 January 2018

Plants lose ground as quotes dip


A Hampshire ewe owned by Charles and Aileen Persse protects her curious lamb at Kells Lodge, Kells, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Jennifer O'Sullivan.
A Hampshire ewe owned by Charles and Aileen Persse protects her curious lamb at Kells Lodge, Kells, Co Kilkenny. Photo: Jennifer O'Sullivan.

Joe Healy

While it was four wins out of four for our rugby provinces over the weekend, it is a much different story for our lamb processors as far as quotes and prices are concerned.

As you will see from the table, five of the seven plants have lost ground and are quoting a minimum of 5c/kg back from where they were this day week.

The best I can report is that two have retained the status quo as Kildare Chilling and Dawn Ballyhaunis both remain on a base of 460c/kg plus the bonus, and in Kildare's case there is also the added 5c/kg for quality-assured stock.

Both of the Kepak plants are also offering a base of 460c/kg plus the bonus but this reflects a drop of 5c/kg from their second place position last Tuesday.

Kepak Hacketstown's quote was for yesterday and they are not killing again until Thursday.

Despite still holding on to top spot, Moyvalley's all-in figure of 475c/kg is some 10c/kg of a fall. There is a similar reduction at the ICM plants.

This leaves them looking up at the rest on a quote of 450c/kg plus 6c/kg.

I have often advised in this column to ensure that your lambs are suitably fleshed before offering for slaughter.

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This usually means selling underfleshed lambs but word from a couple of factory sources at the moment would suggest that a larger percentage of overweight stock than they would like are being offered.

Just as it is important to get them to a certain level, it is equally key to move them on before they get too fat and heavy.

Commenting on the trade, newly elected IFA national sheep chairman John Lynskey said lamb feeders were strongly resisting factory pressure on price.

He said €4.85/kg was being paid, with some deals of €4.90/kg from last week. There is no change to the quotes for the cull ewes with all plants on a quote of 200c/kg. Farmers with numbers are bargaining successfully for 20-30c/kg more in places.

Bord Bia report that the trade in Britain has returned to more normal levels after the Christmas and New Year holiday periods.

The SQQ live price for lamb in England and Wales was making the equivalent of around €4.72/kg including VAT deadweight.

In France, trade was steady but weak domestic demand and favourable exchange rates are making British lamb more competitive and putting pressure on price levels. The price for Irish Grade 1 lamb was €4.82kg (including VAT).


Yesterday's sheep marts threw up varying reports with great prices paid for heavy lambs down in Fermoy while prices in Athenry seemed to be struggling at levels significantly behind those paid last week.

For instance a pen of butcher lambs weighing 53kg in the south made up to €126, while the same weight and bought for the same purpose in the west topped out at €105.

In fairness the top price was €108 but this was paid by a farmer for nice ewe lambs weighing 49kg.

In the main fleshed lambs here were making from €45 to €53 with the €1/kg. A lot of the heavier lambs in Fermoy were making €50-67 over the weight, with the aforementioned tops of €73 over.

In Kilkenny, the trade was probably back by €2-3/hd. Butcher lambs sold for €100-115/hd or €48-56 with the €1/kg. Factory types ranged from €82 to €105 or €42-56 with the weight, while stores made up to €84/hd or €27-45 over.

Carnew reported a huge entry with 2,850 sheep on offer. Trade was very strong, with prices up by €1-2 on the previous week.

Butcher lambs were selling at prices of €108-105 or €57-62 over the €1/kg. Stores were moving at €67-95/hd.

Factory lambs ranged from €98 to €110 or €63-64 over their weight. Cull ewes made €45-98. In lamb ewes sold to a top of €140/hd.

The sheep trade was improved at Dowra Mart last Saturday last with the best of the lambs making €80-102 each. The lighter pens for feeding lambs were making €45-75.

The tops of the cull ewes made from €60 to €90, while ewes for feeding sold for €35-55. A few pens of in-lamb ewes saw the better lots make €120-150. Older plainer types were making €80-120.

At their opening sale for 2014, Baltinglass reported an improved trade for heavy and store lambs.

The 40-50kg lambs sold from €93-107.50. Stores made from €68-83. Cull ewes ranged from €55 to €80.

Blackface ewes with mixed mouths were selling for €21-58 in Maam Cross.

Hoggets made up to €85. Cross bred lambs sold for €30-68 in the main with a top price of €80.

Blackface wether and ram lambs made from €28-58.

Irish Independent