Farm Ireland

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Plants offer mixed signals with quotes

Joe Healy

Mixed signals were the order of the day on Sunday when Benny Coulter scored Down's goal after being in the square for so long before the ball arrived that he could nearly have claimed squatters' rights.

Lamb quotes from the plants today are also giving off mixed signals. Two up, two steady and three down. When you add in a pretty clear admission from most of the processors that supplies continue to be tight, and British lamb prices increasing by 10c/kg over the course of the week, the whole trade looks quite stable at the moment.

By virtue of a similar 10c/kg jump since last Tuesday, Moyvalley Meats go from the bottom of the table to the top with their all-in quote of 440c/kg.

Kepak Hacketstown's base is up by 5c/kg to 435c/kg plus the bonus. The base quote in Kildare Chilling has dropped by 5c/kg to 430c/kg plus the 6c/kg bonus as well as its 5c/kg top up for quality-assured lambs. Both ICM plants are also down by 5c/kg to 430c/kg plus 6c/kg, while in the west Kepak Athleague and Dawn Ballyhaunis remain on a base quote of 430c/kg plus the bonus for U grades.

After talking to a few farmers yesterday morning, my take on it is that if you are selling lambs this week, and willing to do a bit of bargaining, then a price of 450c/kg, up to a minimum of 22kg, is there to be nailed. Many farmers were getting this yesterday and today. It keeps the value of your lamb close to the magical €100.

The advice from the IFA's James Murphy is to make sure that lambs are fit for slaughter and to avoid any penalties for under-fleshed stock. He added that prices were steady, with factories willing to pay well above the quotes in order to secure adequate numbers amid tight supplies.

There is no change to the quotes for the cull ewes. Kildare and Kepak Hacketstown still lead the way on 250c/kg. The ICMs and Kepak Athleague are offering 240c/kg, with Dawn remaining at 220c/kg. Moyvalley is not overly interested in ewes at the moment and are not quoting.

Bord Bia reported that weekly sheep supplies for the week ending August 21 were back 16,900hd, at 57,600hd, on the corresponding week last year.

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To date, sheep supplies are back by almost 217,000hd, or almost 15pc, on last year's levels at 1.28m head. This fall-off in sheep supplies is reflected in the latest figures released by the CSO, which show that Irish sheepmeat output fell by almost 16pc to 24,700t for the first seven months of the year.

In the UK, lower lamb supplies during the week helped trade. The average new season SQQ price in England and Wales, which at the beginning of the week was making around 445c/kg including VAT, rose to 455c/kg towards the weekend as tightening supplies dictated trade.

In France, quotes for Grade 1 Irish spring lamb delivered to Paris started off strongly before easing somewhat as the week progressed, with quotes making 455c/kg including VAT.

However, demand is expected to pick up over the coming weeks as the Ramadan festival closes on September 9.

Irish Independent